American Sign Language at the Five Colleges

American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the fastest growing languages in U.S. higher education and is now the third most-commonly studied language behind French and Spanish.* The Five College Center for World Languages is proud to partner with the campuses to offer a complete ASL curriculum for Five College students. Students who complete the introductory and intermediate course sequence at UMass then apply to continue their studies through the Center's ASL program. 

The ASL course sequence is:

  • Introductory: I (fall and spring), II (spring) 
  • Intermediate: III (fall), IV (spring)
  • Advanced: Advanced A (fall), Advanced B (spring)

Fall 2020 Course Offerings


ASL I (UMass COMM-DIS 190A)

In fall 2020, two sections of ASL I are being offered by the UMass Amherst Department of Communication Disorders. Half of the seats are reserved for Five College (non-UMass) students.

Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30PM-3:45PM

Mondays and Wednesdays 4:00PM-5:15PM


ASL III (UMass COMM-DIS 290B)

In fall 2020, one section of ASL III is being offered by the UMass Amherst Department of Communication Disorders. Half of the seats are reserved for Five College (non-UMass) students.

Monday-Wednesday-Friday 1:25PM-2:15PM 


Advanced ASL A (UMass FORLANGC 197SF)

Advanced ASL A introduces students to ASL literature, including ASL poetry. Students will meet for a weekly 90-minute small group session with the language mentor. Students will be expected to devote an additional one hour a day to homework and individual practice. Students will also be encouraged to study in small groups and find ways to use the language informally through other channels.

Course mentor: Dana Hoover (MEd, Deaf Education, Boston University)

Online synchronous meeting time: Fridays 11:00AM-12:30PM

Prerequisite: ASL High Intermediate B or the equivalent.

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in a degree program at one of the Five Colleges and who meet the prerequisites can take the course. Continuing education students, community members, and Five College faculty/staff are not eligible to participate in the program.

To register: New students should submit a mentored course application. You will receive instructions on how to register after a program staff member has reviewed your application. ASL students do not need to complete the orientation tutorial. Continuing students do not need to submit a new application. Email fcmlp2@umass.edu with the language and level of course requested. 

Credits: As with all interchange classes, credit varies by campus. For a mentored half course, you will receive the equivalent of: 

  • Amherst: half course
  • Hampshire: half course
  • Mount Holyoke: 1.5 credits
  • Smith: 1.5 credits
  • UMass: 1.5 credits
    For UMass graduate students, courses will appear on student transcript but will not earn credit.

*Source: Dennis Looney and Natalia Lusin, "Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Summer 2016 and Fall 2016: Preliminary Report," Modern Language Association, 2018.