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School of Language, Education, and Culture

Arrow Buff


International Development | Government | Economics & Finance | M.A. in International Development


Dr. Audrey C. Cooper, Program Director 

The International Development Master of Arts Degree Program (IDMA) prepares students to advocate, design, implement, monitor and evaluate social change activities in collaboration with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing people, and people with disabilities, at local, national, and international levels. IDMA coursework provides practical experience examining legal and social policy frameworks, political and economic conditions, sociocultural and language-centered values and rights, and other features of contemporary life that contribute to or impede social participation and social justice, with an emphasis on: i) theories, methods, and strategies of Deaf-led international development; ii) examination of micro- and macropolitical issues of development, especially institutional structures and forces impacting development processes (e.g., class, gender, language, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality); iii) collaborative project and program design—especially barriers and opportunities related to signed language usage, rights and policies; iv) participatory project and program models, sustainability models, and monitoring and evaluation practices that build on signed languages as human assets and other available human resources; v) supervised practicum and internship experiences in federal agencies, international non-governmental organizations, community-based non- and for-profit international development organizations; vi) experience with qualitative and quantitative approaches to conducting and reporting research. Through these activities, students gain a strong grounding in a broad and diverse range of leadership activities carried out by Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people, and people with disabilities and tools for addressing inequalities in diverse social and political-economic contexts. Upon graduation, IDMA graduates will possess the knowledge and expertise to: a) analyze a set of conditions; b) design and collaboratively implement policies and practices for improving quality of life within and across societies, especially with respect to signed language communities; c) evaluate the processes and outcomes of such activities; d) make recommendations to enhance project and program efficacy, advance policy reform, and engage in social justice advocacy related to emerging social concerns.

Admissions Procedures

Applicants for the M.A. in International Development must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions website for more information and a checklist of application requirements. The International Development program has additional application requirements which are the following:

  • A basic understanding of economics is necessary to complete coursework in economic development, micro- and macropolitics. Therefore, students must pass an introductory course in economics either prior to entering the IDMA Program or in the first semester of study.
  • Gallaudet University is a bilingual university with coursework and other campus activities conducted in ASL and English. Therefore, the IDMA requires demonstrated proficiency in academic ASL and academic English in order to graduate. ASL proficiency will be conducted via ASL Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) and must demonstrate level 2+ or above.
  • The ability to communicate across differing language and cultural ecologies is a distinguishing and expected skill of international development professionals. Therefore, ability in signing, reading and writing, another language is required for graduation. Students must achieve a grade B or above in one university or community-based language course with instruction in a language other than ASL or English.
  • Course lectures and other activities and events are conducted in academic ASL. Therefore, prospective IDMA applicants are required to demonstrate the ability to participate in discussions conducted in ASL in a classroom setting. Each applicant must provide videotaped responses to two provided by the IDMA program (related to graduate study and professional practice in the International Development field).
  • Three current letters of recommendation.
  • An interview with the Department
  • An English writing sample (e.g., graduate school goals statement, samples of academic or technical writing).
First Date for Consideration of Application: No Set Date
Last Date for Completed Application: No Set Date

Program Specific Requirements

A basic understanding of economics is necessary to complete coursework in Economic Development and Micropolitics. Therefore applicants must have passed an introductory course in economics.

The ability to communicate across cultures in more than one language is both a distinguishing and expected skill of the international development professional. Therefore, novice ability in reading and writing another language or willingness to obtain novice ability in the first year.

A videotaped response in American Sign Language to one of two questions asked by the department for review to demonstrate the ability to participate in discussion in a classroom setting.

Three current letters of recommendation

Interview with the Department

Available In:
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate