Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Deaf Studies


Mono-Bachelor: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) - please refer to the ‘Bachelor’s and master’s courses’ FAQ. If you want to become a teacher, please see the combined bachelor’s course Special Needs Education with Focus on Sign Language Pedagogy and Hearing & Communication.

Standard time for completing course

6 semesters

Start of study and Entry Restriction

Cf. course catalogue

Special admission requirements: Language skills

Proof of basic knowledge of German Sign Language amounting to 80 hours of instruction upon application

Detailed information: 6. revision ZSP-HU, pp. 26-27 and the Institute's website

Course content and objectives

The best way to find detailed information about the exact course content is using the annotated university calendar. Module descriptions and the course curriculum can be found in the course and examination regulations. The Course Advisory Service is also available to help you (see below "Addresses").

The Deaf Studies (B.A.) study is designed to provide a scientifically-based, career-related basic qualification for educational, therapeutic, consulting and language-related jobs with Deaf Sign Language users, people born Deaf, who have become deaf or are hard of hearing. The central focus of study is the linguistic-cultural communities of sign language users, the linguistic structure, usage and acquisition of sign languages. One of core aspects is intensive training of German Sign Language (DGS) which will enable graduates to communicate with Deaf Sign Language users. In addition, students will gain knowledge and insights of disability as a social construction, role of institutions and culture in the lives of people who are either sign language users, Deaf, deafened or hard-of-hearing.

The study of Deaf Studies also provides as intensive preparation for those applying for the M.A. in 'Sign Language Interpreting', leading to a professional career as an interpreter and/or translator and dedicated solely to interpreter training with theoretical and practical foundations.

Furthermore, the study of Deaf Studies does not only provide preparation for M.A. in Sign Language Interpreting but also covers a number of further professional objectives. Various professional fields are open to graduates of the Deaf Studies (B.A.): Deaf associations, government agencies and public services, counselling services for Deaf people, Early Education services, kindergartens or schools and/or retirement homes, as well as other social, cultural, rehabilitative or medical institutions. In addition, there is the option of working as a family assistant for families with Deaf members. The Deaf Studies B.A. also serves as an academic qualification for deaf individuals wishing to work as sign language instructors.

Moreover, the graduates of B.A. in Deaf Studies can apply for research-oriented MA and PhD courses, e.g. in Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Education, Social Sciences and/or Psychology.

Why should you study Deaf Studies at HU?

The subject Deaf Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is unique in the German-speaking world and is a leader in the fields of research, awareness-raising and knowledge transfer. It is attended by both hearing and deaf students and hearing students who have deaf parents. The teaching staff is also composed of hearing and deaf lecturers. In accordance with the international profile of Deaf Studies as a research field, the department has extensive networks with international institutions. Furthermore, Deaf Studies is also the only course that provides extensive preparation for the M.A. course in Sign Language Interpreting which is offered in the same department.

Course structure

One credit point (CP) is calculated to equal an average workload of 25 to max. 30 hours for preparation, follow-up and attendance at classes.

Mandatory modules (140 CP)





Introduction to Deaf Studies

    5 CP


Introduction to Linguistics

    5 CP


Pedagogical aspects of Deafhood

    5 CP


Introduction to Rehabilitation Sciences

    5 CP


Sociology and Ethnology of Deaf Communities I

    5 CP


Sociology and Ethnology of Deaf Communities II

  10 CP


Sign Language Linguistics

  10 CP


Practical Foundations

    5 CP


German Sign Language A1+

  10 CP


German Sign Language A2

  10 CP


German Sign Language A2+

  10 CP


German Sign Language B1

  10 CP


German Sign Language B1+/B2

  10 CP


Alternative Sign Language systems

  10 CP


Research project Deaf Studies

    5 CP


Deaf Studies Internship

  10 CP


Final Colloquium and B.A. Thesis

  15 CP



140 CP

Mandatory elective modules (20 CP)

One of the following two profile areas must be completed.

Profile area A: Public Social Services for Deaf people

Module A 18: Public Social Services for Deaf people I, 10 CP

Module A 19: Public Social Services for Deaf people II, 10 CP

Profile area B: Interpreting and Translation

Module B 20: Introduction to Interpreting and Translation of Sign Languages, 10 CP

Module B 21: Practical Foundations in Interpreting 10 CP

General elective modules (20 CP)

The general elective modules can be freely chosen from the module catalogues of other subjects or central institutions (see:

General elective course offerings for Students coming from other courses of studies

Modul 1: Introduction to Deaf Studies, 5 CP

Modul 2: Introduction to Linguistics, 5 CP

Master’s courses

Having chosen Profile area A, you can apply for Rehabilitation Pedagogy or Education Science Master's at Humboldt-Universität. Profile area B prepares for the ‘Sign Language Interpreting’ master’s course at Humboldt-Universität. For further master’s courses, see the ‘Course catalogue’.


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences: Department of Deaf Studies and Interpreting for Sign Languages, Ziegelstraße 4, Entrance 4 (in courtyard), 10099 Berlin,
Course Advisory Service and Classification and recognition of studies and qualifications: Andreas Bittner, Raum 312, Fax: 030 2093-66781

Student counselling: Georgenstr. 36, Room 111, phone +49 30 2093-66736, studienberatung-reha[at]
Links to job market: careers information centre, Hochschulteam calendar of events

Version: August 2023
Back to course catalogue

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