The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

School of Education - Professions In Deafness


Advocacy & Services for the Deaf Concentration

Mission Statement

The Advocacy and Services for the Deaf program is committed to preparing highly qualified professionals to work with Deaf, Deaf-Blind and hard of hearing individuals in various settings other than K-12 schools.  Our program has strong partnerships with the Deaf and hard of hearing communities as well as with professionals/agencies in the field to provide opportunities to interact with diverse populations and cultures within those communities.  It is our primary and essential mission to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge about American Sign Language, Deaf culture, ASL/Deaf literature, interpreting, social problems, issues and behaviors, communication and relationships, etc.


Advocacy and services for the Deaf involve ensuring that Deaf, Deaf-blind and hard of hearing individuals receive equal access and opportunity to education, employment and public services.  To accomplish this, the ASD program teaches the students how to empower individuals to make their own decisions and achieve personal goals through training, problem solving, peer counseling, providing or ensuring equal access and opportunity to education, employment and public services.


Hi!  I want to inform you about the Advocacy and Services for Deaf program here UNCG.  This program is unique for students who have the passion, enthusiasm and true dedication to work with Deaf, hard of hearing and Deaf-blind people.

Students learn how to empower these individuals make their own decisions and achieve their personal goals.  This is with providing training, teaching problem solving skills, through peer counseling, and ensuring that they have equal access and opportunity to education, employment and public services.

At UNCG, students take a range of courses such as ASL, Deaf culture, helping skills, psychology etc.  Students immerse themselves into Deaf community by attending different Deaf events such as Silent Dinner, Deaf Night Out, and interpreted plays.

During the last semester of the Advocacy and Services for the Deaf program, students do their internship at several agencies and organizations such as vocational rehabilitation, state resource centers for the Deaf and hard of hearing, and nonprofit agencies that provide services for the Deaf and hard of hearing.

At UNCG, we have the ASL club known as “DHCC” for Deaf Hearing College Connection for students to get together, have fun and practice their signing.

Every year we have two popular events.  One is Deaf Kiss-Fist where we invite Deaf adults, teenagers and children to perform ABC stories, number stories, deaf joke, skits, etc.  This is a fun event to watch!   The second popular event is ASL Idol, which is like the television program American Idol except that our students perform the songs in ASL.

The Advocacy and Services for the Deaf program offers many wonderful experiences and opportunities for UNCG students.

Hope you will consider joining us!  Thank you!


Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements:  The following requirements must be met in order to be admitted to the Advocacy and Services for the Deaf concentration:

  1. Documentation of an overall 2.50 or better GPA
  2. A passing score on the PEPSI (Program Entry Potential Signing and Interpreting) and SPIL (Sign Potential at the Intermediate Level)
  3. Signed and completed forms outlining Technical Standards, Dispositions, and Program Requirements
  4. A score of Intermediate on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI)

Benchmark Assessments:   In addition to course requirements, students’ progress in developing receptive and expressive American Sign Language competency is screened during SES 101 (American Sign Language I) via the Program Entry Potential for Sign Language Interpreters (PEPSI) screening instrument and during SES 102 via the Signing Potential at the Intermediate Level (SPIL).  Failure to achieve a passing score on either of these assessments will prohibit the student from advancement in the program.

During the spring semester of the sophomore year, advocate candidates are required to demonstrate a passing score of intermediate on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) prior to beginning the advocacy internship. Students must pass this test to graduate.

A minimum GPA of 2.50 in all SES courses is required in order to graduate from the program.  A student must retake a major or cognate course if he/she receives any grade below a B-.

Progression Requirements

Progression Requirements

  1. Satisfactory progress on Dispositions Review each semester
  2. Continued demonstration of required competencies outlined in the Technical Standards
  3. Passing score on the Professions in Deafness benchmark assessments
  4. Achievement of a B- (2.50) or higher in SES courses
  5. Achievement of an Intermediate rating or higher on the SLPI:ASL (taken after ASL III)
  6. Overall GPA of 2.50 or higher

Sample Course of Study

Sample Course of Study

Freshman Year

Fall Semester

SES 100 Visual Gestural Communication

SES 101 American Sign Language I

ENG 101 English Composition I

GNS – BIO 105 Major Concepts in Biology + Lab

GEC – Philosophy & Religion

Spring Semester

SES 102 American Sign Language II

SES 245 Introduction to the Deaf Community

GEC – Fine Arts

GEC – Literature


Sophomore Year

Fall Semester

SES 200 People with Disabilities in American Society

SES 203 American Sign Language III

CST 105 Introduction to Communication

GNS – a natural science course

GHP – a historical perspectives course

GEC – Fine Arts, Literature or Philosophy & Religion

Spring Semester

SES 204 American Sign Language IV

SES 250 Introduction to Professions in Specialized Education

GMT – STA 108 Statistics (or another math course)

