Gallaudet's Department of Linguistics is unique in its focus on both spoken and signed languages, particularly American Sign Language. The innovative research carried out by the linguistics faculty and students is advancing global knowledge of the structure and use of sign languages.

ASL is not only the subject of faculty and student research, but also the language of communication in the classroom.

Students in the department gain a broad understanding of language with a specialist's understanding of ASL. The master's program prepares students for work in fields such as language teaching, interpreter education, language planning, bilingual education and language assessment. Students who complete the M.A. program may apply to the department's Ph.D. program to pursue advanced studies in a range of theoretical and applied areas related to sign language.