Deaf Education
Deaf Education

Online Special Education Master's Degree,
Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities, and/or
Graduate Endorsement in Teaching Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

 

Deaf Education Graduate Program Overview

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Deaf Education Program prepares graduate students to meet the linguistic, cultural, social and cognitive needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing ages birth to 21. Our program is based on current research that is focused on improving academic outcomes for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is open to full- or part-time students, is entirely online, and is flexible to meet the individual needs of our scholars. We currently offer three different options for graduate students who want to further their education in working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing:

Master's Degree: We offer a 36-credit Master's degree in Special Education with a Specialization in Educating Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing that can be completed with or without pursuit of an endorsement in teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Graduate Endorsement: We offer coursework leading to certification/licensure for Nebraska's Endorsement in Special Education – Deaf or Hard of Hearing (NDE Rule 24) for employment as a Teacher of the Deaf (TOD) serving deaf or hard of hearing students birth through age 21.

Graduate Certificate: We offer a (12-credit) Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities. This certificate is designed for professionals interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how to effectively work with and support students with sensory disabilities (students who are deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired). This graduate certificate can be paired with additional requirements leading to the Deaf Education endorsement or Master's degree.

Apply online today

Application Deadlines:
Master's Degree - January 15, June 15
Graduate Certificate/Endorsement - January 15, June 15, October 15

Want More Information?

Please complete the Deaf Education Inquiry Survey.

Program Coordinator

Anne ThomasAnne ThomasAssistant Professor of Practice

Barkley Memorial Center (BKC) 349
402-472-8259
athomas16@unl.edu

Master's Degree

This option provides students with a master's degree in special education with a specialization in teaching students who are DHH. Only students who hold a bachelor's degree may pursue this option. The master's degree can be paired with coursework leading toward the DHH endorsement.

Program Details

Program OptionsMinimum CreditsProgram Length
Master's Degree in Special Education 36* 2 years
Master's Degree in Special Education + Endorsement in Special Education - Deaf or Hard of Hearing Education 43* 2-3 years

*Credits may vary depending on the number of equivalent deficiency and/or content courses a student enters the program with.

Required Courses for Endorsement + Master's Degree

GENERAL SPECIAL EDUCATION CONTENT
(Master's deficiencies; Endorsement core requirements)
Course Name M.A. only Credits M.A. + End. Credits
SPED 201 - Characteristics of Exceptional Learners or Equivalent 3 3
SPED 212 - Assessment Techniques for Diverse Learners or Equivalent 3 3
SPED 414 - Instructional Methods for Students with Mathematics Learning Disabilities or Equivalent 3 3
SPED 454 - Behavior Management or Equivalent 3 3
DEAF EDUCATION CONTENT
SPED 872 - Characteristics: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3 3
SPED 873 - Content Methods: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3 3
SPED 874 - Language Arts and Literacy: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 4 4
SPED 875 - Itinerant Teaching: Sensory Disabilities 3 3
SLPA 876 - Normal Language Development 3 3
SLPA 850 - Audiology for Educators 3 3
SPED 861 - Infants with Disabilities and Home Visits 3 3
SLPA 884 - Speech and Language Development: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3 3
SPED 896D - Directed Field Experience: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
SPED 897 - Student Teaching Practicum: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
Elective or Thesis 3 3
Research Methods 3 3

Students are required to complete a range of field experiences across age levels and settings prior to beginning their student teaching. Student teaching may be completed on the job, but must be supervised by an 'on the ground' Teacher of the Deaf (Mentor Teacher).

Sign Language Proficiency Requirement

All students interested in pursuing an endorsement in teaching students who are DHH must obtain a rating of proficiency (or better) on the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) or another nationally/regionally approved sign language assessment, prior to beginning their student teaching. Most students obtain proficiency by taking four courses of ASL (locally or online). Students must arrange to be evaluated the semester prior to beginning their student teaching and must submit their evaluation scores/documentation to Dr. Thomas in order to receive approval for student teaching.

Master's Degree Application Requirements

Visit the Office of Graduate Studies website and submit the following:

  • Online application ($50)
  • Transcripts
  • TOEFL scores (International students only) (Institution code = 6877)
  • Financial Resource Certification (International students only)
  • Resume/vita
  • Personal Statement of program purpose/goals
  • GRE scores (Must be taken at least 3 weeks before application deadline; Institution code = 6877)
  • Names and contact information for three references of your choosing (The system will automatically email the specified people and request that each upload the recommendation.)
  • Assistantship/Fellowship Application (optional; Assistantships only available to local residents)
  • Writing Sample (Optional)

Apply online today

Application Deadlines for Master's Program:
January 15 and June 15

Want More Information?

Please complete the Deaf Education Inquiry Survey.

