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ASL / English Interpreting FAQs

  • May I start at UNF as a freshman and declare a major in Interpreting?

    Yes. You may come to UNF as a Freshman and begin taking courses identified as pre-requisite and core requirements and be admitted to the major after your sophmore year and successfully passing the Specialized Admissions Screening. You may also transfer to UNF and join the program.

  • What does the program cost?

    See the UNF tuition chart.

  • Can I work and go to school at the same time?

    This section serves as a program disclaimer regarding students who work as interpreters while still in training. UNF's Interpreter Education Program (IEP) recognizes that many, if not all, students must have outside employment to afford the expense of attending school and managing their household expenses. However, we do not support or condone students working unsupervised as interpreters while they are still in school and before they obtain national certification. While some school districts, agencies, and private entities will hire students to work as interpreters without the mentorship of certified interpreters, the IEP strongly discourages this practice.

    Two of the most common venues where pre-certified people are used include education and medical settings. The volatility of healthcare interpreting should cause students to be extremely cautious when accepting any employment in this setting, no matter how harmless an appointment may appear at the onset. Medical interpreting quickly transforms into legal interpreting, according to Sharon Caserta, SC:L Esq., of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (see Wessling & Shaw, 2014 about specialized interpreter preparation and Caserta's caveat to interpreters and referral agencies). Those who perform interpreting tasks without evidence of qualification are liable for the outcomes and may be called to justify their actions and verify qualifications in court.

    Educational settings are critical for making long-term impact on the Deaf community. Oftentimes, classroom interpreters are the only language models for children during critical development stages in language, science, and mathematics. Unqualified signers who put themselves in the role of interpreters, regardless of the setting, share the responsibility for the outcomes, and the IEP, in an effort to protect you and the Deaf community from undesirable outcomes, requests that you decline offers to work as interpreters (without supervision) while you are in the program.

  • How long will it take me to complete the program?

    If you have completed a prior two-year degree in interpreting and transfer to UNF, you can complete the program in two years. However, this time frame may be extended if you do not attend full-time or must repeat courses in which you did not meet the learning outcomes needed to proceed to the next course. The curriculum is designed to be completed in five semesters (Fall I, Spring I, Summer 1, Fall II, Spring II). The program consists of 48 upper-division hours.

    If you are a full-time student in the Community Interpreting concentration and you start at UNF as a Freshman, you can complete the program in four years. The program has a total of 120 hours, the recommended maximum for Bachelor's degrees in Florida.

  • Can I attend part-time?

    Yes, but courses are offered only once a year. If you must attend part-time, ask your Program Advisor or the Program Director to advise you on which courses you should take to make sure you meet the prerequisites each semester.

  • Can I attend if I live outside of Florida?

    Yes, but…the first two years (which include the pre-requisite and core requirement courses) of the program currently delivered primarily on site at UNF. The upper 48 hours (last two years) are offered via blended delivery with one weekend per month on our campus. If you live out of state, but you will need to attend the monthly onsite classes and pay out-of-state tuition. If you start the program as an out-of-state student, that tuition designation continues throughout the program. Residency is established if you live in Florida for one year without attending school. Contact One Stop Student Services for additional information about residency.

  • Can I start the AS to BS program in the spring semester?

    Yes and No. On occasion, we have admitted students at the spring semester, but this does not speed up the time in the program. It means limiting spring registration to 6 hours because the prerequisites for the other 6 have not been met. Fall admission is recommended.

  • How is the program delivered?

    Since 2013, the last two years have been delivered as hybrid, or blended, classes. This means students attend class in Jacksonville one weekend a month and the rest of the coursework is online. Depending on the course content, the amount of face-to-face class time is carefully determined using a formula. Classes that are primarily skills-based have a larger segment of the course face-to-face (e.g., Advanced ASL Proficiency, Advanced ASL Classifiers for Interpreters, Interpreting Simultaneous Monologue), while courses that are knowledge or practice-based are at least 80% online (e.g., Ethical Decision-Making, Research in Interpreting).

  • Is the B.S. program offered online?

    The program's final two years (which is what you would transfer into if you have a prior degree in interpreting) is a distance-friendly program. Students do not have to relocate to Jacksonville if they are willing to attend four weekend classes a semester (Friday evening, all day Saturday, half day Sunday). These weekends are mandatory components of the courses that are heavily based on ASL and interpreting skills. Missing a weekend can result in failing a course, so the commitment to participate in the program requires an obligation to attend onsite classes.

