ASL/Deaf Studies Minor

This page describes the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies minor at the University of Pennsylvania. Specific questions should be addressed to Director of the ASL Program, Jami Fisher.


American Sign Language and Deaf Studies offers an interdisciplinary course sequence founded in language, content, and theory-based courses from a variety of fields and disciplines. The ASL program works in collaboration with the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and the Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre in Swarthmore, PA to develop meaningful partnership activity for the benefit of all involved. One outcome of these collaborative relationships manifests in a research-based capstone course, Academically Based Community Service in ASL and Deaf Studies (ASLD 1033), which provides opportunities for research and practice in a deaf community setting.


To receive a minor, a student must complete six course units, as specified below. The advanced ASL Content and Theory courses can only be taken after having completed ASLD 0100-0400 (or having the equivalent signing proficiency)

Advanced ASL Content and Theory Courses (2):

  • ASLD 1030 (formerly ASLD 075): Advanced ASL/Deaf History (taught in the fall semester during odd years)


  • ASLD 1031 (formerly ASLD 076): Deaf Literature, Performance, Art, and Film (taught in the fall semester during even years)


  • ASLD 1032 (formerly LING 078): Deaf Culture (offered in the spring semester)                                

Linguistics Courses (2):

  • Ling 0001 Introduction to Linguistics
  • Ling 0600 Introduction to Sociolinguistics

Capstone ABCS Course (1):

  • ASLD 1033 (formerly ASLD 077):  Academically Based Community Service in ASL/Deaf Studies (offered in the fall semester)
    • If possible, this course should be taken after all other ASL courses.

**Cross-Disciplinary Electives (1):

LING 2047:  Structure of ASL (offered Spring of even years)

ASLD 1031 or 1030 (choose one of the two to satisfy the elective credit if you take both)

ASLD 1039 (formerly ASLD 079): Penn Global Seminar: Disability Rights and Oppression: Experiences within Global Deaf Communities

HSOC 3447– The Future of Disability and the Afterlives of Epidemics

LING 110:  Language Change
LING 270: Language Acquisition
LING 450: Languages in Contact

ANTH 3690-301 Language and Identity

NURS 315: Sociocultural Influences on Health (Nursing)

BIOE 551: Narrative Ethics: Medicine and Literature
BIOE 551: Digital Media, Disability Technology, and Bioethics
BIOE 551: Introduction to Medical Humanities
BIOE 555: Neuroethics
BIOE 550: Disability Studies and Bioethics

PSCI 258: Human Rights

PSYC 481:  Seminar on Language Acquisition
PSYC 151:  Language and Thought

PSYC 435-301: Seminar: Psycholinguistics

Study Abroad:

Outside Penn: Siena School for Liberal Arts (Summer or Spring, 1CU out of 2CUs credit away counts toward the minor in ASL)

**Other relevant courses may be eligible pending departmental pre-approval; please contact Dr. Fisher with course requests to satisfy the elective