Program Coordinator

Anne ThomasAnne ThomasAssistant Professor of Practice

Barkley Memorial Center (BKC) 349
402-472-8259
athomas16@unl.edu

Graduate Endorsement (TOD)

Our graduate endorsement prepares students to become Teachers of the Deaf (TODs) serving children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), ages birth through 21. Students who pursue this endorsement will be certified to teach, consult and provide itinerant services to children who are DHH in a wide range of settings, including home-based services.

Please Note: Students interested in pursuing a graduate endorsement in teaching students who are DHH must hold a current and valid teaching certificate in their state in a specified content area (e.g., special education, elementary education, secondary English) or a speech-language pathology school clinical certificate.

Program Details

EndorsementMinimum CreditsProgram Length
Special Education - Deaf or Hard of Hearing Education 43* 2-3 years

*Credits may vary depending on the number of equivalent deficiency and/or content courses a student enters the program with.

Required Courses for Endorsement

General Special Education CoursesCredit Hours
SPED 201 - Characteristics of Exceptional Learners or Equivalent 3
SPED 212 - Assessment Techniques for Diverse Learners or Equivalent 3
SPED 414 - Instructional Methods for Students with Mathematics Learning Disabilities or Equivalent 3
SPED 454 - Behavior Management or Equivalent 3
Deaf Education Content Courses
SPED 872 - Characteristics: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
SPED 873 - Content Methods: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
SPED 874 - Language Arts and Literacy: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 4
SPED 875 - Itinerant Teaching: Sensory Disabilities 3
SLPA 876 - Normal Language Development 3
SLPA 850 - Audiology for Educators 3
SPED 861 - Infants with Disabilities and Home Visits 3
SLPA 884 - Speech and Language Development: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
SPED 896D - Directed Field Experience: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
SPED 897 - Student Teaching Practicum: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
Total 43*

Students are required to complete a range of field experiences across age levels and settings prior to beginning their student teaching. Student teaching may be completed on the job, but must be supervised by an 'on the ground' Teacher of the Deaf (Mentor Teacher).

Sign Language Proficiency Requirement

All students interested in pursuing an endorsement in teaching students who are DHH must obtain a rating of proficiency (or better) on the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) or another nationally/regionally approved sign language assessment, prior to beginning their student teaching. Most students obtain proficiency by taking four courses of ASL (locally or online). Students must arrange to be evaluated the semester prior to beginning their student teaching and must submit their evaluation scores/documentation to Dr. Thomas in order to receive approval for student teaching.

Graduate Endorsement Application Requirements

Visit the Office of Graduate Studies website and submit the following:

  • Online application ($50)
  • Transcripts
  • TOEFL scores (International students only) (Institution code = 6877)
  • Financial Resource Certification (International students only)
  • Resume/vita
  • Personal Statement of program purpose/goals
  • Names and contact information for three references of your choosing (The system will automatically email the specified people and request that each upload the recommendation.)
  • Assistantship/Fellowship Application (optional; Assistantships only available to local residents)
  • Writing Sample (Optional)

Apply online today

Application Deadlines for Graduate Endorsement Program:
January 15, June 15, October 15

Want More Information?

Please complete the Deaf Education Inquiry Survey.

Program Coordinator

Anne ThomasAnne ThomasAssistant Professor of Practice

Barkley Memorial Center (BKC) 349
402-472-8259
athomas16@unl.edu

Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities

This certificate provides additional educational training related to students with low-incidence sensory disabilities (i.e., blindness or deafness). Through focused coursework about unique programs and services, collaboration with families, and specialized instructional methods, participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to effectively work with and support students who have unique sensory learning needs.

Please Note: The Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities is not an endorsement and does not qualify the holder to teach students who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. Students interested in pursuing an endorsement in either Deaf Education or Visual Impairments will need to complete additional coursework, and should contact Dr. Thomas or Dr. Savaiano for more information.

Program Details

Program OptionMinimum CreditsProgram Length
Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities 12 1-2 years*

*Depends on the specific courses chosen and the semester they are offered.

Required Courses

Course Number & NameCredit Hours
SPED 846 - Characteristics: Visual Impairments 3
SPED 872 - Characteristics: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 3
SPED 860, 861 or 960 - Early Childhood Special Education class 3
SPED 852 - Instructional Methods for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments OR SPED 873 - Content Methods: Deaf/Hard of Hearing 4 or 3

Graduate Certificate Application Requirements

Visit the Office of Graduate Studies website and submit the following:

  • Online application ($50)
  • Transcripts
  • TOEFL scores (International students only) (Institution code = 6877)
  • Financial Resource Certification (International students only)
  • Resume/vita
  • Personal Statement of program purpose/goals
  • Names and contact information for three references of your choosing (The system will automatically email the specified people and request that each upload the recommendation.)
  • Assistantship/Fellowship Application (optional; Assistantships only available to local residents)
  • Writing Sample (Optional)

Apply online today

Application Deadlines for Graduate Certificate Program:
January 15, June 15, October 15

Want More Information?

Please complete the Deaf Education Inquiry Survey or contact one of the program coordinators below.

