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American Sign Language (ASL) Studies

Learn American Sign Language and build your understanding of Deaf culture.

Four ASL students laugh while sitting in front of a window overlooking the Halifax Harbour signing to one another.
Students practice signing in small groups during class time.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year

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To learn another language is to learn about another culture. In this case, the language is American Sign Language (ASL) and the culture is that of Deaf people. Although many people think of ASL as a visual form of English, it has a distinct set of linguistic and grammar rules (as do other languages, such as French, German or English).

In this program, you progress toward ASL fluency, study Deaf culture and explore the cross-cultural issues that arise for non-Deaf people who wish to work with the Deaf community.

Choose NSCC

  • Most faculty in this program are Deaf, giving you an authentic one-on-one experience with Deaf culture and keeping you current on events in the local and regional Deaf communities.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Ivany Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2023-24 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, technology etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • You're qualified to work with members of the Deaf community in various employment, educational, recreational and social service environments where direct communication with Deaf people is required in context-specific settings.

Future study options

  • This program is a prerequisite for the two-year American Sign Language/English Interpretation program. Many graduates continue their studies in the American Sign Language/English Interpretation program and pursue a career as an interpreter.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

COMM 1010 - Language and Communication I
This course provides students with an opportunity to evaluate and refine language and communication skills related to their program of study.

COMM 1020 - Language and Communication II
This course provides students with an opportunity to evaluate and refine language and communication skills related to their program of study.

CUTR 1010 - Deaf Culture I: Knowing our Community
This course introduces students to the unique aspects of Deaf culture and communities. Topics covered will include Deaf history and examine the distinct communication differences between hearing and Deaf people.

CUTR 1012 - Becoming an Ally
This course introduces the concept of allyship. Students will explore allyship through a cultural lens, examining cultures, how they function in our lives, and the vital role culture plays in communication. The course will also explore cross-cultural communication and the role allyship plays when cross-cultural conflict occurs.

CUTR 1020 - Deaf Culture II: Community and Engagement
This course will build on the knowledge and attitudes acquired in Deaf Culture I by exploring ways in which hearing people can engage with Deaf communities and how relationships can be respectfully built and maintained.

CUTR 1022 - Being an Ally
Students develop a greater understanding of allyship in relation to the skills and knowledge required of professional interpreters. Students will explore the role of the interpreter within the Deaf community and explore strategies for resolving cultural conflicts between Deaf and non-Deaf people.

CUTR 1030 - Deaf Culture III: The Arts
The course is designed to provide learners with an opportunity to more deeply understand the Deaf experience through viewing ASL literature and Deaf art. The course will examine the perspectives on and attitudes towards deafness revealed in these works and presentations. In addition, through exposure to literature and art created by Deaf authors and artists it is intended to increase the learner’s understanding of the stories and experiences of Deaf people in North America.

LANG 1010 - American Sign Language I - Foundation
This foundation course in ASL introduces the essential skills needed for acquisition of a second language. Students learn to use a variety of simple, memorized phrases and sentences in one-to-one and small group settings. Students will also participate in Deaf cultural events and explore Deaf issues to enhance the learning experience and provide an authentic and culturally responsive learning environment.

LANG 1012 - American Sign Language Linguistics I
This course introduces students to the structures of ASL linguistics and examines the phonology, morphology, syntax and pronominalization of American Sign Language. Students will also begin to recognize parts of signs and their function.

LANG 1014 - American Sign Language Skills Lab I
This course provides students with the extra time and support required to practice and build ASL skills by creating personal learning plans and setting goals. Through practice, the use of tools and critique, students will develop habits for life-long learning and continuous improvement.

LANG 1020 - American Sign Language II - Communication
This second course in the ASL series begins to refine communication by integrating the skills and knowledge acquired in ASL I, Foundations. Language nuances and key topics in Deaf culture are also addressed. The ASL classroom is designed to accommodate a physical modality and as such does not use oral or aural channels for communication.

LANG 1022 - American Sign Language Linguistics II
Students continue to build knowledge of ASL with increasing focus on more complex grammatical features and sentence structures.

LANG 1024 - American Sign Language Skills Lab II
In this course students will get the extra time and support required to develop ASL skills and build on an existing plan to support personal learning and skill development. Through practice, the use of tools and critique, students will strengthen habits for life-long learning and continuous improvement.

LANG 2010 - American Sign Language III - Conversation
This course integrates and refines expressive and receptive skills in American Sign Language (ASL) and is taught without using voice. This level of ASL will improve skills necessary for ASL Storytelling and advance skills in analyzing ASL stories. ASL expressive skills will be reinforced through practice and direct application within the Deaf community. Technology will also be used as a tool.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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