Special Education: Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing concentration Major Guide for 2011-2012

What is Special Education: Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing concentration

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, cognitive disabilities, 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 Special Education: Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing concentration

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 Special Education: Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing concentration

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 Special Education: Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing concentration

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 Special Education: Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing concentration

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 Special Education: Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing concentration

  • 5 year program with BS and MS degrees upon completion
  • Yearlong internship to include both a public school setting and a residential school for the deaf
  • Receive additional licensure in Elementary Education, Middle Grades 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
Social Science Electives* 6
Cultures and Civilizations Electives* (non-US history) 6
General Electives(or Professional Elective) 3
Quantitative Reasoning Electives* (Math or Statistics) 6
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Communicating Orally Elective* 3
Educational Interpreting 223, 226 6
Educational Psychology 210 3
General Elective (or Professional Elective) 3
Natural Sciences Elective* (1 Physical/1 Biological) 7-8
Philosophy 252* 3
Linguistics 200 3
Audiology & Speech Pathology 303 3
Junior Year Credit Hours
Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 425, 419 6
Professional Elective (see note 2) 3
Reading Education 430 or 543 2 – 3
Information Sciences 330 (see note 3) 3
Educational Interpreting 431, 432 6
Special Education 402 3
Educational Methods (see note 1) 6
Senior Year Credit Hours
Professional Electives (see note 2) 9
Educational Psychology 401 3
Education of Deaf/Hard of Hearing 410, 415, 416 9
Theory & Practice in Teacher Education 486 3
Audiology and Speech Pathology 494 3
Educational Interpreting 435 3

* Meets General Education Requirement

1 Educational Methods – Students must select the appropriate methods courses that meet the requirements for elementary, middle grades, or secondary licensure.

Educational Methods course options include Elementary Education 422; English Education 459, 507, 508, 509, 543, 590; Math Education 485, 543; Reading Education 461, 540, 543; Science Education 543, 565, 596; Social Science Education 454, 543; Theory and Practice in Teacher Education 542, 543.
2 Professional Electives – Students must select an additional licensure area in either elementary education (grades K-6), middle grades education (grades 4-8), or secondary education (grades 7-12).

3 Students obtaining a license in middle grades or secondary education may substitute a Professional Elective.

Elementary Grades licensure options

Students obtaining an elementary K-6 license in general education will choose a collateral area and complete a total of 12 credit hours. Collateral areas are listed below. Check the Course Descriptionsfor any prerequisites required for these courses.

  • Audiology and Speech Pathology – Audiology and Speech Pathology 300, 302, 305, 306, 435.
  • Child and Family Studies – Child and Family Studies 106, 211, 350, 351, 353.
  • Educational Interpreting – Educational Interpreting 335, 340, 350, 355, 435.
  • English as a Second Language – English 474, 476, 477; Foreign Language/ ESL Education 466/566, 476/576, 489/588.
  • Linguistics – Linguistics 400; English 471, 472, 474, 476, 477, 485; Educational Interpreting 435.
  • Reading and Language Arts – Reading Education 461, 519, 529, 530, 536, 537, 538, 539, 540, 543; Elementary Education 528, 550.
  • Special Education – Special Education 410, 419, 420, 456, 459, 471.

Middle Grades licensure options

Students obtaining a middle grades 4-8 license in general education will choose 12 upper division (300-400) credits from a middle grades education content area. Content areas include:            

    • English – Choose English courses.
    • Mathematics – Choose mathematics courses.
    • Science – Choose courses from astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.
    • Social Science – Choose courses from history, geography, political science, and economics.

Secondary Education licensure options

Students obtaining a secondary license in general education will choose 12 hours of professional electives from a secondary education content area. (Note: Some content areas require more than 12 credit hours for completion.  Refer to specific content areas below.

    • English – 15 credits from English at the 300 level or above.
    • Mathematics – Mathematics 241 or 251, 300, 460, 423 or 424.
    • Natural Sciences (Biology) – Biology 140, 240, 250, and 6 credits from biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, or microbiology at the 300 level or above.
    • Natural Sciences (Chemistry) – 15 credits of courses from chemistry at the 200 level or above, including Chemistry 310, 319, and one course from Chemistry 350, 360, 369, 471, 481, 479, 473, and 483.
    • Natural Sciences (Physics) – Physics 135, 136 and 6 credits from physics or astronomy at the 300 level or above.
    • Natural Sciences (Earth Science) – Geology 101, Geology 102 or 103, and 9 credits from geology at the 200 level or above.
    • Social Science (Economics) – Economics 201, 311, 313 and 6 credits from economics at the 300 level or above.
    • Social Science (Geography) – 15 credits from geography, including 9 credits at the 300 level or above.
    • Social Science (Government) – Political Science 101, 102, and 12 credits from political science at the 300 level or above.
    • Social Science (History) – History 221, 222, 241, 242, and 6 credits from history at the 300 level or above to include a course in world history.
    • Social Science (Psychology) – Psychology 110 and 15 credits from psychology at the 300 level or above.
    • Social Science (Sociology) – Sociology 110 or 120, 321, 331, and 9 credits from sociology at the 300 level or above.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
      Theory and Practice in Teacher Education 574 2
      Theory and Practice in Teacher Education 575 12
      Theory and Practice in Teacher Education 591 4
      Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing 528, 529 6
      Graduate Total 24

Critical courses: Educational Interpreting 223 – 226 sophomore year; Educational Psychology 210 – sophomore year; Interview after 45 hours completed. Must have 2.7 GPA.

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.