Minor in American Sign Language

Students minoring in ASL gain an intermediate mastery of the language’s vocabulary and grammatical usage, with the opportunity to develop an advanced understanding of its grammar, sociolinguistics, and variations. They also learn culturally appropriate behavior in the Deaf community and analyze topics such as Deaf culture, history, education, sociology, legal issues, art and literature from the Deaf culture worldview. An American Sign Language minor may be of particular interest to students in speech and hearing sciences, education, social work, and nursing. 

Declaring a Minor in ASL

Students in good academic standing may declare the minor at any time by meeting with their major adviser. It is strongly recommended that students have taken or be enrolled in first year American Sign Language. Please see Undergraduate Advising’s Minor page for additional considerations about earning a minor.

Minor Requirements

Students are required to complete two years of ASL and take courses in Introduction to Deaf Culture, two Linguistics courses and several elective courses.  You are required to earn a 2.0 GPA in all courses that count toward the ASL Minor.  At least 50% of minor courses (18+ credits) excluding Elementary ASL have to be taken at the UW.

Required pre-minor courses: 15 credits

  • First-year American Sign Language (15 credits):
    • ASL 101, 102 and 103 (15 credits total) or
    • ASL 134 Intensive First Year ASL (15 credits)

Required minor courses: 28 credits

  • Second-year American Sign Language (15 credits):
    • ASL 201, 202, and 203 (15 credits total) or
    • ASL 234 Intensive Second Year ASL (15 credits)
  • Culture and History (3 credits):
    • ASL 305 Introduction to Deaf Culture (3 credits)
  • Theory and Structure (8-10 credits):
    • LING 400 Survey of Linguistic Method and Theory (5 credits)* or LING 461 Syntax I (3 credits) and
    • LING 403 Linguistics of Signed Languages (5 credits)

Elective Minor Courses: minimum 7 credits

  • ASL 301-303 Advanced American Sign Language (5 credits each)
  • ASL 499 Independent Study in ASL (2-3 credits) or LING 499 Independent Study (4-5 credits)
  • SPHSC 308 Social–Cultural Aspects of Communication (3 credits)
  • DIS ST/LSJ/CHID 332 Disability and Society: Introduction to Disability Studies (5 credits)
  • ANTH 301 Human Nature and Culture (3 credits)
  • AES 332 Gender, Race and Class in Social Stratification (3 credits)
  • AES 340 Race, Ethnicity and Education (5 credits)
  • AES/COM 389 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Media (5 credits)
  • ANTH 471 Colonialism and Culture (5 credits)

  • Any other LING course may be considered as an elective. See the list of approved electives for the American Sign Language minor.

ASL Minor Total Credits: 50 (35 after pre-requisites)

The Linguistics adviser must certify that at least 18 credits taken for the American Sign Language minor do not overlap with your major requirements. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all courses applied to the minor.

Note: If you have taken American Sign Language courses at another university, you should contact the American Sign Language Program Coordinator, Lance Forshay, about scheduling an appointment for placement into UW's American Sign Language course sequence.

*LING 200 may not be used in place of LING 400 for the ASL minor. Students who have already taken LING 200 can satisfy this requirement by taking LING 461. If a student has already taken SPHSC 303, this course may satisfy this requirement instead of LING 400 or LING 461.

ASL Minor Study FAQ

1. What can I do with an ASL minor?

Competency in ASL and culture of Deaf people will be an asset to many professions working with people. You will also have a broader understanding of what defines language and increase your communication modes and power as a global citizen. In addition to all these, you will learn to appreciate and respect the language and culture of Deaf people.

2. What majors will benefit from ASL minor?

All majors especially Speech and Hearing Science, Disability Studies, Cultural / Diversity Studies, International Studies, Health and Human Services, Education fields, or any other communication / humanities related majors.

3. What is the career outlook for using ASL on a regular basis?

  1. Linguistics and Sign Language Research.
  2. ASL Interpreting
  3. DeafBlind / Protactile Interpreting or Service Support Provider (SSP)
  4. Deaf Education.
  5. ASL Education.
  6. Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling.
  7. Mental Health Counseling.
  8. Communication / Technology. 
  9. Or other services working with Deaf population.

4. How can I complete the ASL minor in two years?

First Year
ASL 101 (5)
LING 400 (5)
ASL 102 (5)
LING 403 (5)
ASL 103 (5)
ASL 305 (5)
Second Year
ASL 201 (5)
Electives (3)
ASL 202 (5)
Electives (3)
ASL 409*
ASL 203 (5)
Electives (2)
ASL 409*
Third Year
ASL 301 (5)
ASL 302 (5)
ASL 303 (5)

* ASL 499 may be taken in any quarter with ASL 202 as prerequisite.

5. How do I add ASL as a minor?

You have to declare a major first and see your major dept. advisor about adding ASL as minor.