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Ph.D. in Translation and Interpreting Studies


Dr. Danielle Hunt, Program Coordinator 

The Department of Interpretation and Translation offers a Ph.D. in Translation and Interpreting Studies with a focus on American Sign Language-English Interpretation. This program is available for experienced interpreters who meet the University’s Graduate School and Department of Interpretation and Translation admission requirements. The program is designed to prepare future interpreter educators and researchers, who will provide exemplary leadership and scholarship in Translation and Interpreting Studies. The degree has a strong emphasis on research. A two-semester teaching residency completed on-campus is required, and a doctoral assistantship is required for the first 3 semesters of the program. Graduation from the MA:Combined Interpreting Practice and Research (MA:CIPR) or the MA:Interpreting Research (MA:IR) program at Gallaudet is encouraged. The program consists of two and a half years of coursework. Students advance to doctoral candidacy through an examination after one year of coursework and take a comprehensive examination after 37 credits. Students complete a data-based research project and write a qualifying paper, followed by a dissertation proposal. After defending their proposal, students undertake a dissertation study and receive the Ph.D. after the successful completion of a dissertation.

Admissions Procedures

Applicants for the Ph.D. in Interpretation 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.  

First Date for Consideration of Application: January 15
Last Date for Completed Application: February 15th or until all possible slots are filled. Students are accepted on a rolling basis.

Program Specific Requirements

  • MA in interpretation, translation or related field
  • A 15-20 page academic writing sample, or a 15-20 page essay, including references and citations (APA style) on the following: Please describe and assess three peer-reviewed articles or books in the field of Interpretation Studies that have shaped your thinking about the interpreting process and/or the role of the interpreter.
  • Three letters of reference – at least one letter documenting your experience in the field and your potential for doctoral-level graduate study
  • Evidence of professional certification as interpreter (RID NIC, CI/CT, CDI, or equivalent)
  • Minimum 3 years interpreting experience (five years strongly encouraged)
  • ASLPI score of 4 for ASL users and an ASLPI score of 3 or the passing of a Department Screening for international students

Program of Study

The doctoral curriculum consists of a minimum of 46 credits of coursework plus dissertation research.

All students must complete the following courses: INT 810 Interpreting Studies: Linguistic and Translation Dimensions, INT 812 Research Internship, INT 813 Research Internship, INT 820 Interpreting: Sociocultural Dimensions, INT 821 Interpreting Pedagogy I, INT 830 Interpreting Studies: Cognitive Psychological Dimensions, INT 831 Interpreting Pedagogy II, INT 832 Research Internship, INT 833 Research Internship, INT 841 Doctoral Teaching Internship I, and INT 842 Doctoral Teaching Internship II (INT 841 and INT 842 require residency on campus). INT 845 Guided Research Project, INT 850 Dissertation Proposal Writing, and INT 900 Dissertation Writing.

Doctoral Assistantship

For the doctoral assistantship, students will contribute to the Department of Interpretation and Translation with responsibilities including serving as teaching and/or research assistants for the first 3 semesters of the program.

Research Internship

For the research internship, students will work on all aspects of the research cycle with data-based interpreting research projects run by an experienced scholar or group of scholars. Students will also devote time to discussion of the internship with the instructor related to their research experiences, focusing both on the process and product of their work, in either independent meetings or a regularly scheduled seminar with other interns.

Teaching Internship

The teaching internship site will be in the Department of Interpretation and Translation at Gallaudet University; preparation for the teaching internship occurs in the two preceding courses in which students examine the Gallaudet curricula at the Undergraduate and Graduate levels (our department is the only institution to offer both levels of interpreter education), compare and contrast it with other curriculums, and observe and assist in teaching with department faculty in the BA and perhaps the MA courses. This prepares the student to teach independently within the department for their internship.

Candidacy Examination

After the first two semesters of coursework for full-time students, or 20 credit hours for part-time students, students must successfully complete a written examination designed to evaluate a student’s understanding, knowledge, and application of the approaches that underlie interpretation studies and pedagogical approaches. This examination will be in written English and requires a written response or a written translation of a signed response.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive examinations serve to assess that a doctoral student’s knowledge and understanding of Interpreting Studies (IS) is at a sufficiently high level to begin dissertation research. Upon completion of 37 credit hours, students must successfully present a demonstration in ASL of their theoretical and methodological knowledge of IS and their grasp of the fundamental studies and works in IS. Students will also create a presentation on pedagogy including curriculum and course development, evidence-based teaching practices, assessment practices, and the instruction of specific interpreting skills.

Qualifying Paper

Students are required to conduct a substantial data-based research project related to interpretation or translation, which results in a written qualifying paper. The process will be guided by a faculty advisor and will include conducting a review of relevant literature, writing a proposal (including IRB approval and/or small grants applications), collecting data, coding and analyzing data and creating drafts, which culminate in the completion of the final paper ready for submission to a journal.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense

Students will prepare a proposal which includes an introduction to the study and the research question(s), a preliminary review of the relevant literature, a detailed research plan including a description of the methodology and plan for analysis, working references, an outline of the dissertation, and a timeline. Once the dissertation advisor deems the proposal ready for review by the committee, the candidate distributes copies to the committee members. When the proposal is ready for a defense, the chair of the dissertation committee will schedule a formal defense, and will notify both the Department Chair and the Ph.D. Coordinator.

Dissertation and Defense

The dissertation is a professional product that not only represents the student’s level of achievement, but also the scholarship generated by the program, the department, and Gallaudet University. The dissertation chair and committee members work to ensure the project demonstrates original research that contributes to new knowledge and/or a reinterpretation of existing knowledge to the area of investigation. Students work closely with their chair, and occasionally with their committee members, throughout the proposal, research, and writing process.

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Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate