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).

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:
    • Critical Reading & Writing (UWRT-100)
    • Writing Seminar (UWRT-150)
    • Science, Technology & Values (STSO-140)
    • Introduction to Visual Arts (FNRT-100)
    • U.S. History since 1945 (HIST-275)
    • Introduction to Psychology (PSYC-101)
    • Foundations of Sociology (SOCI-102)
    • Introduction to Criminal Justice (CRIM-110)
  • 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.

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 Arts. This program is available for qualified deaf and hard of hearing students.

Learn more about the Applied Liberal Arts AS program 

The NTID bachelor of science degree in community development and inclusive leadership is an innovative, interdisciplinary program in which students gain skills in leadership, interpersonal communication, research, and data management–all of which are needed by dynamic leaders at the helm of 21st century organizations. This is a multidisciplinary degree offered in partnership with Saunders College of Business, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Health Sciences and Technology, and the School of Individualized Study.

Learn more about the Community Development and Inclusive Leadership BS program 

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 the Pre-Baccalaureate Studies in Liberal Studies program 

Cultural and Creative Studies

English Sequences for Degree Programs

The NTID Department of Liberal Studies offers a program of coursework for students who are working toward an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree to develop their reading and writing skills. Learn more about the coursework.

Students who are pursuing associate of applied science, associate of science, and bachelor’s degrees need to complete the Directed Self Placement survey. DSP is a tool that provides students with information about curricular options and asks each student to self-select into one of two RIT first-year writing courses. Learn more.

DLS Tutoring Program

The Department of Liberal Studies Tutoring Program (DTP) provides an extensive network of tutoring support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. DTP offers a wide variety of peer and professional faculty tutors. Tutors work with students on their reading and writing assignments at NTID as well as provide reading and writing support for all courses throughout RIT. Both peer and professional faculty tutors are skilled in American Sign Language and English.

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.

Professional tutoring is provided by DLS faculty in the NTID Learning Center which is housed in the Lyndon Baines Johnson building. Tutoring support is available for all levels of literacy work, including reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and support for writing and reading assignments for all levels of English courses and RIT major courses. Please contact Professional English Tutoring Coordinator, Jeanne Yamonaco, at if you have questions or wish to schedule tutoring. For online tutoring, an appointment can be made at

Student peer tutors provide tutoring for NTID students enrolled in any degree program at NTID and RIT. Student tutors provide support for grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, and presentations. Tutoring can be online or in-person at the NTID Learning Center. If you have any questions or wish to schedule a tutor, please contact the English Peer Tutoring Coordinator, Patricia Kenney at For online tutoring, an appointment can be made at

Content tutoring for specific liberal courses offered by RIT’s College of Liberal Arts is provided by DLS faculty in ASL and English. Courses include but are not limited to courses in: 

  • History
  • Sociology
  • Public Policy
  • Political Science
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice
  • Literature
  • Research Methods 
  • Science Technology & Society
  • Anthropology 

In-person and online modes of tutoring are available. Please contact Pamela Conley at to arrange for tutoring support. 

RIT University Writing Program’s Writing Commons

The Writing Commons (WC) is staffed by a team of undergraduate, graduate, and faculty writing consultants with expertise in STEM and Humanities disciplines. If you take courses in RIT colleges other than NTID, you can also access writing tutoring at the WC.

RIT Academic Success Center

In addition to the DLS Tutoring Program, RIT’s Academic Success Center offers academic coaching, math and physics support, instructor-led academic coaching, and ASC courses and tutoring. Tutoring from ASC is available to deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degree programs. 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. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about ASC, please email ASC at

Dr. Tiffany Panko, Director
Location: Rosica Hall, NTID

The Deaf Studies Laboratory (DSL) investigates how stigma about deaf people has an impact on those individuals’ education, health, and careers.
Dr. Matthew Dye, Director
Location: Rosica Hall, NTID

The deaf x laboratory conducts research on behavioral change in the face of altered sensory input, exploring how deaf children and adults engage in adaptive behaviors that allow them to successfully navigate and thrive in multisensory environments. The lab uses EEG, eye tracking and behavioral studies to do this, and is funded by grants from the NIH and NSF.

The NTID Perception, Language & Attention in Youth (PLAY) Lab
Lab Director: Rain Bosworth, Ph.D. (
Location: Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) and Rosica Hall, NTID

Dr. Bosworth directs the newly established PLAY Lab, physically located at the Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD), situated within the heart of downtown Rochester. We also have on-campus laboratory space in Roscia Hall at the SPaCE Center at NTID. The Lab’s aim is to study early development of visual perception and attention in deaf and hearing infants and children, using cognitive, behavioral, and eye-tracking studies. We examine how early sensory experiences shape visual, cognitive, and language abilities later in life. For example, our research involves studying healthy premature infants, to determine whether their “additional” postnatal experience, as a result of being born early, accelerates their visual development. We also study how deafness and sign language experience impacts visual abilities. Currently studies are being done to uncover how infants recognize the difference between sign language and other non-language body actions like gestures, and how young deaf children navigate digital picture books with dynamic ASL videos. Students would be involved in designing infant studies, testing infants, analyzing data, and presenting at conferences. The laboratory is accepting inquiries for summer research internships.
Dr. Jessica Trussell and Thomastine Sarchet, Directors
Location: 50A-1030, NTID

The Center for Education Research Partnerships is charged with establishing and joining research partnerships concerning development and learning among deaf and hard-of-hearing students across the lifespan and in various educational settings. Primary activities include promotion of related collaboration among individuals, educational institutions, and organizations, both nationally and internationally. These and other activities, such as the hosting of workshops and discussion groups, collaborations in seeking extramural funding, and dissemination, focus on bridging research and practice to optimize educational opportunities and success for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. This notion of serving as a "collaboratory" and an "incubator" for new ideas lies at the heart of the Center.

The unique features of the Center include:

  • Emphasis on research partnerships
  • Consideration of learning in a variety of settings
  • Incubator for research ideas and grant proposals
  • Providing seed funding for collaborative activities
  • Supported by external funding

The ultimate goal of the Center is simply to change the world through better understanding and improving the education of deaf students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Depending on your placement tests, you will be beginning your college experience with English courses.

Please review this information for AOS, AAS, AS, and BS English sequences.

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). Learn more about the grading policy.

If you are matriculated into an AOS degree program, you are required to successfully complete the two-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 general education courses that fulfill elective, perspective and immersion requirements for students seeking associate or bachelor's degrees.

If you are matriculated into an AOS degree program, you are required to successfully complete the two-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 general education courses that fulfill elective, perspective and immersion requirements for students seeking associate or bachelor's degrees.

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

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