ASL Home

Welcome to Berkeley City College’s American Sign Language Program. Berkeley City College is a national leader in American Sign Language education, curriculum development, and instruction. Colleges and universities throughout America, Canada, Great Britain, and other parts of the world use or have adapted Berkeley City College’s model curriculum to teach sign language.
Now, more than ever, people are learning ASL, a foreign language elective in California high schools and universities. Public and private sector organizations, in their efforts to conform with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), now wish to train bilingual employees. This means that at worksites which employ or serve Deaf people, designated staff must know ASL.

Who takes ASL classes?

  • Actors
  • Attorneys and legal assistants
  • Career interpreters
  • Counselors
  • Family and friends of deaf people
  • Interested parties
  • Linguists
  • Managers
  • Nurses, physicians, and other health professionals
  • People who have supervisory responsibilities
  • Public service employees
  • Recreation directors
  • Secretaries
  • Small business owners
  • Teachers

It’s easy to start

At Berkeley City College, we make it easy for you to learn. Classes and language lessons are organized around activities which simulate everyday situations. You will be happily surprised with your ability to communicate after a very short time. As part of your classes, you:

  • Fully experience a new culture.
  • Apply what you learn to everyday situations.
  • Meet and interact with members of the deaf community.
  • Participate in community events.

Berkeley City College’s American Sign Language faculty are qualified professionals. Most learned ASL as their first language and are employed as instructors or interpreters. You will use the language from your very first day in class.

Previous ASL Experience (Assessment/ Screening)

Have you taken American Sign Language classes somewhere else? Do you know some sign language already and do not know which Berkeley City College ASL class is appropriate for you to take? Schedule a screening with an ASL Instructor. They will meet with you (in-person or online), briefly assess your skills and let you know which class is the best fit. To schedule a screening appointment, please contact ASL Staff Assistant, Vanessa Phillip at

American Sign Language Program
…Seeing You Reach Your Goals.

American Sign Language Programs

Berkeley City College’s ASL Program enables students to acquire the communicative competence in ASL and the cultural sensitivity needed to interact successfully with members of the American Deaf community. American Sign Language (ASL) is the fourth most used language in the United States. It is the major language that the American Deaf population uses.
Students who will benefit from this program include the following: those who wish to expand their language skills and cultural knowledge to enhance other majors (e.g., interpreting, education, social work, and psychology); those who need to fulfill a university foreign language requirement; parents of deaf children; and deafened adults. Students will develop skills which will also make them more marketable to potential employers who encounter the Deaf.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the program will be
able to:

  • Demonstrate expressive competence in ASL.
  • Demonstrate receptive competence in ASL.
  • Demonstrate awareness of and respect for the language, history and culture of Deaf people, including their values, beliefs, and customs.
  • Demonstrate appropriate cultural behavior at events where a majority of attendees are 56 Deaf people and ASL native signers, e.g. school, club, organization, etc.

More opportunity

Knowledge of ASL provides new skill-building opportunities for any organization’s staff. No matter what your occupation, you may be eligible for bilingual pay if you use American Sign Language at your workplace. Professional opportunities exist for:

  • Bilingual Staff
  • Interpreters
  • Instructional Aides
  • Supervisory Personnel
  • Teachers

American Sign Language Associate in Arts
Degree and Certificate Programs Berkeley City College’s American Sign Language Program offers either the degree or certificate option

  • American Sign Language I (ASL 50) 4 Units
  • American Sign Language II (ASL 51) 4 Units
  • American Sign Language III (ASL 52) 4 Units
  • American Sign Language IV (ASL 53) 4 Units
  • History and Culture of Deaf People in America I (ASL 55A) 3 Units
  • History and Culture of Deaf People In America II (ASL 55B) 3 Units
  • Structure of American Sign Language (ASL 57) 3 Units
  • American Sign Language Classifiers II (ASL 200B) 2 Units
  • Fingerspelling and Numbers II (ASL 202B) 1 Units
  • Occupational Work Experience in ASL (ASL 464A) 2 Units

Total units for Certificate of Achievement 30.  Total units for the Associate in Arts Degree 60. (For the associate degree, you must complete another 30 units of general education requirements for a total of 60 units.)
You may finish your Associate in Arts Degree or a Certificate in American Sign Language in two years.

Academic credit

Core general education classes for the Associate Degree meet all University of California and California State University transfer requirements. ASL classes are transferable as part of General Education transfer requirements.
They also meet foreign language transfer requirements for high school students. See a counselor for details.

Class times fit your schedule

Our morning, afternoon, and evening classes fit your busy schedule. Most ASL classes are held at Berkeley City College’s 2050 Center St. campus in downtown Berkeley.

Where to get more information

Stop by Berkeley City College to register or see a counselor. We’re at 2050 Center St. between Shattuck & Milvia in downtown Berkeley.  Access the college’s main homepage at or at or call (510) 981-2800.

How to reach Berkeley City College

  • By car, take I-80 to University Ave. exit, drive east on University to Shattuck Ave. Right turn on Shattuck and Center Streets. Parking is available on the street or in various garages.
  • By train, take BART to the Downtown Berkeley station. Exit the station through the escalator. Berkeley City College is half a block west of the Center St./Shattuck Ave. exit.
  • By bus, take AC TransitCall 511, visit the AC Transit Trip Planner page at  for the route nearest you or visit the homepage, 

Berkeley City College
2050 Center St.
(between Shattuck Ave. & Milvia St.)

Department Chairperson:
Dr. Jenny Gough – 

(510) 981-2870 General ASL Dept. Support

Note: Berkeley City College’s ASL courses teach the language and culture only; they are not meant to prepare for the interpreter’s certification.