Anne ThomasAnne ThomasAssistant Professor of Practice
Coordinator, Deaf Education Program

Barkley Memorial Center (BKC) 349
402-472-8259
athomas16@unl.edu

Mackenzie SavaianoMackenzie SavaianoAssistant Professor of Practice
Coordinator, Visual Impairments Program

Barkley Memorial Center (BKC) 202A
402-472-3801
msavaiano2@unl.edu

Tuition Costs

UNL tuition and fees vary by program and residency. Below is an estimate of what it would cost per 3-credit course for the Deaf Education program at UNL for the 2019-20 academic school year.

Snapshot of Graduate Tuition per course:

In-state graduate tuition ($357/cred. X 3 cr. = $1,071.00/course) $1,071.00
Fees $187.00
UNL distance education fee ($35/cr. X 3 cr. = $105.00/course) $105.00
Technology fee ($11.00/cr. X 3 cr. = $33.00/course) $33.00
Library fee ($6.25/cr. X 3 cr. = $18.75/course) $18.75
Registration fee ($20 one-time fee) $20.00
Departmental course fee ($10/course) $10.00
3-credit in-state course total $1,257.75

 

Out-of-state graduate tuition ($750/cred. X 3 cr. = $2,250.00/course) $2,250.00
Fees $187.00
UNL distance education fee ($35/cr. X 3 cr. = $105.00/course) $105.00
Technology fee ($11.00/cr. X 3 cr. = $33.00/course) $33.00
Library fee ($6.25/cr. X 3 cr. = $18.75/course) $18.75
Registration fee ($20 one-time fee) $20.00
Departmental course fee ($10/course) $10.00
3-credit out-of-state course total $2,436.75

 

For More Information

For more information about tuition and fees, visit the following links:
Office of Graduate Studies Tuition & Fees
Student Accounts - Graduate Tuition

Questions?

For questions about tuition, please contact Jill England, Graduate Coordinator, at jill.england@unl.edu or 402-472-2141.

Financial Support

Grant Funding:
Grant funding may be available to students depending on projects the program is involved in. Funding may depend on degree program or state of residency. Below is the list of funding opportunities currently available to students interested in the Deaf Education graduate program.

Fellowships:
Departmental fellowships are available to graduate students each academic year. Applications for graduate fellowships are due mid-April. For specific dates and requirements, please visit the Graduate Fellowships page.

Graduate Assistantships
Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are available to local graduate students each semester. GAs are awarded on a competitive basis and are dependent upon budget allocations each year. GAs are only available for graduate students in a degree-granting program who reside in Lincoln and are able to work on campus. For more information, please see the UNL Assistantships webpage. The deadline to submit an application for a Special Education graduate assistantship is January 15 each year.

For More Information

For information about other forms of financial support available to students, visit the following links:
Office of Graduate Studies Funding webpage
SECD Funding webpage

Questions?

For questions about fellowships and/or GAs, contact Jill England, Graduate Coordinator, at jill.england@unl.edu or 402-472-2141.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions students ask regarding the Deaf Education program:

What degree will I have when I complete my course of study?
Individuals wishing to be certified to teach students who are deaf or hard of hearing and who concurrently want to earn a master's degree in the area of Deaf Education can complete coursework to receive a Master of Arts or Master of Education in Special Education with a Specialization in the Education of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

What if I already have a master's degree in education?
Individuals who already hold a master's degree in an education-related field (i.e., are certified to teach either elementary, secondary or special education) and want to pursue an endorsement in teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing, may apply for the Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities. If accepted, the individual can then continue on and complete the endorsement coursework without completing a second master's degree.

Do I need to be fluent in American Sign Language before I apply to UNL?
An intermediate level of American Sign Language (ASL) proficiency is required by the time a student begins his or her student teaching. This is not a course requirement, but a proficiency requirement, which the individual would arrange for locally and submit documentation for approval. UNL does offer an on-campus series of 16 undergraduate credits in ASL in the summer, as well as during the fall and spring semesters.

I live in rural Nebraska or in another state. I am already teaching full-time. How do I manage to complete my required fieldwork and student-teaching practicum?
Most students completing the UNL teacher preparation program in Deaf Education are non-traditional, working full-time, have families, and have limited access to children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing. UNL students have a number of options for completing fieldwork locally, such as using adjunct supervisors and summer enrichment program opportunities in local school districts, depending on individual circumstances. It is recommended that you have a discussion with Dr. Thomas about required field experience and student teaching prior to applying to the endorsement program to ensure you have the means to carry out the requirements.

Can I complete the courses at my own pace?
No. The courses required for the master's and/or endorsement in Deaf Education have (occasional) required online meetings, weekly discussions, assigned activity/assignment deadlines, and examinations. There is flexibility built into our online courses, however, to allow students to balance their studies and their lives. Faculty also encourage students to engage with each other and with instructors in order to form a learning community.