About ASL at FSU

The American Sign Language courses at Florida State University are offered by the School of Communication Science and Disorders (SCSD).  Therefore, CSD majors retain priority enrollment through the first day of classes.  Enrollment capacities are generally set to 25 students per course, but may fluctuate depending on a variety of factors including classroom space available and instructional delivery model (online vs. face-to-face).    If an ASL class has not filled by the close of registration, the SCSD may, at its discretion, allow non-CSD majors to fill those seats.  To assist in facilitating the process, an application system is utilized which prioritizes academic need.

Placement into the ASL Sequence Beyond ASL 1140 (“ASL 1”)

Based on national standards, the ASL courses offered by SCSD incorporate components of ASL grammar, Deaf culture, and implications for future careers which extend beyond language learning.  As such, skills-based placement is not currently offered.  Students wishing to enroll in the SCSD ASL courses must begin at level 1 (ASL 1140C – Beginning ASL), regardless of perceived skill level.  Only if ASL has been formally taken at another higher-education institution prior to entry at FSU, the syllabus and transcript may be submitted for review and potential placement.  (Please allow two weeks.)

Upon receiving a placement, it is important to understand that the process to apply for entry is the same.  Non-CSD majors must complete the application and wait for a seat to become available, which is not guaranteed.  If a seat becomes available, the instructor will email the student notification of acceptance into the course.  All students will be responsible for ensuring their schedule is able to accommodate the ASL course at the time of acceptance (i.e. no time conflicts between sections) and that their account is free from any holds, which could otherwise forfeit the available spot.

Students are highly discouraged from attempting to start the ASL sequence at another institution with hopes of completing it at FSU.  It is relatively rare that a seat becomes available in the upper-level ASL classes.  Students have the highest chance of being able to complete the courses consecutively by entering at level 1.  Still, there is no guarantee that a seat will become or remain available.  As such, it can be risky for non-CSD majors to attempt to utilize ASL courses to fulfill their foreign language requirements.

Testing Out of ASL and Obtaining a Foreign Language Waiver

Students who have extensive experience using ASL may wish to opt out of the classes altogether by obtaining a foreign language waiver.  The School of Communication Science and Disorders (SCSD) is the only location on campus from which a waiver in ASL can be obtained.  The ASL instructor does not provide skills-based testing in any circumstances.  To ensure consistency in issuing such waivers, an externally validated and administered assessment system is used, the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI).  This assessment is not administered on campus.  Students must register and pay to take the assessment at one of the national testing locations or remotely via videophone.

To obtain a foreign language waiver for ASL, a student must demonstrate fluency at an “Intermediate Plus” level as determined by the SLPI.  This level indicates conversational skills in many contexts, as would be expected upon completion of the Advanced American Sign Language course.  It is important to understand the challenges of obtaining this score without extensive ASL instruction or native language use.  If this is an option you are interested in pursuing, complete the following steps: