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Trinity College Dublin

Dublin , State ,Ireland

Bachelor in Deaf Studies

What is Deaf Studies?

The Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity affords students the opportunity to develop insights into, and genuine appreciation for the culture, contributions, and contemporary issues related to Deaf people in Ireland and worldwide. The undergraduate programme is the only one of its kind in Ireland. Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the indigenous language of the Deaf Community in Ireland and is the working language at the Centre for Deaf Studies.

ISL is a language like any other language, but it happens to use signs rather than sounds. There are many different sign languages in the world in the same way as there are different spoken languages.

ISL is one of the many signed languages recognised by European Institutions and Northern Ireland. During the four year course students develop fluency in ISL. As a student you may choose to specialise as an ISL/English Interpreter, an ISL teacher or to focus on Deaf Studies. Students entering the Deaf Studies programme will explore a range of educational, social, cultural, linguistic, and psychological issues and their application to Deaf people, as individuals, as a community, and as a linguistic and cultural minority.

Do you think you will enjoy:

  • Learning to communicate through ISL?
  • Learning a language in a small group setting?
  • Working with a minority community?

The multi-disciplinary approach to your studies is led by a strong academic team, many of whom are Deaf. It will provide in-depth training that prepares undergraduates for a number of exciting career options working with Deaf people, in education, community and a range of other service settings e.g., as a disability officer, resource officer, research assistant or as an administrator in Deaf community organisations. With this foundation, students frequently go on to postgraduate study.

Deaf Studies: The course for you?

Deaf Studies is the right course for you if:

  • You are interested in studying Irish Sign Language (ISL), Deaf culture and aspects of the Deaf community
  • You wish to acquire an understanding of the Deaf community as a part of human diversity
  • You wish to spend your professional or social life after graduation in the Deaf community, or to make further contributions in a chosen academic discipline
  • You are hearing, Deaf or hard of hearing – all are encouraged to apply and no prior knowledge of sign language is required

Deaf Studies at Trinity

The Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity has an international reputation for its work: we bring approaches from across many disciplines (linguistics, equality studies, psychology, education, disability studies, gender studies, interpreting studies, social policy and digital humanities) to bear on our work with Deaf communities.

We engage closely with the Irish Deaf community and students will have the opportunity to learn from many of the world’s leading scholars in this discipline who collaborate with the Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS) staff.


The pathways available are Single Honors and Major with Minor.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

Graduates frequently work in Deaf organizations, for example as a resource officer or combined with another skill set, such as teaching, ISL interpreting, childcare, social work, public service bodies, the Civil Service or the media. There is also scope for further study or research in areas such as linguistics, communications, anthropology, multiculturalism, gender studies or law.

Your degree and what you’ll study

The programme in Deaf Studies draws on a core faculty with interests in Irish Sign Language and Deaf Studies, as well as other faculty within the University and the School of Linguistics Speech and Communication Sciences, with expertise in bilingualism, biculturalism, reading, literacy, linguistics and applied linguistics, cognitive and language development, language teaching, special education, and counselling. This course gives an in-depth understanding of the Irish Deaf community and of the experience of Deaf people internationally, historically and in contemporary society. Core courses detailing the history, education, literature and language of the Deaf will be taught by both Deaf and hearing staff.

ISL is studied across the programme. In years two and three, themes such as Deaf education, Deaf people in the media, the legal and political standing of signed languages and access to critical public health services are explored, along with understanding of the structure of ISL, the sociolinguistic context and the path to acquisition of a signed language for deaf children. For ISL/English interpreting students, translation theory and the practical skills of interpreting, guided by ethical practice, are emphasised in years three and four.

For students taking the ISL teaching route, aspects of the psychology of education are introduced, along with guidance on planning and implementing a curriculum and assessing student performance. Students in the third and fourth year complete a Capstone research project.

Across the four years of the degree you will develop a high level of competency in ISL skills. Language teaching is mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR, Council of Europe), so you will be able to map your progress against your knowledge of other languages. Competence in Irish Sign Language is fundamental to gaining an in-depth understanding of the Deaf community and is a requirement of the programme.

Theoretical Component

Theoretical courses introduce you to aspects of language acquisition, linguistics, sociolinguistics, social policy, and social studies. Each theoretical course involves two hours of lecture time per week plus an expectation of self-study.


The course employs a wide range of teaching, learning and assessment strategies. Both continuous assessment and end of semester exams are undertaken across the four years. The range and diversity of assessment formats account for varying student learning styles.

Study abroad and internship opportunities

Students undertake practical placements in the third year and whilst students are usually placed in an Irish organisation, it is possible, by special arrangement, to arrange a placement abroad.


  • Sep

Application Processing Time in Days: 60

Minimum English Language Requirements

English Level Description IELTS (1.0 -9.0) TOEFL IBT (0-120) TOEFL CBT (0-300) PTE (10-90)
Expert 9 120 297-300 86-90
Very Good 8.5 115-119 280-293 83-86
Very Good 8 110-114 270-280 79-83
Good 7.5 102-109 253-267 73-79
Good 7 94-101 240-253 65-73
Competent 6.5 79-93 213-233 58-65
Competent 6 60-78 170-210 50-58
Modest 5.5 46-59 133-210 43-50
Modest 5 35-45 107-133 36-43
Limited 4 32-34 97-103 30-36
Extremely Limited < 4 < 31 < 93 < 30

Job Opportunity Potential

If you are an international student studying at Trinity, you might be considering internship and graduate work in Ireland, in your home country, or elsewhere. This section provides information for Non EU students on working in Ireland during and after your studies. For information and resources to support an international job search, see our Devex resource which includes international job search advice and information.

Employers value candidates who have more to offer than a good degree with high grades. They look for students who are well rounded and who have experience outside the classroom. Search for and take advantage of opportunities to gain experience, develop your skill set, and gain a clearer picture of what you like and don't like in terms of career options.

For example, you can get involved in some of the many student clubs and societies in college, volunteer or get a part time job. Remember that voluntary work is as valuable as paid work on your CV or resume - it's a great way to demonstrate your skills to future employers. Have a look at the TCD Civic Engagement website and check out volunteering opportunities in Ireland and abroad.

PSW Opportunity

2 Year

Admission Requirement / Eligibility Criteria

  • General Entry Requirements
  • Class XII – ISC, CBSE
  • 80-90% in six subjects at XII depending on course (or 5 at Grade XII and 1 at Grade X) Mathematics up to Grade X

International Baccalaureate

  • 3 subjects at Grade 5 (Higher Level)
  • 3 subjects at Grade 4 (Standard Level),
  • including English & Maths
  • 32 to 40 points, depending on course


  • 4 A2 or best 3 A2 plus one AS
  • Pass in English & Maths
  • *75% or above / HL Mathematics required
  • at Class XII level for Computer Science,Engineering, Science and Mathematics courses

*Additional requirements may apply for some courses

  • English Language Proficienc Test
  • IELTS - 6.5 (No individual band below 6)
  • TOEFL - 90 (Written score 21)
  • PTE Score -63 (No section below 59)

For More Information Please Connect Our PSA Counselor.