Located in Washington, D.C., Gallaudet University is a private, federally charted institution and the only university in the world designed to be barrier-free for deaf and hard of hearing students. Established in 1864, Gallaudet University came into existence by an Act of Congress with a charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln. A leader in DeafSpace architectural design, Gallaudet is also the world’s largest publisher of books both for and about the deaf community. The site of the 1988 Deaf President Now movement, which served as a catalyst for the Americans with Disabilities Act, Gallaudet has, since its inception, led the world in advances for deaf rights and in the education of deaf and hard of hearing students.
Academic ProgramsGallaudet University’s mission as a “bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education” is to ensure the “intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English.” The University’s mission statement continues, “Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.” Gallaudet holds its accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
More than 50 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs are available and Gallaudet University offers the world’s only B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. program in Interpretation in an American Sign Language-immersive environment. Classes are taught in a bilingual environment where students are able to have direct communication with their professors in both American Sign Language and English. For students whose first written language is not English, the University’s English Language Institute is there to provide assistance. Gallaudet has an extensive network of international internships and projects. Gallaudet is also home to the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center as well as the Gallaudet University Library, Archives and Deaf Collection which is the largest in the world.
Student LifeGallaudet University has a total enrollment figure of approximately 1,500, including over 1,000 undergraduate students. Students come from all across the United States as well as from more than two dozen countries worldwide. Though a small percentage of hearing students are admitted, this number is capped off at about 6% and the vast majority of students are either deaf or hard of hearing. All first- and second-year students are required to reside on campus and many junior and senior students opt to live on campus as well. First-year students live in Gallaudet’s Benson Hall; after their first year, resident students may select to live in one of the University’s innovative halls which are built entirely using DeafSpace architectural design elements.
Gallaudet University is home to a variety of student groups which cater to a range of personal and professional interests. All student groups participate in some type of community service. An NCAA Division III school, Gallaudet’s athletes compete in the North Eastern Athletic Conference.