Education of the deaf

Undergraduate program     Career info   Apply

The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences offers a bachelor of arts degree in education of the deaf. Students who complete this NCATE approved program are eligible for MDE K-12 certification and CED certification.

The undergraduate program is comprehensive in its communication philosophy. The curriculum addresses fundamentals of manually-coded English as well as audiology, aural-oral education, aural rehabilitation, language development with the deaf, normal language and speech development and phonetics.

American Sign Language is emphasized in a three-semester sign language core. Students also spend considerable time actually working with deaf and hard-of-hearing pupils and their teachers through methods courses and a full-semester student teaching practicum.

Undergraduate adviser: Marietta Paterson

Graduate program    Apply

The department offers a graduate degree - Speech and Hearing Sciences (Deaf Education) MS. This degree has an Education of the Deaf Emphasis with a focus on early oral intervention for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Graduate students learn to use current best practices and hearing technologies to develop listening and spoken language in infants, toddlers and young children with hearing loss. Students who complete the degree and pass the PRAXIS exam - Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood (0621/5621) - are eligible to apply to the Mississippi Department of Education for certification and licensure (#209: birth through kindergarten). This program also provides the foundational skills for those graduates working towards certification as Listening and Spoken Language Specialists. Current graduates are successfully teaching in early intervention programs, public schools and private schools.


Did you know? There is a critical shortage of teachers of the deaf. Due to newborn hearing screening and early identification, there is an increased demand for specialists to work with infants and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. These early years are essential to a child’s development of listening and spoken language as the foundation for literacy and academic success. The University of Southern Mississippi has one of only very few graduate programs in the country that offers this early intervention focus. We have nationally and internationally recognized faculty who guide and support graduate students through small classes and individualized coaching.


Full-time students enroll in 43 credit hours of coursework in a cohort model over four semesters: Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer. Courses are taught and practicum experiences are provided through our partner program at Magnolia Speech School in Jackson. The final practicum can be either an in-state or out-of-state externship placement; The Children’s Center for Communication and Development on either the Hattiesburg campus or Gulf Coast campus is also available.

Lectures and seminars address the assessment and development of listening, speech and spoken language. Additional topics include hearing technology (cochlear implants, hearing aids and FM systems), early literacy, family centered intervention, auditory-verbal practice and special techniques for children with hearing loss and multiple challenges. The curriculum emphasizes writing skills and a knowledge and application of relevant research.

Application deadline: March 30

The program welcomes applications from students with undergraduate degrees in early childhood, education, special education, education of the deaf/hard-of-hearing, speech and hearing sciences or a related field. Graduate students are admitted on a full-time basis. Applicants should apply to the graduate school online and include official transcripts, official GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a resume of relevant education and work experiences, a letter of application to the admissions committee indicating an interest in this field of study and all applicable fees. International applicants submit additional documents to International Student and Scholar Services. Top ranked applicants are invited to interview with the faculty before final decisions are made.

Scholarships: This graduate program is supported by a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). All US citizens accepted into the program are eligible for full-tuition scholarships and book stipends. Contact the advisors for details.

Graduate advisers: Christina Perigoe and Marietta Paterson