ASL/English Interpreting Major (B.S.)

ASL/English Interpreting Major (B.S.)

sign language manchester

Preparing skillful interpreters through interaction and immersion

In the nation’s first accredited interpreting program and one of only 14 accredited programs in the country, you’ll learn American Sign Language and the foundation of ASL/English interpreting from distinguished faculty, all of whom are native ASL signers and/or certified interpreters.

What is ASL/English interpreting? 

American Sign Language/English interpreting prepares students to work with the Deaf community through learning the intricacies of American Sign Language and Deaf culture, as well as the skills to pursue a career as an ASL/English interpreter. Interpreters convert spoken language into sign language to assist Deaf individuals in a variety of situations, so the field requires strong listening, research, memory and ASL skills. 

Why study ASL/English interpreting at UNH Manchester? 

The ASL/English interpreting program at UNH Manchester was the nation’s first accredited interpreting program and is one of only 14 accredited programs in the country. Our program has developed a national reputation for quality, integrating students with the Deaf community inside and outside the classroom. During senior year, students are paired with a nationally certified mentor and have the opportunity to apply their interpretation and ASL skills within organizations throughout the state. Our graduates have pursued careers in ASL/English interpreting, deaf education, rehabilitation, healthcare, audiology, social work, counseling and the media.  

Potential career areas 

  • Education
  • Government
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Medicine
  • Performing arts
  • Psychology
  • Social services


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"I’ve made so many connections in the Deaf and interpreting communities, and I’ve gotten so much support from so many people."
Lanie Wagenblast ‘16


Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont do not offer a bachelor's-level ASL/English interpreting program in their public universities, so students from these states can enroll at a reduced tuition rate.

Curriculum & Requirements

The American Sign Language (ASL)/English Interpreting program at UNH Manchester is a specialized, in-depth program with a national reputation for quality. In 1999, the program became the first interpreting program in the country to be found in compliance with the National Interpreter Education Standards of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT). In 2007, the program became the first interpreting program in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE), and, in 2017, the program became the first program to be re-accredited by CCIE. UNH Manchester also houses one of northern New England's most comprehensive collections of books and media materials on ASL/English Interpreting.

The program is guided by the premise that deaf people, as a linguistic minority, possess their own cultural values, literature, history, traditions, and social conventions. Interpretation requires bilingual and bicultural competence in spoken English and American Sign Language. The ASL/English Interpreting program at UNH Manchester provides students with a strong theoretical foundation as generalists in ASL/English Interpreting and helps prepare students for either state-level interpreter screening or national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) interpreter certification, depending on students' skill level and experience.

Graduates may go on to pursue specialty areas in interpretation or related fields of study.

Students who complete the bachelor of science degree in ASL/English Interpreting graduate with a varied and flexible academic base. Interpreting requires skills such as sustained powers of concentration, versatility in dealing with a variety of people and content areas, fast-thinking and excellent communication skills in the respective languages. Students seeking to become interpreters receive a foundation in American Sign Language, Deaf culture, and the interpreting process, and their programs of study often include elective courses in linguistics, sociology, communication, and psychology. Students also gain a thorough grounding in the liberal arts through the University's Discovery program.

Graduates of the ASL/English Interpreting program may pursue careers in ASL/English interpreting, deaf education, rehabilitation, health care, audiology, social work, counseling, and the media. The program provides students with a varied and flexible academic base. Graduates are prepared for further study in such fields as psychology, communication, linguistics, sociology, and anthropology.

Sample Course Sequence

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
ASL 435 American Sign Language I 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 4
INTR 438 A Socio-cultural Perspective on the Deaf Community 4
UMST 401 First Year Seminar 1
Discovery Course 4
ASL 436 American Sign Language II 4
INTR 430 Introduction to Interpretation 4
Discovery Course 4
Quantitative Reasoning Course 4
Second Year
ASL 531 American Sign Language III 4
INTR 439 Ethics and Professional Standards for Interpreters 4
Discovery Course 4
Discovery Course 4
ASL 532 American Sign Language IV 4
INTR 540 Translation 4
INTR 539 Comparative Linguistic Analysis for Interpreters 4
Discovery Course 4
Third Year
ASL 621 Advanced American Sign Language Discourse I 4
INTR 630 Consecutive Interpretation I 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective Course 4
ASL 622 Advanced American Sign Language Discourse II 4
INTR 636 Consecutive Interpretation II 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective Course 4
Fourth Year
INTR 732 Simultaneous Interpretation 4
INTR 734 Field Experience and Seminar I 4
Elective Course 4
Elective Course 4
INTR 735 Field Experience and Seminar II 4
Elective Course 4
Elective Course 4
Elective Course 4
 Total Credits129

Students must complete 64 credits in the major, 40 credits in the University's Discovery program, and 24 credits in elective courses. Students must complete 64 credits in the major with a grade of C or better. Students who earn less than a C on a particular course may repeat that course only once. Students must achieve a GPA of 2.5 or better in major courses and must pass both ASL 532 American Sign Language IV and INTR 630 Consecutive Interpretation I with at least a B- (or successfully demonstrate competence in American Sign Language and consecutive interpretation, respectively). Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight ASL/English Interpreting courses at UNH Manchester.

