Best California Colleges to Major in Sign Language

American Sign Language is the primary language for an estimated 100,000 to 500,000 Americans. Learning how to communicate through American Sign Language is essential to working with the deaf community.

Beyond, communication American Sign Language can also be used to:

  • Learn about the cultural, social, historical and academic needs of the deaf.
  • Provide essential skills in various areas to the deaf community: counseling, speech therapy, psychology audiology, nursing, business and education.

Standout Colleges Offering American Sign Language in California

California State University, Northridge

California State University, Northridge enrolls the the largest number of deaf and hard of hearing students of any State University in the United States. Presently, 220 deaf and hard of hearing students attend California State University Northridge.  A degree in American Sign Language is offered through the Department of Deaf Studies.

California State Northridge offers a comprehensive program in the area of deaf studies. The university has been recognized as a leader in providing quality education in the field of deafness. The Department of Deaf Studies features exceptionally skilled and dedicated staff and extensive resources.  The department sponsors a variety of campus and community activities including distinguished visiting guest speakers, deaf festivals, and American Sign Language Theatre productions.

The ‘deaf CSUNians’ brings together deaf and hearing members of the student population who have the interest to promote cultural, political and social awareness of the deaf way of life.


  • California State University Northridge features the National Center for Deafness Resource Center. The center is American’s largest collection of deaf-related books, journals, dissertations, videos, and documentaries. The center was established in 1964, and it is helping to bridge the gap between the hearing, partially hearing, and non-hearing communities.
  • The center is the first college program in the nation to provide paid sign language interpreters for its students.

California State University, Long Beach

California State University, Long Beach offers a bachelor’s degree program in American Sign Language and Deaf Cultures. The university also offers an option in ASL – English translation. The degree is offered through the College of Liberal Arts & Linguistics.

California State Long Beach features the CSULB American Sign Language Club. The club promotes awareness of American Sign Language as well as an understanding of the deaf and hard of hearing community’s unique identity and culture. Students of American Sign Language find a unique space to practice their skills of American Sign Language within the club.

University of California, San Diego

University of California, San Diego offers an American Sign Language major through the Linguistics Department. The department offers beginner language instruction in American Sign Language.  The department also features a Master of Arts in American Sign Language – English Bilingual Education. The master’s degree is a teacher training program designed to prepare teachers to work in various types of school settings amongst hard of hearing children.  To be accepted in the master’s program requires fluency in American Sign Language.

Engineers belonging to the University of California, San Diego have created a smart glove that remotely translates the American Sign Language alphabet into regular text. The glove controls a virtual hand to mimic sign language gestures. The glove has been christened ‘The Language of Glove’ by the engineers. The work was published on July 12, 2017 in the journal PLOS ONE.

American Sign Language is unique and vast- expressing communication, a culture, history, and symbolism amongst a community.

Would you love to learn a new language? Do you want to learn more about the deaf and hard of hearing community? A degree in American Sign Language will increase your value in many fields of employment: healthcare, education, linguistics, and community work. Visit California College Bound for more information about American Sign Language majors and programs.

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