The American Sign Language (ASL) Program will help you learn about the history, culture, and language of the American deaf community. As you broaden your understanding of how languages may be constructed, you’ll develop a better understanding of your own language.

As an ASL student, you will develop facility in using a language that is comparable in complexity and expressiveness to oral languages but that operates in a different sensory channel.

The ASL program offers a certificate and a minor. Both programs will prepare you for careers in areas such as counseling, education, human services, interpreting, and psychology and will enable you to communicate effectively with deaf individuals in all sorts of settings.

If you want to teach deaf children or be a speech pathologist or audiologist, a sign language instructor, or an ASL/English interpreter, you will need additional specialized training.

American Sign Language & Deaf Studies Certificate

Study for the certificate allows students to develop insight into and appreciation for the contributions, contemporary issues, and culture of deaf persons. Course work prepares students to communicate more effectively with deaf individuals and provides a solid and basic foundation for entry into any career in a deaf-related field.

See American Sign Lanugage & Deaf Studies in the General Catalog for more information.

American Sign Language Minor

The minor in American Sign Language may be earned by any undergraduate student. For more information, see American Sign Language & Deaf Studies in the General Catalog.

Student Opportunities

The American Sign Language Club is a University of Iowa student organization that is dedicated to increasing fluency in ASL and learning more about deaf culture.

The Cedar Rapids Association of the Deaf, a very active organization for deaf persons in the area, meets monthly and sponsors special events.


As social, community, legal, and educational services have expanded nationwide, many career possibilities have opened in deaf-related professions. The ASL and Deaf Studies certificate can contribute to preparation for careers requiring competence in American Sign Language or for graduate study in various fields.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Undergraduate certificate programs are available to students once they are enrolled in a degree program at Iowa, or after they have received a bachelor's degree. Review our Areas of Study to select a major.


American Sign Language & Deaf Studies
American Sign Language