American Sign Language
Holly Nelson
Holly Nelson
Director, American Sign Language Program

Fostering an understanding of Deaf people as a linguistic and cultural minority is one of the most important things we do.

Our program is designed to aid students in acquiring proficiency in American Sign Language by applying their linguistic and cultural skills and knowledge to an academic area of study. From this foundation, students are prepared to engage in any number of professional fields related to deafness, including certified sign language interpreting. 

ASL fulfills foreign language requirements at the University of Arizona.

Learn more about what we offer

ASL placement test

If you have taken an ASL course prior to attending the University of Arizona, it is recommended that you take a language placement assessment through an interview with an ASL faculty member. The assessment determines language proficiency and which course best fits your ASL skills. Please contact ASL Director Holly Nelson at hnelson@email.arizona.edu to schedule an interview.

We look forward to meeting you!

Megan McDevitt kneeling with service dog
Megan McDevitt

College of Education Class of 2021 Outstanding Senior: Megan McDevitt
Major: Deaf Studies
Hometown: Tucson

As the Outstanding Senior of the Class of 2021, what motivated you to excel as a student?
What motivated me most was finally finding the degree program that I loved. The interpreting emphasis inspired me to give my all and motivated me to work as hard as I could to be the best interpreter I can be.

What led you to the college?
The number one reason I chose the College of Education was that the Deaf Studies Interpreting Program is the only four-year ASL interpreting program in the state and one of a handful in the country. I started my undergrad at Northern Arizona University as a pre-nursing major and quickly figured out healthcare wasn’t for me, so I spent countless hours trying to figure out what it was that I had a passion for. What I ultimately found out was that the perfect program for me was back home in Tucson. It was a long meandering road to the College of Education, but I am so grateful for the experiences that brought me to this incredible program.

What have you learned in the College of Education that has made a difference to you?
Something that I learned in the College of Education may seem a little silly, but it made a huge difference for me, was the superman stance. Whenever my classmates and I were having a rough day or feeling down on ourselves about an interpretation, our professor would make us do the Superman stance. She made us stand up, legs strong and apart, hands on hips with chest and head up, and say together, “Stand like a superhero, feel like a superhero, act like a superhero. I CAN DO THIS!” That always made me feel better and helped me learn how to be confident with myself.

What are your post-graduation plans?
My post-graduation plans are to work as an educational interpreter in a public school district. I hope to stay in Tucson, but I’m open to moving if the opportunity arises.

What advice do you have for students just getting started in the College of Education?
Showing up is 90 percent of success. It starts a snowball effect by dragging yourself to that class or those office hours. Once you’ve done that, all the other stuff becomes more manageable and worthwhile. My other piece of advice is, get your education to gain knowledge and understanding, not to gain a GPA. As soon as I let go of always worrying about the grades, I actually started learning and enjoying my classes. Before I knew it, my grades followed suit, too!