Liberal Studies

The NTID Department of Liberal Studies (DLS) provides opportunities for all students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to reach their academic potential and become responsible, global citizens and life-long learners. Faculty meet the needs of students through a variety of communication strategies as well as offering a unique approach to educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts (CLA).

Degrees and Programs

The associate in science (AS) degree in applied liberal arts is designed to prepare deaf and hard-of-hearing students to enter and successfully complete a bachelor’s degree in RIT’s College of Liberal ArtsThis program is available for qualified deaf and hard of hearing students. 

Learn More about Applied Liberal Arts AS 

The pre-baccalaureate studies program is available to students who are accepted by NTID and are close to, but not fully ready for, direct entry into a baccalaureate-level program through one of the other colleges of RIT. It is a bridge program for qualified students, based on academic transcripts, scores on admissions tests, and other evidence that supports a reasonable expectation of success in baccalaureate course work. Qualified students who are undecided as to a program of study may choose the career exploration studies program.

Learn More about Pre-Baccalaureate Liberal Studies 

Partnership with RIT's College of Liberal Arts

NTID Department of Liberal Studies faculty members partner with RIT's College of Liberal Arts faculty members to provide specialized instruction and tutoring.

  • Teaching College of Liberal Arts core courses, and certain other courses, using direct instruction. All students in the classes taught using direct instruction are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and faculty use sign language, spoken language, fingerspelling, printed/visual aids and Web-based instructional materials. Courses include: Written Communication I, Written Communication II, Writing Seminar, Literary and Cultural Studies, Arts of Expression, Fine Arts: Visual Arts, Modern American History, Introduction to Psychology and Foundations of Sociology.
  • Teaching sections of some College of Liberal Arts courses with hearing, deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the same class. Access services are available, including sign language interpreting, real-time captioning services and notetaking.
  • Tutoring deaf and hard-of-hearing students in College of Liberal Arts courses.
  • Providing academic advising to deaf and hard-of-hearing students who are pursuing majors, minors or concentrations in the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Partnering with each department in the College of Liberal Arts to maximize student retention and performance.

Developmental English Program

The Developmental English Program is designed for students to begin developing the skills necessary for understanding and using written English in AOS degree programs at NTID.

