Deaf Studies (Irish Sign Language)

By Ethan Moser - Last update


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What is Deaf Studies?

Deaf Studies are an academic discipline concerned with the study of the social life and communication of deaf human groups and individuals. Students interested in careers in deaf studies in Ireland will study Irish Sign Language. 

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • English Language – the study of English as a second language for non-native English speakers.
  • Literature – the study of written works of the imagination such as poetry, drama, and narrative fiction.
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language – the practice of teaching English as a foreign language, especially in areas where English is not widely spoken by the native population. 

Studying Deaf Studies in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students a great introduction to the foundational principles of Deaf Studies including understanding human communication, learning disabilities, and physical disability’s therapy.

In subsequent years of study students will combine lectures, tutorials, and hands-on exercises with regular exams and presentations as benchmark assessments of their course progression. 

Most undergraduate Deaf Studies courses run for three of four years and in certain cases universities will facilitate work experiences. 

It is common with all language-based courses that students are expected to engage in a high number of contact hours with lecturers in tutors, ensuring their successful completion of a rigorous curriculum and preparing them for careers in Deaf Studies after university. 

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research based careers in Deaf Studies. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start working as speech therapists, social workers, and school teachers. 

Career Options
Graduating from college with a degree in Deaf Studies will serve you well as it equips you with a unique and marketable skill set. A humanities degree teaches students to think creatively as well as equipping them with invaluable problem solving and communication skills. 

Many recent graduates have gone into ‘entry-level’ careers in Deaf Studies working as occupational, rehabilitation, and arts therapists. 

Other careers in Deaf Studies that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training, and/or experience to qualify for, e.g. teaching, research, and consulting positions. 

Relatable Jobs Include:

  • Social Worker
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Psychologist
  • Employment Counselor
  • Child Care Worker
  • Audiologist

Further Study

An undergraduate Deaf Studies degree is often the first step towards further postgraduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and areas of Deaf Studies and/or undertaking new, sometimes, interdisciplinary fields. 

Visit postgrad.ie for more information. 

FAQ

  • What points do I need to study Deaf Studies?
    • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule, Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.
  • Are there any particular qualities you need to study Deaf Studies?
    • Students interested in careers in Deaf Studies will need to enjoy the study and use of language as well as its application in the real world. They will need to be innovative, creative, and collaborative as well as being able to communicate their own ideas and opinions.
  • Where can I study Deaf Studies?
    • Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Even though Ireland, Britain, and the USA all speak English, they all have their own individual sign language systems. 
  • Many deaf people have ‘name signs’ so instead of spelling out their names, they represent them with a single sign.
  • Sign language combines hand signs, facial expressions, and body language to fully develop a means of communication. 

Resources


Ethan Moser

Speech Therapy
Modern Languages


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