American Sign Language (ASL)

Until just a few years ago, Yale students could study ASL only through the DILS (Directed Independent Language Study) program; they could not get credit for such study nor use it to fulfill the language requirement. In Spring 2017, after students expressed strong interest in having ASL courses offered as part of the Yale College curriculum and faculty enthusiastically endorsed the idea, the administration granted permission and allocated resources to start a three-semester pilot program (January 2018—June 2019).

Given the high demand for ASL during the pilot program, Yale decided to continue the teaching of ASL in the academic year 2019-20 and beyond. If there is sustained demand and interest, as we expect, ASL will become a permanent part of the Yale College curriculum and the number of courses offered will increase to meet demand.

To learn more about the ASL language courses and enrollment, see our ASL FAQ page.

ASL Courses

Term: Fall 2019

ASL 110 American Sign Language I (Section 1)

A continuation to American Sign Language (ASL) I, with emphasis on ASL grammar, expressive and receptive skills in storytelling and dialogues. Use of visual materials (DVD), grammar drills, proper use of non-manual markers and body language. Emphasis on character development, role shifting and story cohesion. 

Prerequisite: ASL 110.

Professor: Mikey Barrett
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2019
Day/Time: Monday -- Friday, 11:35a-12:25p

ASL 110 American Sign Language I (Section 2)

An introduction to American Sign Language (ASL), with emphasis on vocabulary, ASL grammar, Deaf Culture and Conversational skills. Use of visual material (DVD), communicative activities, grammar drills, classifiers and Deaf Culture study. ASL 120 is not required to earn credit for ASL 110

Professor: Mikey Barrett
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2019
Day/Time: Monday -- Friday, 2:30-3:20p

ASL 130 American Sign Language III

Building on ASL 120, this course covers in depth the structure of ASL grammar, fingerspelling, narratives, and visual communication. Students develop expressive and receptive skills in storytelling and dialogue. 

Prerequisites: ASL 120 or a placement evaluation by professor. 

Professor: Mikey Barrett
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2019
Day/Time: Monday -- Friday, 10:30-11:20a
Term: Spring 2020

ASL 120 American Sign Language II (Section 1)

A continuation to American Sign Language (ASL) I, with emphasis on ASL grammar, expressive and receptive skills in storytelling and dialogues. Use of visual materials (DVD), grammar drills, proper use of non-manual markers and body language. Emphasis on character development, role shifting and story cohesion. 

Prerequisite: ASL 110.

Professor: Mikey Barrett
Course Type: ASL
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday -- Friday, 10:30-11:20a

ASL 120 American Sign Language II (Section 2)

A continuation to American Sign Language (ASL) I, with emphasis on ASL grammar, expressive and receptive skills in storytelling and dialogues. Use of visual materials (DVD), grammar drills, proper use of non-manual markers and body language. Emphasis on character development, role shifting and story cohesion. 

Prerequisite: ASL 110.

Professor: Mikey Barrett
Course Type: ASL
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday -- Friday, 11:35a-12:25p

ASL 140 American Sign Language IV

Building on ASL 130, this course increases the emphasis on more abstract and challenging conversational and narrative range; cultural values and behavioral rules of the deaf community in the U.S; receptive and expressive activities, including vocabulary, grammatical structures, and aspects of the Deaf Culture in debate format. 

Prerequisite: ASL 130; or as evaluated by professor.

Professor: Mikey Barrett
Course Type: ASL
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday -- Friday, 1:30p-2:20p

ASL FAQ

Who will teach the ASL courses this coming year (2019-20)?

A new instructor, Michael (“Mikey”) Barrett, will be offering the ASL courses. He received a BS in Psychology from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2007 and an MA in Deaf Studies in 2014 from Gallaudet University. He’s very happy to be joining Yale this summer! Jessica Tanner, the beloved first lector in ASL in Yale’s history, has moved to a position at the University of Connecticut, which is much closer to home for her.

Are enrollments capped?

Enrollment in ASL 110 will be capped at 16. We will offer two sections of the course, though we recognize that student demand might be greater than the two sections can accommodate.

How will students be chosen for ASL 110?

If you’re interested in taking ASL 110, please write a message to the instructor (michael.a.barrett@yale.edu) by the end of the first day of classes. Let him know why you’d like to take the course and, in particular, whether

  • you plan to fulfill the language requirement with ASL
  • you have an academic or a research interest related to ASL
  • you have a particular personal reason for taking ASL

One paragraph will suffice (please limit your answers to a maximum of one page).

Do ASL courses count toward fulfillment of the Foreign Language Requirement (FLR)?

Yes, they do. Please consult the academic regulations for information about the foreign language distributional requirement.