NENG-102
Lecture 6, Credits 6
This is a developmental English language course at the first level offered at NTID in which students begin developing the skills necessary for understanding and using written English in AOS degree programs at NTID. World knowledge topics are presented in various media and provide the context in which students learn to: comprehend and use the basic constituents of English sentence; develop a content word vocabulary of about 4000 words; and practice strategies for improving reading comprehension and written expression. In order to continue their reading and writing skill development in Intermediate Reading & Writing I (NENG-112) students must complete this course with a C or better. (NTID Reading Test score below 50 and NTID Writing Test score below 80).
NENG-103
Lecture 4, Credits 3
This is a developmental English language course at the first level offered at NTID for students who begin with reading skills higher than those in NENG-102 or have received an E grade in NENG-102. Students continue developing the skills necessary for understanding and using written English in AOS degree programs at NTID. World knowledge topics are presented in various media and provide the context in which students learn to: comprehend and use more of the basic constituents of English sentences; develop a content word vocabulary of about 4000 words; and practice strategies for improving reading comprehension and written expression. In order to continue their reading and writing skill development in Intermediate Reading & Writing I (NENG-112) students must pass this course. (NTID Writing Test score below 40 and NTID Reading Test score 80 to 97 or grade of “D” in NENG-102).
NENG-112
Lecture 4, Credits 3
This is the first course in a two-course developmental English language sequence at the second level offered at NTID in which students work on reading and writing skills necessary for AOS programs at NTID. General topics in science and humanities provide the context in which students review the basic constituents of English sentences, begin to develop skills for comprehending and using complex sentence elements, increase their English content word vocabulary to about 5000 words, learn to use independent reading strategies, and develop skills for writing paragraphs and longer compositions. Upon successful completion of this course, students will continue their reading and writing skill development in Intermediate Reading & Writing II (NENG-113). (NENG-102 with a “C” grade or better or NENG-103 or NTID Reading Test score from 80 to 97 and NTID Writing Test score from 40 to 59).
NENG-113
Lecture 4, Credits 3
This is the second course in a two-course developmental English language sequence at the second level offered at NTID for students who have completed Intermediate Reading & Writing I. Students continue to work on reading and writing skills necessary for AOS programs at NTID. General topics in science and humanities provide the context in which students use the skills included in Intermediate Reading & Writing I, develop skills for comprehending and using additional complex English sentence elements, increase their content word vocabulary to about 6000 words, begin to evaluate reading tasks to select appropriate reading strategies, and expand their skills for writing paragraphs and longer compositions. In order to continue their reading and writing skill development in Career English I (NENG-212) students must pass this course. (NENG-112 or NTID Writing Test score from 40 to 49 and NTID Reading Test score from 98 to 124).
NENG-199
Ind Study, Credits 1 - 6
The description for each Independent Study request will be specified in each course proposal.
NENG-212
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This is the first course in a two-course sequence. It is designed to develop reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills that students need for AOS course work and for the work environment. The reading and writing components are thoroughly integrated with approximately equal time being devoted to each. Grammar and vocabulary are thoroughly integrated into the reading and writing components. Course content includes general and technical articles, memorandums, letters, electronic communication, directions, work-related forms, and short report.
NENG-213
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This is the second course in a two-course sequence. It is designed to advance and refine reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills that students need for AOS course work and for the work environment. The reading and writing components are thoroughly integrated with approximately equal time being devoted to each. Grammar and vocabulary are thoroughly integrated into the reading and writing components. Course content includes general and technical articles, memorandums, letters, electronic communication, directions, work-related forms, and short reports.
NENG-221
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This is the first course in a four-course intensive English sequence. In this course, selected shorter readings give students the opportunity to strengthen their reading comprehension skills and world knowledge. Readings will include nonfiction, fiction, and theme-based articles from library databases. The readings also serve as prompts for writing at both the paragraph and essay levels. While developing their expository writing skills, students learn to recognize and apply the traditional rhetorical modes used in writing. Students also will develop skills in summary writing. Other components of the course include grammar and vocabulary instruction, along with editing and proofreading strategies. Vocabulary is taught both incidentally as it appears in readings and formally using a vocabulary text. The readings follow a specific theme and also will serve as models for examining style, organization and grammar. In order to continue their reading and writing skill development in Bridge to College English I (NENG-231) and Bridge to College English II (NENG-232), students must complete this course and co-requisite Analytical Reading and Writing II (NENG-222) with grades of “C-” or better. (NTID Reading Test score 98-124 and NTID Writing Test score 50-59, or by department permission.
NENG-222
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This second course in the four-course intensive English sequence continues to strengthen students’ reading comprehension skills and world knowledge, with an added emphasis on critical reading, thinking, and writing. Readings will include nonfiction, fiction, and theme-based articles from library databases. Students identify and examine an author’s purpose and tone, bias, assumptions, opinions, facts, examples, evidence, patterns of organization, and audience. Students also develop inference and deduction skills while learning to recognize and avoid overgeneralization and oversimplification in their writing. This course, which follows a specific theme, includes a short novel or novelette— fiction or non-fiction—as part of the required reading. In order to continue their reading and writing skill development in Bridge to College English(NENG-231) and Bridge to College English(NENG-232) students must complete this course and co-requisite Analytical Reading and Writing I (NENG-221) with grades of “C-” or better. (NTID Reading Test score 98-124 and NTID Writing Test score 50-59; or by department permission.
NENG-231
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This is the first of two Bridge to College courses that also serve as the final two courses in the four-course intensive English sequence. This course exposes students to a variety of reading material, including nonfiction, fiction, and theme-based articles from library databases. It includes a reading of a full-length novel, either fiction or non-fiction, and it offers strategies for reading comprehension and interpretation beyond prior courses where applicable. Students will engage in a variety of writing activities related to the readings. Vocabulary is taught both incidentally as it appears in readings and formally using a vocabulary text. In order to qualify for testing and placement in Written Communication (NENG-241), Critical Reading and Writing (UWRT-100) or First Year Writing: Writing Seminar (UWRT-150) students must complete this course and co-requisite Bridge to College English II (NENG-232) with grades of “C-” or better. (NENG-221 and NENG-222 with grades of C- or better, or NTID Reading Test score 125-144 and NTID Writing Test score 60 or greater.
NENG-232
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This is the second of two designated Bridge to College English courses that also serve as the final two courses in the four-course intensive English sequence: This course provides advanced instruction on expository writing with a focus on refining writing skills introduced in earlier courses where applicable. This course also provides instruction on responding to multiple-part writing prompts. Students taking this as a stand-alone course will use readings from textbooks and online and database sources as the basis for their writing. The course provides further instruction in integrating sources into writing. Some writing assignments may be managed through journal entries. In order to qualify for testing and placement in Written Communication (NENG-241), Critical Reading and Writing (UWRT-100) or First Year Writing: Writing Seminar (UWRT-150) students must complete this course and co-requisite Bridge to College English I (NENG-231) with grades of “C-” or better. (NENG-221 and NENG-222 with grades of C- or better or NTID Reading Test score 136-144 and NTID Writing Test score 60 or greater) .
NENG-241
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Written Communication is a composition course that enhances students reading, writing, and critical thinking skills in preparation for Critical Reading and Writing (UWRT-100) and First Year Writing: Writing Seminar (UWRT-150). The course engages students in the deliberate practice of writing and learning when and how to apply specific expository modes in academic essays. While strengthening their reading comprehension, students begin to develop an understanding of how writers use rhetorical strategies to reach a particular audience and achieve their intended purpose in writing. Students also identify and analyze thesis statements and distinguish between main points and supporting details. Students write summaries and analyses of the readings along with well-developed expository essays using a combination of rhetorical modes such as definition, classification, comparison and contrast, and cause and effect. The course also emphasizes strategies for the appropriate incorporation of material summarized, quoted, and paraphrased from various sources as well as the protocol of documentation. Students revise in substantive ways with the assistance of required teacher conferences and Institute-supported tutorial services as they continue the process of becoming more independent writers. Students must complete this course with a grade of C- or better.
NENG-289
Lecture, Credits 1 - 6
The description for each Special Topics request will be specified in each course proposal.

English Tutoring

There are several locations where you can access English tutoring for assignments involving reading and writing. Faculty in the Department of Liberal Studies offer individual tutoring for students in their own courses. The department also offers general English tutoring through the NTID Learning Center (NLC).

In the NLC, faculty and peer tutors will work with you on your English course assignments, as well as your writing assignments in other NTID and RIT courses. A schedule of tutors’ hours is posted in the NLC. Contact Kathy Varone for more information.

Individual instruction is available in reading strategies if you take courses in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts. Contact Jeanne Yamonaco for more information.

If you take courses in RIT colleges other than NTID, you can also access English tutoring at the Writing Commons via RIT’s Academic Support Center (ASC). Contact Rachel Chaffee for more information. The center also provides individual instruction in reading strategies. Contact Enid Stevenson for more information.

The following guide explains where deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in associate, bachelor's, and graduate degree programs should go for support in improving their reading and writing.

  • Services provided by NTID are available to all students who are taking courses in NTID and the other colleges of RIT.
  • Services provided by the Academic Support Center (ASC) are available to students taking courses in RIT colleges other than NTID.
  • In addition to reading and writing support, content support is provided by various departments as listed in the ASC tutoring website, under Tutoring Services at RIT.

Students should meet first with their professors and discuss the most appropriate support available. In some courses, professors provide tutoring for their own courses. In other cases, professors can advise students where to go for additional tutoring.

