International Special Students, Visiting Researchers, and Other Scholars

Welcome to Gallaudet University, and greetings from the Office of Research Support and International Affairs (RSIA)! RSIA is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to operate several programs that recruit individuals from around the world for educational purposes. Regardless of your goals, Gallaudet has a program in place that will provide you the tools you need to succeed.

Degree-seeking scholars:

Deaf and hard of hearing undergraduate students can choose from a wide variety of majors leading to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. Undergraduate students have the option of designing their own majors, called "self-directed majors," in which they select classes from a variety of departments at Gallaudet. All students may take courses offered at 13 other institutions of higher learning that are members of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Graduate programs, open to deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students, include master of arts or master of science degrees, specialist degrees, certificates, and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields involving professional services to deaf and hard of hearing people.

Non-degree seeking scholars:

The International Special Student Program (ISSP) is a tremendous learning experience designed for non-U.S. students who are not pursuing an academic degree at Gallaudet University. The one- or two-semester program is customized to meet the needs of each scholar.

The International Visiting Researcher Program (IVRP) was established to accommodate a limited number of professors, researchers, and other scholars who wish to use the facilities at Gallaudet University each academic year.

If you are looking to establish a solid foundation in English, the University's English Language Institute (ELI) provides an intensive English as a Second Language program for American and international deaf and hard of hearing students. Bilingual instruction in both American Sign Language and written English provides a multicultural environment for ELI students to achieve academic, professional, and personal language goals.

If you are interested in learning about upcoming proposed and planned international visiting groups, please go to our International Visitor Program (IVP) Alerts page.

Gallaudet's admissions requirements for English and American Sign Language (ASL)

Due to Gallaudet University's unique nature, every member of the campus community is encouraged to reach his or her potential in being bilingual in the visual modalities of ASL and written English. The University strives to accomplish this goal by creating a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment that fosters visual bilingual communication.

Because the vast majority of students at Gallaudet University rely on visual communication, the intent behind these guidelines is to help ensure that applicants can participate in effective and meaningful communication that promotes their success at the time they are admitted, and that they will avail themselves of University resources to reach proficiency in ASL and written English. Applicants to programs at Gallaudet are expected to embrace the use of written English and ASL, and to strive to continually improve their skill in the two languages.

Applicant's English language skills

Gallaudet will determine the skill level in English that it feels is appropriate to help ensure an applicant's academic success at the University. For undergraduates, these standards comply with ACT, and for graduates, they comply with the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL will accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students, such as waiving the spoken part of the test and having a sign language interpreter explain the instructions. Students must request the accommodations themselves. Go to the link for more information. If an applicant has difficulty in taking either of these tests, an alternative test may be acceptable, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), although any alternative must be approved by Gallaudet. The applicant should arrange to have the English test results provided to Gallaudet by the application deadline.  If the applicant has difficulty in taking either of these tests, an alternative test may be acceptable, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), although any alternative must be approved by Gallaudet. The applicant should arrange to have the English test results provided to Gallaudet by the application deadline.  

Applicant's American Sign Language skills

For undergraduate admissions, the University does not require an applicant to have a specific level of ASL competency prior to admission. Admitted students without prior knowledge of ASL are encouraged to participate in the JumpStart program, which acquaints them with ASL and learning in a visual environment, and/or take ASL classes online or in the first semester after being admitted to the University.

At the graduate level, applicants who seek to become special (non-degree) students are required to possess "working knowledge" of ASL, as interpreted by each department within the Graduate School and specified in the 2014-2015 University Catalog. Graduate applicants are referred for ASL skills evaluation that is based on their proposed area of study. If the applicant has prior sign language skills and has been evaluated after taking the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview test, the student must provide the results of the test; if not, department administrators will interview the applicant to determine his/her readiness to study at Gallaudet without classroom communication support.

Below you will find information for the contact person who will be assisting you through the application process. 

Undergraduate Programs Information:  

Your contact person: Tami Santimyer, Admissions Counselor
Department: Admissions Office
Website: Admissions for International Students

Graduate School Programs Information:

Your contact person: Wednesday Luria, Coordinator, Prospective Graduate Student Services
Department: Graduate Admissions
Website: Graduate Admissions

International Special Student and Visiting Researcher Programs:

Your contact person: Danilo Torres, International Liaison Specialist

Department: Research Support and International Affairs
Website: ISSP/IVRP Application

International Transfer Information:

Your contact person: Laura Willey-Saunders, Transfer/Articulation Coordinator
Department: Registrar's Office
Website: Transfer Credits

English Language Institute Information:

Your contact person: Ali Sanjabi, Coordinator of Operations
Department: English Language Institute
Website: English Language Institute

Please read through and follow the steps for admission below. Included are instructions on how to complete your application and forms. It is important that you read all the directions carefully. 

Step One: Application and Acceptance

Undergraduate Programs:

To apply to Gallaudet as an undergraduate student, you must complete the international application and all related documents. Use the Undergraduate application checklist to keep track of your progress. 

