American Sign Language/English Interpretation Department

Welcome to the American Sign Language Department. Use the following buttons to navigate to view all American Sign Language Courses, the American Sign Language Certificates/Degrees offered, the faculty page and to visit the American Sign Language program page that reflects our catalog information.

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Sequencing for AMSL Students

If a student begins the ASL Studies and ASL-English Interpretation programs with no or minimal ASL skills, students are required to take the classes listed here .

Mission Statement

The mission of the ASL Studies/ASL-English Interpretation Program (degrees and certificates) at San Diego Mesa College, is to provide high quality instruction and training in practical and theoretical issues, skills, knowledge, and professionalism. American Sign Language and English are separate and distinct languages that represent different cultures with unique values, norms, and perspectives. This program reflects the changing needs of the students and community and encourages participation from students with diverse backgrounds. An Associate of Arts degree and a Certificate of Achievement is offered for ASL Studies. In the area of ASL Studies, students will obtain knowledge and skills of American Sign Language (ASL); focusing on the uniqueness of ASL as a language, Deaf Culture and Deaf History. An Associate of Arts degree and a Certificate of Achievement is offered for ASL-English Interpretation. In the area of ASL-English Interpretation, students will gain an understanding of the interpretation profession and its code of ethics, cultural mediation, skills in providing communication access between ASL and English speakers, sensitivity to issues between groups and individuals with diverse backgrounds, and the importance of continued professional development and lifelong learning. The Associate of Arts degrees include additional general education courses that provide students with a broad scope of knowledge to enable students to become successful interpreters in a variety of settings.

Course Sequence for ASL Studies Course Sequence for Interpreting Studies
  • American Sign Language (AMSL 115) & American Sign Language  Lab (AMSL115L)
  • American Sign Language (AMSL116) & American Sign Language  Lab (AMSL116L)
  • Fingerspelled Signs  (AMSL 214)
  • American Sign Language (AMSL 215) & American Sign Language  Lab (AMSL 215L)
  • Linguistics of ASL  (AMSL 225)
  • American Sign Language (AMSL 216) & American Sign Language  Lab (AMSL 216L)
  • **Required courses that can be taken anytime in ASL Studies are: Introduction to Deaf Culture (AMSL 250)  and Implications of Deafness (AMSL 255)
  • Interpretation I (AMSL 230) & Professional Aspects of Interpretation (AMSL 235)
  • Interpretation II (AMSL 240) & Specialized Settings in Interpretation (AMSL 245)
  • Interpretation III (AMSL 250) & Interpretation IV (AMSL 255)
  •  **(If transferring from another college or university and you have not taken Fingerspelled Signs (AMSL 214), Linguistics of ASL (AMSL 225), Introduction to Deaf Culture (AMSL 250) and/or Implications of Deafness (AMSL 255) they must be taken before Fieldwork in Interpretation (AMSL 276).)
  • Fieldwork in Interpretation (AMSL 276)


  1. Provide courses to develop competencies and fluency in American Sign Language.
  2. Provide students with the history and development of American Sign Language and other communication techniques used among D/deaf people.
  3. Provide students with an overview of education for D/deaf and hard of hearing persons, and common technology used by this population.
  4. Introduce students to laws pertaining to educational choices and rights of D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals and to the local, state, and national organizations, educational institutions, related businesses, and agencies affecting the D/deaf communities.
  5. Provide an introduction and study of theoretical models of interpreting, interpreter roles, functions, responsibilities, communication strategies, and ethical standards applied to consecutive and simultaneous interpreting in a variety of settings.
  6. Introduce students to the language, values, literature, norms, socio-political issues, perspectives, and heritage of the Deaf Culture.
  7. Provide students with the direct application of the principles, vocabulary, and techniques used in interpreting in educational settings.
  8. Provide students with community resources along with interaction with Deaf individuals to promote knowledge and skills necessary for the workforce.
  9. Provide students with direction for further self-assessment and professional development for life-long learning.
  10. Provide students with a pathway to transfer the AA degree to the university level which applies to the first two years of a BA/BS degree.
  11. Encourage/promote continuing education among faculty members.
  12. Maintain state of the art teaching techniques and resources.


Lab Mission Statement

The mission of the San Diego Mesa College American Sign Language (ASL) Studies/ASL-English Interpretation Lab is to support and promote the study and instruction of American Sign Language which encompasses culture, history and literature through the integration of instructional technology for both student and faculty use. To achieve its mission, the lab strives for excellence in the delivery of a number of different services and resources to support faculty and students of ASL. The services provided include the following: audio, video, and computer facilities and equipment, books and other printed resource materials, tutoring services, cultural events, film festivals, conversation hours and video taping and film projects.

Department Chair, Professor Joseph Halcott