Two areas provide support for academic success with a focus on reading and writing:

A) The Department of Liberal Studies provides peer and adjunct faculty tutors in the NTID Learning Center (NLC) for all students enrolled in NTID and RIT programs. Tutors work with students on their assignments in the reading and writing courses at NTID as well as provide reading and writing support for all courses throughout the rest of RIT. Both peer and adjunct faculty tutors are skilled in sign communication and English.

  • Hours are posted on the website.
  • Location: Johnson 60-2450
  • Contact: Regarding Faculty Tutors, contact Kathy Varone. Regarding Peer Tutors, contact Patricia Kenney.
  • The Department of Liberal Studies also provides a tutor for college reading strategies. Contact: Jeanne Yamonaco, 60-2236, x5-6850

B) If students take courses in RIT colleges other than NTID, they can access English assistance at the Writing Commons via RIT’s Academic Support Center (ASC). It is staffed by faculty and adjunct instructors some of whom are skilled in sign communication. Hours are posted on the website.

  • Location: Wallace Center-1650
  • Contact: Rachel Chaffee, x5-2823
  • The ASC also provides diagnostic reading evaluations and consultations. If you take courses in RIT colleges other than NTID, you can access reading assessments at the Academic Support Center (ASC). 

Frequently Asked Questions

As a student in an NTID program of study, you must take at least two English tests when you enter, the NTID Writing Test and the NTID Reading Test. Your English scores are based on performance on these two tests. These scores are used to place you in the NTID English curriculum. For more information about English scores, please refer to the Department of Liberal Studies Handbook, under "Initial Course Placement." This flowchart explains where students will be placed in the English sequence, based on their NTID Reading Test and NTID Writing Test scores.

Your placement in English courses at RIT/NTID depends on what scores you get on the English tests you take when you first arrive here. The English curriculum at RIT/NTID is divided into two parts. If you have very strong English skills, you begin your coursework in the writing sequence in the College of Liberal Arts. If you have weaker English skills, you are placed in developmental courses designed for four different levels of ability (Levels A-D).

For more information, please look in the Department of Liberal Studies Handbook under "Curriculum Framework," "Initial Course Placement," and "English in the College of Liberal Arts." You can see where your scores will place you by looking at the chart of English courses.

Grades in English courses are assigned just like in other courses at RIT/NTID. The most common grades include A-D, W (withdraw), and I (incomplete).

It is very important to understand that the English curriculum at RIT/NTID is mastery-based. That means that in order to pass any English course with a satisfactory grade, you must demonstrate competence in all or most learning objectives for that course. In other words, English course grades are assigned to give an accurate reflection of your achievement. According to a review of recent grading patterns in NTID English Academic Writing and Nonfiction Reading courses, 25-30% of students earn "A" or "B", 40-45% earn "C", and 25-30% earn "D", "F" or "W."

According to the Department of Liberal Studies Handbook: 

"A" means that there is a strong reason to believe that the student will perform satisfactorily in the next course in the strand. "B" means that there is fairly good reason to believe that the student will perform satisfactorily in the next course in the strand. "C" means that there is some question that the student will perform satisfactorily in the next course in the strand. "D" means that it is doubtful that the student will perform satisfactorily in the next course in the strand. Students who earn a "D" grade are advised to repeat the course. "F" means that the student has failed the course and must repeat it to progress in the curriculum.

If you have already passed English Composition, or its equivalent, at another college you should check with the Liberal Arts Support office (tel: 585-475-6849; larnge@rit.edu) for policies concerning transfer credit. This flowchart shows you the process by which RIT decides whether to accept your credits from another college.

Depending on your performance on the NTID Writing Test and the NTID Reading Test, you may also be required to take the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (the "Michigan"). Performance on all three tests determines access to a fourth test, the Liberal Arts Placement Test (LAPT), which is used to place you in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) writing sequence. 

If you are matriculated into an AOS degree program, you are required to successfully complete the three-course Career English sequence. If you are matriculated into an AAS, AS, or BS degree program, you are required to successfully complete courses in the CLA writing sequence as well as other CLA courses in the humanities and social sciences.

For advice on which English course to take next, please ask your current English instructor or your academic advisor.

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