Graduate School Programs:

To apply to Gallaudet as a Graduate or Ph.D. student, you must complete an application form online only. Make sure that all documents and forms are completed using the Graduate student application checklist.

To apply for International Special Student and/or Visiting Researcher programs, you must complete an ISSP/IVRP application .

English Language Institute:

To apply to Gallaudet as an ELI student you must complete an application form. Make sure that all documents and forms are completed using the ELI application checklist.

Step Two:  Certification of Finances Form

Upon acceptance to Gallaudet University as an undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D. student, you are required to complete the 2015-2016 Certification of Finances Form for Undergraduate Students or the 2015-2016 Certification of Finances Form for Graduate or Ph.D. Students

The purpose of the Certification of Finances Form is to help Gallaudet University obtain complete and accurate information about the funds available to international applicants or admitted students who want to study in the United States.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations require that all international applicants or admitted students provide evidence of adequate financial support before they may obtain an I-20 Form (Step Three). You are required to submit BOTH the complete Certification of Finances Form and original, official financial documents that show you have sufficient funds to pay for university expenses including tuition, books, fees, supplies, insurance, and living expenses.  If your Certificate of Finances Form is not completed or received and approved, you will not receive the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form for F1).

Step Three: Form I-20

Once your Certification of Finances Form is completed, reviewed, and approved, International Student Services will send you an I-20, which will be needed for you to obtain a visa. A Form I-20 is an immigration document form that tells the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status.  It certifies that: 

1. You are or expect to be a "bona fide" student.

 2. You meet the admissions requirements.

 3. You will pursue a full course of study.

 4. You have sufficient funds to pay for university expenses including tuition, books, fees, supplies, insurance, and living expenses without working illegally or suffering from poverty.

Some international students do not need I-20 Forms. J-1 students need Form DS-2019 and should contact International Student Services. B Visitors and F-2 dependents must obtain an I-20 Form and apply for a change of status to F-1 student to pursue a course of study that is not vocational or recreational in nature. If you are in other non-immigrant status in the U.S., you don't need an I-20 Form.  Send photocopies of your current visa, passport, both sides of the I-94, and your immigration status with your application. Dependent children in E, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, R or S status need to change that status after their 21st birthday or if they marry. If you are a permanent resident, refugee or person with political asylum status, send copies of your immigration documents with your application. If you are transferring from a U.S. college or university, send photocopies of your current visa, passport, both sides of the I-94, and the Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (F-1) status with your application.

Step Four: SEVIS FEE

You are required to pay $200 for your SEVIS fee. Effective September 1, 2004, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires the collection of a one-time fee of $200 from certain international students and visiting scholars. The fee is required to cover operational costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  Students or exchange visitors who are issued an initial Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 on or after September 1, 2004 are responsible for paying this fee before going to their Embassy or Consulate.

Step Five: Student Visa

After receiving your acceptance letter from Gallaudet, you must apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country for the student visa. You will be responsible for making an appointment with a consulate at an Embassy nearest your place of residence after receiving the I-20 with the SEVIS so you can receive the F-1 student visa. The F-1 visa is the most often used visa by international students to study at an accredited U.S. college, university, or English language institute. Students on F-1 visas come to the United States for a full degree program.

It is important to remember that acceptance to Gallaudet University does not guarantee issuance of the student visa. The U.S. Consulate abroad will have the final decision to grant or deny the student visa. When meeting with a U.S. consulate abroard, you will be expected to present the Form I-20 with your SEVIS Fee receipt, your Gallaudet letter of acceptance, and proof of financial support.

Canadian students: A Canadian citizen does not need a visa for entering the United States as a student. At the border-crossing point, you will have to present your passport, the SEVIS Form I-20, your SEVIS receipt, your admission letter from Gallaudet University, and financial support documents to the U.S. Immigration Officer.

Financial Resources:

Gallaudet Scholarships

Please click on the link below to view the list of scholarships.

World Deaf Leadership Fund

Sasakawa Foundation International Scholarship Fund

Non-Gallaudet Scholarships for International Students

Fulbright Programs

CIEE Study Abroad

Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program

Canadian Students Only

StudentAid BC - British Columbia, Canada
Contact Person: Theresa Cownden
Website: StudentAid BC

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
- Ontario, Canada
Contact Person: Sherry Britton (TCU)
Website: Ontario Student Assistance Program
OSAP Application Guide

Note: For questions related to OSAP procedures and application forms, please contact:

  • Student Financial Assistance Branch, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, PO Box 4500, 189 Red River Road, 4th Floor, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6G9, or by phone, 8:30 a.m - 4:30 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, at: (807) 343-7260 or toll-free in North America: 1-877-OSAP-411 (1-877-672-7411).

Alternatively, the General Support Service (GSS) at the Canadian Hearing Society ( is available to support you with OSAP procedures and application forms. Go to the website to find the closest location to your home, then contact that regional office to access the GSS counselors for assistance with OSAP procedures and application forms.

Note: This information is provided as a guide only and is not considered a contract or binding by the University. We hope you will soon join our proud and strong community.

Best of luck!

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