Education of the deaf

Undergraduate program

The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences offers a bachelor of arts degree in education of the deaf. Students who complete this degree and pass two area PRAXIS II examinations are eligible for Mississippi State Deparrment of Education Licensure (K-12) and for Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) certification.

The undergraduate program has a comprehensive philosophy towards preparing future teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing. The curriculum prepares beginning teachers with the ability to work with students who are deaf and hard of hearing who are learning through American Sign Language, manually coded English or through listening and spoken language. The program prepares flexible teachers to work in diverse educational settings: as itinerant teachers in inclusive general education settings, as resource room teachers, and/or as teachers in self-contained classrooms in schools/programs for the deaf (ASL; BI-BI; Auditory-Oral).

The curriculum includes fundamentals of audiology, typical speech and language development, articulatory phonetics, aural-oral communication and education, instruction through American Sign Language or manually-coded English, use of advanced hearing technologies, aural rehabilitation, language teaching and literacy methods for the deaf and hard of hearing. Students complete a sequence of three courses in American Sign Language. Additionally, students take several courses in general education methods, school law, tests and measurements.

Students complete a two-semester practicum sequence in the field (150 hours) with teachers of the deaf and their deaf and hard of hearing students. This is followed by a final 14-week semester of supervised student teaching with deaf and hard of hearing students. Practicum usually occurs within driving distance of Hattiesburg, Attempts are made to place final-semester student teachers near their home.

Does a bachelor's degree in education of the deaf interest you? Additional details are available here.

Undergraduate adviser: Marietta Paterson

Graduate program

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 is an out-of-state externship. We have contractual relationships with programs of excellence throughout the country.

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: April 21

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. The entire application process is online (click the APPLY link at the top of this page). Applicants should submit either unofficial transcripts* (which applicants can upload themselves) or 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. All materials should be submitted well in advance of the application deadline.

(*Official final transcripts are required be on file in The Graduate School prior to the beginning of students' second semester of study.)

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