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Teaching ASL

You can teach ASL as a foreign/modern language.

The Master's program in Teaching ASL (TASL) provides you with the approaches and methods needed to teach language learners. 

IOC, female TASL student in class

TASL is for native or
near-native ASL users.

Developing your proficiency in ASL
is not the goal of TASL.

TASL Graduate 2021

Pauline Ballentine, Programs Manager for UNC's ASLIS department, provides an overview of TASL in ASL. 

Overview of TASL

UNC's Extended Campus offers two graduate programs in Teaching American Sign Language. As a TASL student, you will select one of two programs. You take all of the same TASL courses in either program.

" "If you select the TASL with Licensure program, you will take four (4) additional courses. 

These additional courses meet the requirements by the Colorado Department of Education to teach in K-12 settings. You will obtain your Colorado teaching license at the end of this program which may be accepted by other states.

Teaching ASL
Masters Only

" "

Time to Complete

18 months / 5 consecutive semesters
(starts in summer)

Delivery Method

Online = Fall & Spring semesters
Hybrid = Summer semesters
Mandatory summer residential session

Total Credits

# of Courses Per Semester

2 courses per semester
6 credits

Practicum Experiences

Practicum I = 300 hours
Practicum II = 300 hours

Grade Requirement

B (85%) or better
3.0 cumulative GPA

Program Requirements

Master's Project

Application Due Date

Teaching ASL
Masters with Licensure

" "  " "" "

Time to Complete

18 months / 5 consecutive semesters
(starts in summer)

Delivery Method

Online = Fall & Spring semesters
Hybrid = Summer semesters
Mandatory summer residential session

Total Credits

# of Courses Per Semester

2-3 courses per semester
6-9 credits

Practicum Experiences

Practicum I = 400 hours
Practicum II = 400 hours

Grade Requirement

B (85%) or better
3.0 cumulative GPA

Program Requirements

Master's Project

Application Due Date

Specifics of TASL

  • Course Delivery & Cost

    Summer Semesters

    Your courses will be hybrid.

    " " " "" "

    Half Online & Half In-Person

    Fall & Spring Semesters

    Your courses will be online.

    " "  

    All Online

    All of your courses will be structured with assignments and due dates. Canvas is UNC's learning management system and is the main way you will access course content. Visit Extended Campus to learn more about the technical requirements of an online program.  

    " "The in-person part of TASL is required. The summer residential session establishes a foundation of knowledge and skills that you will build upon in the following semesters.

    " "Visit Extended Campus for tuition costs. 

  • Course Sequencing

    " "As a TASL student, you will complete the required courses in the following sequence.

    Complete an Online Orientation
    " "
    3 weeks in May-June

    1st Semester - Summer
    Mandatory residential session

    TASL 501
    First and Second Language Acquisition in ASL (3 credits)

    TASL 505
    Teaching Deaf Community, Culture, and ASL Literature (3)

    If you select TASL with Licensure, you will also take

    " "

    EDFE 125
    Application for Graduate Licensure Admission to PTEP (0)

    EDF 500
    Conceptions of Schooling (3)

    2nd Semester - Fall

    TASL 502
    ASL Teaching Methods (3 credits)

    TASL 503
    ASL Assessment and Testing (3)

    " "

    PSY 500
    Educational Psychology for Teachers (3)

    3rd Semester - Spring

    SRM 600
    Introduction to Graduate Research (3 credits)

    TASL 593
    Practicum for ASL Teaching I (3)

    " "

    EDRD 523
    Reading and Writing in the Content Areas (3)

    4th Semester - Summer
    Mandatory residential session

    TASL 504
    ASL Curriculum Development and Design (3 credits)

    TASL 506
    Contemporary Professional Issues in Teaching ASL (3)

    " "

    EDSE 509
    Strategies for Students with Exceptionalities (3)

    5th Semester - Fall

    TASL 507
    ASL Research Methods (3 credits)

    TASL 594
    Practicum for ASL Teaching II (3)

    " "Any changes to the typical course study will come from the TASL advisor.  

  • Summer Residential Session

    As a TASL student, you will take an eight week hybrid semester each summer.

    " "

    Begin courses online

    " "

    Continue courses on UNC campus

    3 week residential session
    Typically in July
    Classes on weekdays (8:00-5:00)
    Daily & weekend assignments

    " "

    Finish courses online

    " " You will be provided information (i.e., dates, room, dining, etc.) to plan your residential session each summer. 