CST 207 Relational Communication

CTR 201 Introduction to Community Leadership


Junior Year

Fall Semester

SES 333 Special Projects (Deaf/Blind)

CSD 334 Introduction to Audiology

HDF 304 Adult Development

CTR 314 Recreation Services with Underrepresented Groups

HEA 201 Personal Health


Spring Semester

CED 310 Helping Skills

HDF 212 Families & Close Relationships

HEA 310 Emotional Health

SWK 215 Introduction to Social Work

SES 333 Special Projects (ASD)


Senior Year

Fall Semester

SES 486 Seminar and Practicum

SES 445 Advocacy & Services for the Deaf

*SES 333 Special Projects (Deaf-Blind)

*SES 370 ASL/Deaf Literature


Spring Semester

SES 467 Advocacy Internship

Program Course Catalog

Advocacy Services

The Advocacy and Services for the Deaf Concentration provides training at the undergraduate level to prepare students to work as advocates for and to empower Deaf, Deaf-blind and hard of hearing individuals and their families in the community.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is advocacy and why do we need this?

People need to be aware of their rights regardless of their hearing ability.  Individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing are protected under the ADA and other laws that allow them to self-advocate.  Oftentimes, vocational or school settings are not familiar about the rights of a Deaf, Deaf-Blind or hard of hearing person.  Therefore, it is important for the advocate to help empower their clients to self-advocate in order to understand their rights.


How does an advocate help others to self-advocate?

There are several ways to do this:

  • Encouraging D/deaf and hard of hearing people to express their communication preference, their needs and other rights in order to be treated equally and fairly in an appropriate way.
  • Informing and encouraging D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals to make their own choices regardless of the beliefs and values of the advocate.
  • Educating D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals to be independent and doing things for themselves when possible.  In other words, the advocate allows the D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals to take control of their own life and making their own decisions.
  • Empowering D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals to accept responsibility for themselves and the consequences of their decisions.
  • Educating and encouraging D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals to ask for clarification when needed.
  • Helping and educating D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals to identifying their needs in order to succeed and be able to state those needs themselves.


How do I empower others to self-advocate?

UNCG offers a wide range of courses that will provide you with the knowledge and hands-on experiences you will need.  It is important though that you first be your own best advocate and believe in yourself before you can help others.  To effectively empower others, there are many important skills to have some of which includes the following:

  • being respectful of yourself and of others
  • being inclusive of all people regardless of age, sex, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation
  • being able to speak up to protect yourself and others’ rights
  • being able to listen to what others have to say
  • being sincere
  • being willing to continually learn new things
  • being able to encourage others


Why should I choose UNCG for this program?

This is the only program of its kind at the undergraduate level in the southeastern U.S. that is specifically geared towards advocating and providing services to individuals who are Deaf, Deaf-blind or hard of hearing.


What can I do with a degree in Advocacy and Services for the Deaf?

The Advocacy and Services for the Deaf concentration encompasses taking a broad spectrum of courses from American Sign Language and Deaf culture to helping skills, communication skills, sociology, psychology, diversity, courses along with human development courses.   It is highly recommended that students continue onto graduate school for a more specialized field of study such as in vocational rehabilitation counseling, mental health, and social work.

Graduates from our program have obtained employment as:

  • Case manager
  • Community advocate
  • Deaf services specialist
  • Domestic violence counselor
  • Human services advocate
  • Children and youth services


What is the difference between working as a sign language interpreter and working as an advocate?

Even though both concentrations involve working with D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals, each requires highly specialized skills and training.  There will be occasions when an interpreter and advocate will be working together but with different goals and intentions.  The interpreter is responsible for ensuring effective communication between individuals who use sign language and those who don’t.   The advocate is responsible for ensuring that the rights of D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals are not being violated, that they have equal access and equal opportunities for work, education and communication in any setting as the rest of society.


Can I study to become an interpreter and an advocate?

While both concentrations deal with communication, cultural and accessibility issues of D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals, they differ in the course loads and total number of semester hours. For example, most of the courses in the interpreting concentration are related to interpreting while the courses in advocacy involve social services/human services.  Also, each of the concentrations has different requirements in the seminar and practicum course as well as in the internship course.  It would take at least 7 years to complete both concentrations.


I am D/deaf.  Can I work as an advocate?

Yes, we have students who are D/deaf as well as hard of hearing in the program.


Will I enjoy working as an advocate?

If you like working with people from all walks of life, can adapt well to sudden changes in schedule, are a good listener, can communicate effectively, like challenges, can be objective, have time and patience for others, know how to ask questions, are caring about others and want their lives to improve, and can take responsibility for what you do, then advocacy is for you!

For additional information about careers in Advocacy and Services for the Deaf, please see the PID Careers option on the side menu.

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