2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    Jul 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Deaf Education, M.A.

Specialty Area: Preparing Educators to Serve Children Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing in Inclusive Educational Settings

In 2015 Fontbonne University initiated a Master of Arts in Deaf Education in the Northeast, but since 2022 has expanded the offerings to students across the United States and beyond. This hybrid model offers Fontbonne University coursework through synchronous distance education and face-to-face formats and practicum for graduate students through partnerships with schools in the region where the students reside.

This program is a unique model designed to prepare a new generation of professionals. It stresses an interprofessional approach, incorporating the principles of best practice from deaf education, speech-language pathology, early childhood education, and special education. Classes are small and highly interactive. Faculty are nationally recognized, experienced and committed to each graduate student’s success. Many of our faculty continue to work with children and families, sharing their expertise through technological advancements, evidence-based practices and innovative techniques.

All coursework is presented by instructors through face-to-face instruction or via synchronous distance technology. The 39 credit-hour curriculum will prepare graduate students with the content and experiences they need to:

  • provide educational services to students who are learning using listening and spoken language,
  • collaborate with professionals in inclusive educational settings,
  • monitor and facilitate the use of hearing technology,
  • instruct learners with modifications and accommodations,
  • support learners’ self-advocacy and social-emotional development.

In addition to the core curriculum, graduate students will also participate in over 400 hours of field experience in or near the city in which they reside often with partner programs such as Clarke Schools or CREC Soundbridge in Connecticut and the Bergen County Hearing Impaired Program in New Jersey.

Deaf education is accredited by the Council on Education of Deaf Education (https://councilondeafed.org/).


Students may be eligible for the Massachusetts teaching license at the end of the program. Students will need to pass all required tests for licensure and may need to take additional courses depending on the courses taken as an undergraduate. Students who wish to earn licensure or certification in other states will need to meet the requirements of that state.


Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education. (Students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree may apply after they have completed 108 undergraduate hours.)

It is preferred that students have an undergraduate degree in deaf education, speech-language pathology, early childhood education, special education, or elementary education.

Applicants must have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.

The applicant must submit the following items by February 1st of the year of planned enrollment:

  • A completed online application for graduate study at Fontbonne University.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least one of which is from a faculty member in the department in which the student majored as an undergraduate.
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended accredited, degree-granting colleges or universities; for applicants currently enrolled in an undergraduate program, transcripts must include the fall semester grades.
  • A self-statement.

Please refer to the admission requirements listed in Academic Policies and Regulations  for additional information.

Essential Functions

Applicants must also meet the following essential functions which are required of individuals in the field.

Physical Abilities

  • Participate in classroom or clinical activities for two-to-four-hour blocks of time with one or two breaks
  • Ambulate to, within and from academic/clinical facilities
  • Provide for or direct one’s own personal hygiene
  • Manipulate screening/diagnostic/ therapeutic/educational materials
  • Respond to emergency situations including fire, choking, and in the application of universal precautions
  • Visually monitor client responses and use of materials
  • Auditorily monitor and verbally model correct speech and language production

Affective Abilities

  • Work effectively with people
  • Make appropriate decisions, including the ability to evaluate and generalize appropriately without immediate supervision
  • Maintain professionalism and proper workplace behavior, including punctuality and regular attendance
  • Maintain composure and emotional stability in demanding situations
  • Maintain emotional and mental health required for use of intellectual abilities, prompt completion of responsibilities, and appropriate relationships with clients/students and colleagues

Cognitive Abilities

  • Comprehend and read professional literature/ reports
  • Write university level papers and clinical/educational reports in Standard American English
  • Speak Standard American English intelligibly
  • Independently analyze, synthesize, interpret ideas and concepts in academic and clinical settings
  • Maintain attention and concentration for sufficient time to complete academic/clinical activities: typically two to four hours with one or two breaks
  • Comply with administrative, legal, and regulatory policies

Background Checks

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure the safety and welfare of students and staff, school districts require that any individual who teaches, supervises, or has access to students in schools undergo an FBI fingerprint check, a criminal record check, child abuse/neglect screening, TB tests and/or other screenings. Candidates should also realize that the background checks need to be updated periodically. It is the responsibility of each student to maintain up-to-date background checks for the purpose of observations, practicum and final clinical experience/student teaching. Please check with your advisor or Fontbonne’s Certification Officer (East 235) should you have questions regarding background checks and the courses for which they are necessary. Courses needing background checks are also noted in this catalog.

Learning Outcomes

  • The program graduate will show competence in the following competencies:  
    • Describe historical and contemporary issues related to deafness 
    • Support learners’ social-emotional development and self-advocacy skills to independently access the general education curriculum 
    • Monitor and facilitate use of audition through hearing technology and supportive strategies derived from scientifically-based research and experience 
    • Facilitate spoken language and literacy for students, including learners who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds 
    • Assess learners’ development, progress, and achievement to inform planning and instruction/intervention 
    • Maximize academic achievement to promote college- and career- readiness through effective curriculum development, effective instructional planning and/or effective speech and hearing services 
    • Collaborate on interdisciplinary teams with families, to design, implement and evaluate intensive individualized interventions in inclusive educational settings, based on the unique developmental needs of learners including those with concomitant disabilities 
    • Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior including ongoing reflective practice to ensure continued professional growth 
  • The program graduate will model effective verbal, nonverbal, written, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction for learners who are DHH in inclusive educational settings.  
  • The program graduate will demonstrate higher order and critical thinking skills as a reflective practitioner who continually assesses the effects of choices and actions on others. This reflective practitioner actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally and utilizes the assessment and professional growth to generate more learning for more students. 

Courses Required for Students in Deaf Education

A minimum of 39 credit hours are required for the program