    " " The summer residential session costs approximately $1,300 for out-of-state students who stay in UNC's residence halls. Meals are an additional cost. Meal plans can be purchased.

    The summer session creates a community of Deaf and hearing students from the ASL-English Interpretation and TASL programs. 

    " "

    The summer residential session has shifted to fully online delivery in the past due to COVID-19. UNC and the ASLIS department considers the current COVID-19 situation when planning upcoming onsite sessions.

    When applying, assume you will attend the residential session each summer you are in the program. 

  • Practicum Experience

    You will complete two practicum experiences during your TASL program.

    Practicum I

    During TASL 593
    3rd Semester (Spring)

    TASL only " " = 300 hours

    TASL with Licensure " " = 400 hours
    (200+ hours in K-12 settings)

    Practicum II

    During TASL 594
    5th Semester (Fall)

    TASL only " " = 300 hours

    TASL with Licensure " " = 400 hours
    (300+ hours in K-12 settings)

    " " You may be required to submit a criminal background check prior to practicum/field-based experiences. 

    " " Practicum experiences should happen in your home area.

    It is your responsibility to locate and secure the two practicum experiences. The TASL program will support and assist you in finding local practicum experiences. If a local practicum experience is unavailable, you may need to travel or relocate for your observations and student teaching. 

    " " The ASLIS Department does not offer student teaching in online UNC courses. Nor is student teaching guaranteed at the Greeley campus, but requests will be considered.

  • Language of Instruction

    TASL uses a bilingual approach. Course content uses different modes of communication (ASL, PSE, and written English) by Deaf and hearing instructors through different forms of media.

    " " " " " "

    Therefore, you must be proficient in ASL (native or near-native user) prior to applying.

  • Scholarships

    " " Graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) opportunities may be available on the Greeley campus. GTAs are paid and receive tuition waivers for up to 10 credits per academic year.

    " "If you become a Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA), you cannot use your GTA hours towards your practicums.

    2022-2023 Scholarship Opportunities:

    " "The Dr. Marcia J. Smith Memorial Scholarship Endowment will provide $1,000/year to a TASL student preparing to become a qualified ASL teacher.

     " "Scholarship funds from the Dean of the Graduate Schools have been increased to $2,000/year.

  • TASL Outcomes & Memorandum of Agreement

    " "Upon graduation, you will be prepared to teach ASL

    In a variety of roles

    ASL instructor

    To varying age groups


    In a variety of settings

    Deaf studies programs
    Interpreter education programs
    Standalone language courses

    A Memorandum of Agreement has been ratified between American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA), UNC, and the TASL program.

    " "As a TASL graduate, you will receive a 1-year free complimentary membership as a certified ASLTA member. If you meet ASLTA's established criteria, the fee for ASLTA-Certified or ASLTA-Master certification process will be waived or reduced. 

    " " In 2021, the value of the Memorandum of Agreement was ~$525.

    ASLTA is a professional organization with a mission to perpetuate, preserve, and promote ASL and Deaf Culture through excellence in teaching. ASLTA has recognized TASL's defined exit competencies which ensure graduates have acquired the pedagogical framework to teach ASL as a foreign/modern language in numerous settings.

Apply to the TASL Programs

Become a UNC Student

" "

Apply to the Grad School

For Academic Program of Interest, choose either...MA only " "

or MA with Licensure " "

GRE scores are not required.

Submit Supplemental Items

" "

In your Bear App Profile,

  1. Initiate requests for two (2) academic/professional letters of recommendation from supervisors/teachers who can attest to your academic potential and abilities, 
  2. Add a 1-2 page statement of your educational goals and philosophy, and
  3. Submit ASLPI scores.*

Show ASL Proficiency

" "

Additional information will be sent to you about the ASL Screening.

Pay the screening fee.

Complete the screening in January.

" " *You are encouraged to submit ASLPI scores as part of the admission application.

While the ASLPI is not a requirement for admission consideration to the program, submitting these scores is an opportunity for you to present additional evidence of readiness for TASL. TASL's Admission Review Committee is dedicated to the practice of conducting holistic evaluations of all admission materials submitted as part of your file.

" " UNC Graduate School will send a letter of acceptance in February-March.

After which, you will be contacted by a TASL team member about initial cohort advising, the TASL orientation, and details about beginning the program in the summer.