Required Courses

Language Courses
ASL 435American Sign Language I4
ASL 436American Sign Language II4
ASL 531American Sign Language III4
ASL 532American Sign Language IV4
ASL 621Advanced American Sign Language Discourse I4
ASL 622Advanced American Sign Language Discourse II4
Culture and Linguistics Courses
INTR 438A Socio-cultural Perspective on the Deaf Community 14
INTR 539Comparative Linguistic Analysis for Interpreters4
Interpreting Courses
INTR 430Introduction to Interpretation4
INTR 439Ethics and Professional Standards for Interpreters4
INTR 540Translation4
INTR 630Consecutive Interpretation I4
INTR 636Consecutive Interpretation II4
INTR 732Simultaneous Interpretation4
INTR 734Field Experience and Seminar I4
INTR 735Field Experience and Seminar II4
Total Credits64

Capstone Experience

The capstone experience in the bachelor of science degree program in ASL/English Interpreting is met by INTR 735 Field Experience and Seminar II, which is a senior-level course and the last in the sequence of courses required for the major. This course meets the following two criteria of the capstone experience for this major:

  1. the capstone synthesizes and applies disciplinary knowledge and skills,
  2. the capstone demonstrates emerging professional competencies.

For more information, contact Laurie Shaffer, program director, (603) 641-4134, or the Office of Admissions at (603) 641-4150.

Explore Program Details

An important part of learning any language and learning the interpreting process is moving beyond the classroom lessons to become more comfortable in real-life situations. The ASL labs help advance your skills by giving you valuable practice in grammar and vocabulary through communication exercises with Deaf lab facilitators and members of the Deaf community. Interpreting labs provide live opportunities to work with certified interpreters and members of the Deaf community to enhance your interpreting skills. The program offers a video lab in which you can record your progress, allowing you to receive valuable feedback from your professors and peers. 

We have recently added ASL labs to all six ASL courses that are required for the major. All of the ASL lab facilitators are Deaf, native ASL signers. In the first two ASL labs, students engage in communication-related activities that reinforce their learning in the ASL courses (by communicating with a Deaf, ASL signer, etc.). In the next two ASL labs, students invite members of the Deaf community into class via videophone and interview them, as well as discuss various topics in the lab. In the last two ASL labs, students are placed in the community with various Deaf people and meet every three weeks for the seminar portion of the lab. The interpreting labs are all taught by nationally-certified interpreters. Students practice interpreting, learn about communicating with DeafBlind people, working within an interpreting team (i.e., interpreters often work in pairs for lengthy or highly-demanding assignments), etc. Deaf and DeafBlind people, as well as other nationally-certified interpreters, are invited to participate in these activities, as appropriate. In the upper level Interpreting classes, Deaf people come in to class several times throughout the semester to participate in mock interpreting scenarios for student practice.

Through hands-on learning in the classroom and in the field, you’ll develop the skills you need for an impactful career in the Deaf community. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 29 percent growth in the interpreting field between 2014 and 2024, translating to vast possibilities for your future.

Learn more about career planning

Broaden your understanding of Deaf culture and your ability to interact with the Deaf community through our American Sign Language and Deaf Studies minor. You’ll acquire basic ASL fluency while adding a breadth of sociocultural perspective to your degree.

  • H. Dee Clanton, State Coordinator, Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing /Dept. of Ed. (DOE)
  • Thomas Minch, President, New Hampshire Association of the Deaf (NHAD)
  • Lianne Moccia, President, New Hampshire Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (NHRID)
  • Madeline Olio Ruano, Services Coordinator for the Deaf, Granite State Independent Living (GSIL)
  • Mike Wallace, Program Coordinator, Manchester Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program
  • Susan Wolf-Downes, Director, Northeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (NDHHS)
  • UNH Manchester ASL/English Interpreting graduate
  • UNH Manchester ASL/English Interpreting current student

The advisory board also includes a current ASL/English interpreting student as well as a graduate of the program.

We've partnered with Northern Essex Community College to develop a curriculum guide that shows you how your community college courses will transfer into UNH Manchester's ASL/English Interpreting program.

Questions? Contact an admission counselor for help.