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The University of Tennessee

Undergraduate Academic Programs

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Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Major Guide for 2008-2009

What is Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (EDHH) is the field in which professionals work to provide education for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our teachers collaborate with the deaf community to meet the needs of deaf children. We provide EDHH teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary for providing access to the general curriculum in schools. Fluency in American Sign Language is a critical skill for teachers who work with deaf and hard of hearing students and is an important aspect of our training program. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that special education services must be provided for students from preschool through high school and be provided for students with specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, other health impairments, multiple impairments, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, autism, visual impairments, traumatic brain injury, developmental delay, blindness, and deafness, which makes teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing in demand.

Career Opportunities in Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

There are not enough EDHH teachers to meet existing needs. Critical teacher shortages exist in all areas and at all levels: preschool, elementary, middle, and high school. At our annual Education Job Fair, recruiters from surrounding states offered moving expenses, and signing bonuses to our graduates.

Salary Trends in Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Teacher salaries vary according to levels of formal training (bachelor’s degree, master’s, educational specialist, and doctorate) and the number of years of experience. Salaries vary among states and school systems. Students graduating from the EDHH training program at UT typically complete their master’s degree before beginning teaching. Since they also complete a one-year graduate-level internship, they begin as a second-year teacher on the salary scale in the state of Tennessee public school systems. This places them two steps up on the pay scale— one for the advanced degree (M.S.E.) and one for the internship-teaching year, when employed by a Tennessee school system.

High School Preparation

Students must complete the basic college track programs to be admitted to the university. High school guidance counselors are familiar with UT’s admissions requirements. High school is a critical period for vocational exploration and preparation. Students considering EDHH teaching as a career should seek out opportunities that would expose them to deaf and hard of hearing individuals and to the professionals who serve this population. Any opportunity to learn American Sign Language would be valuable. Most high school programs serving students with severe disabilities actively recruit “peer tutors.” Participating in peer tutoring programs will result in the acquisition of direct instructional skills, plus important first-hand experience with students with disabilities. Also, students considering this profession should take advantage of opportunities to informally interview EDHH teachers within their own schools. Such teachers are valuable resources in selecting a university training program and would be able to describe the particular programs they completed. The most important preparation activity is working with special needs students, whether as a peer tutor, a babysitter, or in another context. Most of our students come with a rich history of such experiences.

How to Major in Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Prospective students should seek advising through the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Office of Student Services (865-974-8194). Students apply for admission to the EDHH program after completing a minimum of 45 credit hours. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.7. Prospective students apply for admission by submitting written documentation and are subsequently interviewed by an admissions board consisting of EDHH faculty and professionals in the field. Students who are recommended for admission are then eligible to take education courses. Undergraduate coursework consists of a broad academic curriculum, with a balance of arts and sciences courses. Senior and internship coursework is highly specialized.

Requirements for Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

A minimum GPA of 2.7 is required for admission to the EDHH program. The program leads to licensure to teach students who are deaf or hard of hearing in grades K through 12. Students pursue an undergraduate major in special education, with most of the education coursework and field experiences occurring during the junior and senior years. Students receive a B.S. in Special Education at the conclusion of the senior year. Students continue on with a 1-year internship in which they are mentored as first year teachers in both residential and public school settings. With an additional 12 hours of graduate work, students earn a Master of Science degree in Special Education.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

During the junior and senior year, students complete over 90 hours of field experience in residential and public schools, associated with their coursework. Students are placed in classrooms for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Students engage in activities ranging from assisting teachers with preparation of materials to accompanying classes on field trips to teaching lessons to small and large groups. Placements are made collaboratively with area school districts, including Knox and Blount Counties. In addition, some students opt for an earlier field experience, which affords them an initial exposure to real-school experiences. During the fifth (internship) year, students rotate through residential and public school placements.

Highlights of Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • 5 year program with BS and MS degrees upon completion
  • Yearlong internship in both a public school setting and a residential school for the deaf
  • Opportunity to receive additional licensure in Elementary Education  or Secondary Education
  • Ability to receive hours equivalent to a minor in Educational Interpreting
  • Chance to become a mentor for a deaf student
  • Achieve intermediate competency in American Sign Language

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

The Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program at the University of Tennessee helps  prepare future educators to be “ready for the world” with coursework and applied experience in identifying and addressing the needs of diverse learners. Culturally fair assessment practices and universal design for learning principles are incorporated into coursework and practice.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English 101*, 102* 6
Arts and Humanities Elective* 3
Anthropology 130* 3
Cultures and Civilizations Electives* 6
Natural Sciences Elective* 3-4
Physical Education Activity or Recreation Therapy Electives 2-3
Mathematics 113*-115* or 123*-125* 6
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Communication Studies 210* or 240* 3
Literature Elective 3
Educational Interpreting 223 3
Psychology Elective 3
General Elective 3
Biological Science Elective 4
1 Natural Sciences Elective* 3-4
2 Communicating through Writing Elective* 3
Sociology Elective 3
Junior Year Credit Hours
Educational Interpreting 226 3
Instructional Technology 486 3
Philosophy 246* 3
Social Sciences Elective* 3
Educational Psychology 210 3
Health 305 or 306  3
Educational Interpreting 431  3
Educational Psychology 401 3
Special Education 402 3
Educational Methods (see advisor) 6
Senior Year Credit Hours
Arts and Humanities Elective* 3
Educational Interpreting 432 3
Education of Deaf/Hard of Hearing 410, 415, 416, 419, 425 16
Audiology and Speech Pathology 303 and 473 or Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing 424 6
Audiology and Speech Pathology 494 3

1 A physical or biological science course to complete science sequence.                                                           
2 Any course with a (WC) designation satisfies this requirement.

The following courses are taken during the post-baccalaureate professional year. Students must apply to and be admitted by the Office of Graduate and International Admissions prior to registration.

Internship Hours Credit
Education 574 2
Education 575 12
Education 591 4
Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing 528, 529 6
Graduate Total 24

For More Information

College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
Special Education Program Office
A411 Bailey Education Complex
Knoxville, TN 37996-3442
(865) 974-3435/974-8194



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.