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Bachelor in Deaf Studies

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Course overview

Deaf Studies is a four-year full-time course. No prior knowledge of ISL is required. The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the Deaf community and ISL for those wishing to work in or with the Deaf community. The degree involves an integrated programme of study which is designed to equip students with a broad spectrum of knowledge, skills and competencies related to the Deaf community, its history and culture, and for those following specific paths, the profession of ISL/English interpreting or ISLTeaching. The course offered is a four-year course of honors standard leading to a degree of Bachelor in Deaf Studies.

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What is Deaf Studies?

Deaf Studies is a discipline that encompasses an understanding of the Deaf community from social, educational, policy and historical perspectives. Graduates will develop fluency in Irish Sign Language (ISL) and may choose to specialise as Irish Sign Language Interpreters, Irish Sign Language teachers or as generalists in Deaf Studies. ISL interpreters facilitate communication in a range of community and conference settings including legal, medical, educational, social services, and employment related settings. ISL teachers deliver language learning in a range of contexts, working with deaf children and their families at home, and with adults who are learning ISL as a second language. There is currently a significant shortage of professional ISL/English interpreters and ISL teachers in Ireland. Those specialising in Deaf Studies will develop skills in developing accessible multimedia for Deaf and hard of hearing people, opening up opportunities in subtitling and public information service delivery. There are also options for developing valuable research skills as part of this course.

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Admission to the Bachelor in Deaf Studies

Please note the following:

  • Applications to this course are via the CAO system as described in the college's admissions webpages.
  • Mature students (aged 23 or over in year of entry) must apply through the CAO AND the Admissions Office at TCD. See admissions for further details.
  • We strongly encourage applications from Deaf and hard of hearing students. Applications for Deaf and hard of hearing students are also via CAO (and Admissions Office for mature students). See admissions for further details.
  • Applications for all students MUST be completed by 1st February in year of entry. See

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The Fulbright Scholarship in Deaf Studies

The Fulbright Scholarship in Deaf Studies was launched by Her Excellency, Mrs. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, at Trinity College Dublin on July 15th 1999.

This scholarship primarily links Trinity College Dublin and Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. A federally-assisted, non-profit, private institution, Gallaudet University is the only accredited liberal arts university in the world designed exclusively for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The principal aim of the scholarship is to foster an international partnership between the US, and specifically, between Gallaudet University and the Deaf community in Ireland via Trinity College and, through this partnership, to promote awareness of the distinctive nature of Deaf language and culture, advance research in all areas relating to deafness, and to provide training for members of both the deaf and hearing communities, particularly for those who work at the interface between deaf and hearing culture.

In addition to a Deaf or hard of hearing Irish undergraduate student or scholar travelling to Gallaudet, a graduate student from the US will come to Ireland where they will have Visiting Academic Status at the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, and engage in research/internship. In addition to its undergraduate and graduate programmes, Gallaudet offers national demonstration elementary and secondary eduction programmes, continuing education programmes, and a wide range of public service programmes.

In Ireland, the scholarship is open to students who wish to pursue under-graduate study at Gallaudet for one or two semesters. Undergraduate courses and programmes are offered in a variety of areas including arts, sciences, communication, education, human services and management. All candidates will be expected to have some knowledge of a natural sign language, such as Irish or British Sign Language, and to be willing to study American Sign Language.

Details of undergraduate programmes at Gallaudet University are available from the Gallaudet website.

Fullbright Contact Details

Application forms may also be downloaded from the Fulbright website.

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Foundation Scholarship

Bachelor in Deaf Studies Foundation Scholarship

Foundation Scholarship is a College institution with a long history and high prestige. Some of our greatest alumni – such as Edmund Burke, Samuel Beckett, and Mary Robinson - were Scholars.  It is a distinctive feature of student life here at Trinity and now is the opportunity for Senior Freshman students to join the ranks of Trinity Scholars.

The objective of the Foundation Scholarship examination is to identify students who, at a level of evaluation appropriate to the Senior Freshman year, can consistently demonstrate exceptional knowledge and understanding of their subjects. The searching examination requires candidates to demonstrate skill in synthesising and integrating knowledge across the full range of the set examination materials; to demonstrate rigorous and informed critical thought; and, in appropriate disciplines, to demonstrate a highly-developed ability to solve problems and apply knowledge.

This academic year the Foundation Scholarship Examinations will be scheduled to begin on Monday 11 January 2016 (although it may be necessary to schedule some examinations in the preceding week).  Applications to sit this examination must be submitted online to the Examinations and Assessment Team in the Academic Registry using the following link: 2016 Foundation Scholarship Application Form.  This link will only be available from 9.00am on Monday 2 November 2015 until 5.00pm on Monday 16 November 2015. No applications will be accepted after this date/time.  Applicants must be fully registered for their course of study in the current academic year by the application closing date. 

Scholarship is awarded solely on the basis of this examination performance– and no other factors are taken into account.  A Scholarship at Trinity College remains the most prestigious undergraduate award in the country, an award that has undoubtedly helped to foster long-lasting links between many outstanding graduates and the College. A principal aim of the College is the pursuit of excellence: one of the most tangible demonstrations of this is the institution of Scholarship.

Successful candidates - those achieving an overall first class result with a majority of their papers at a first-class level (i.e. 2 out of 4 or 2 out of 3 papers) - are elected by the Board on Trinity Monday. Two additional regulations are being introduced this year. Firstly, to be eligible for Scholarship a candidate cannot achieve a mark below 65% in any paper. Secondly, all courses will examine students on material that goes beyond the set curriculum by setting discipline-specific general paper/s and/or general section/s on papers as part of their examination. Please consult your course handbook and the College Calendar for further details.

Scholars enjoy significant benefits including Commons free of charge, rooms free of charge for up to nine months of the year and, where a student is not in receipt of outside scholarships or grants, fee remission for up to five years to the value of the EU fee level.

The Scholarship Examination can only be taken by students in their Senior Freshman year, except in exceptional circumstances when students may defer it to the following year.  In the event that a serious problem arises in the lead-up to the exam please contact your tutor who will make the appropriate application.

More detailed information on the examination is available in the College Calendar and on the Examinations and Assessment webpages. These sources of information should be consulted prior to submitting an application.
NB: See 2015-16 Scholarship Calendar Entry.


  • Bachelor in Deaf Studies Prospectus (PDF, 142 KB)
  • Bachelor in Deaf Studies General Handbook 2015-16 (PDF 823 KB, DOC 187 KB)
  • Bachelor in Deaf Studies JF Handbook 2015-16 (614 351 KB, DOC 470 KB)
  • Bachelor in Deaf Studies SF Handbook 2015-16 (PDF 522 KB, DOC 532 KB)
  • Bachelor in Deaf Studies JS Handbook 2015-16 (PDF 717 KB, DOC 507 KB)
  • Bachelor in Deaf Studies SS Handbook 2015-16 (PDF 810 KB, DOC 919 KB)

For further information please contact Dr. John Bosco Conama:

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Last updated 21 October 2015 by