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Health Care Interpretation MS degree

Kathleen Miraglia, Program Director
(585) 475-5441 (voice),

Program overview

The master of science in health care interpretation is designed to meet the demand for nationally-certified sign language interpreters who wish to work in health care environments.

Health care interpreters work in various health care settings where hearing people and deaf or hard-of-hearing people need to interact and communicate. Interpreters may assist deaf patients and their families in understanding medical testing, treatments, and diagnoses; facilitate communication for deaf health care professionals with colleagues and patients; and/or provide interpretation for deaf individuals who are enrolled in health care-related degree programs or training courses designed to educate and prepare them for careers in health care-related professions. This unique program also prepares interpreters to work in administrative roles ensuring language access to patients in hospital settings. Successful completion of this program could lead to employment as a sign language health care interpreter and/or a language access coordinator of sign and spoken language interpreting services in one of the most important new fields of health care.

The program may be completed on a full- or part-time basis.


Health care interpretation, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
HCIA-705 Professional Seminar (summer) 3
HCIA-715 Human Body Systems/Diseases I (summer) 3
HCIA-719 Theories of Translation and Interpretation (summer) 3
HCIA-720 Health Care Practical Interpreting I 3
HCIA-730 Human Body Systems/Diseases II 3
HLTH-700 Research Methods 3
HCIA-740 Health Care Practical Interpreting II 3
HLTH-710 Health Care Governance and Economics 3
HLTH-723 Human Resources in Health Care 3
Second Year
HCIA-750 Health Care Interpreting Within a Diverse Deaf Community (summer) 3
HCIA-770 Capstone Professional Project or Research Paper (summer) 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 33


Admission requirements

Students applying to the MSHCI program need to submit:

  • A complete graduate application.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae, which should include details about your education, employment and internship history.
  • Enrollment in the MSHCI program is open to students residing in the United States and other countries. Current national ASL/English certification or state licensure is required. Applicants must email a copy of their credentials to
  • Official copy of transcript(s) of all previously completed undergraduate work and graduate course work. Acceptance to the program requires proof of completion of a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above (or superior endorsement) from an accredited college or university.
  • Two letters of reference from individuals who have had the opportunity to observe your interpreting work.
  • Personal statement describing your educational objectives. You may wish to address: (1) why you are applying for the program, (2) how your degree program will relate to your long-range career objectives, (3) what personal or "non-academic" qualities you will contribute to the learning environment in your program, (4) what prior experience you have with respect to your chosen program, and (5) specificially why you want to attend RIT.
  • An ASL interpretation sample.
  • Deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants also must submit an audiogram. 

Applicants accepted into the program are required to complete a self-paced online course in medical terminology called "Language of Medicine" prior to the beginning of the summer session that starts in June each year.