    Students who reside in Jacksonville have access to the program's faculty on a daily basis, group study sessions, one-on-one mentorships, and frequent interaction in the Deaf community. Students who do not reside in Jacksonville have access to faculty via distance technologies and may participate in virtual class sessions on their own time, as most sessions are recorded. If a class includes sessions that require online participation of all students at the same time (called synchronous class sessions,) these times will be announced in the course schedule prior to enrollment.

  • Why did you change the program to a hybrid program?

    We used to be an onsite program (2007-2013), but we could not serve students who lived outside the Jacksonville area and were unable to relocate. We conducted a needs assessment of prospective students, and an overwhelming majority preferred a program they could manage while working and living outside of Jacksonville. We can meet the needs of many more interpreters who want the BS degree and national certification if we adjust our delivery mode.

  • Will I be learning the same thing I learned in my associate-level program?

    No. One of the purposes of an effective AS to BS transfer model is to avoid duplication of course content and materials. During its developmental stages, UNF researched associate-level programs in Florida and confirmed with their program leaders that our courses do not duplicate other programs' courses. We have worked to develop a curriculum that is challenging to graduates of all associate-level programs in the state. Any duplication of content within our unique courses is intended to reinforce previously introduced concepts.

  • Will the program prepare me for national certification?

    Yes. The primary purpose of creating the BS degree in 2007 was to prepare for RID's requirement to have an undergraduate degree prior to certification testing. Transfer students should take the NIC Written Examination after completing their interpreting programs, as UNF does not re-teach this information in its upper-level courses. The NIC Written Exam must be passed prior to taking the capstone course,Practicum and Portfolio Presentation (Internship).Our goal is to prepare you to pass the NIC Interview and Performance Examination.

  • What written English competency does the program expect?

    English is one of the interpreter's working languages. Therefore, the program has a high standard for mastering written and spoken English and requires the use of Academic English (and Academic ASL) in all course requirements. Most program courses incorporate analytical writing skills. There are two primary evaluations of written English competency in the forms of an ethnography and literature review.

  • Will there be a track designed for Deaf interpreters?

    Deaf interpreters who have completed an AA degree, are interested in completing a BS degree, and wish to achieve CDI certification, should contact the program and let us determine how to assist you in achieving your goal. Deaf interpreters who do not have a prior associate's degree can start from the beginning of the Community Interpreting concentration.

  • Do you recommend students get involved with the Deaf community?

    Yes! Even after graduation and throughout your career, involvement as an ally in the Deaf community is necessary and expected.

  • What are the entrance requirements?

    Admission to the MS Degree, General Practitioner concentration admits pre-certified interpreters and requires a minimum of an AS/AA degree in Interpreting (in addition to a BS or BA degree), OR a Bachelor's degree in a related field plus national certification AND permission of program director. AS/AA degrees will be evaluated on an individual basis to make sure they contain the necessary foundational coursework.

    Admission to the MS Degree, Interpreting Pedagogy concentration requires national certification in addition to a BA/BS degree in a related field.

  • How are the courses delivered? Do I have to live in Jacksonville?

    Both concentrations in the MS degree program are offered in delivery modes that allow students to live at a distance. The program is designed for students who are not local and is delivered using technologies such as Zoom, GoREACT, and YouTube.

  • How long will it take to complete the program?

    Both graduate programs are offered in a 5 semester sequence. The General Practitioner program admits in the Fall and Spring semesters and each entering group of students will join the current students in the course sequence. Two courses are offered per semester, so assuming you take both courses each semester you will finish in 5 semesters. The Pedagogy program also offers two courses per semester and admits either in the summer or the Fall depending on the year.


  • What do I have to make on the GRE to be admitted to the program?

    Currently, the GRE is not required for admissions.

  • Who should write my reference letters?

    The two letters of reference should come from professional interpreters, agency heads, or colleagues who can speak to your ability to study successfully in graduate school. The letters should be on letterhead, addressed to Dr. Len Roberson, Program Director, and submitted to the Graduate School along with your other application materials.

  • How many hours may I transfer into the program?

    You may transfer up to 6 hours of graduate credit into your Program of Study; however, these must be approved by Dr. Roberson, the program director.

  • What if I live out of state?

    In-state tuition may be available within the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) area (AL, AR, DE, GA, KY, LA, MS, OK, SC, TN, TX, WVA) if you qualify for Academic Common Market (ACM) in a participating state. Following program admission, please visit the SREB website to initiate an application with your state's ACM representative.. For those students attending from outside of this region, UNF offers a reduced tuition and fee rate for qualifying states. Some states do not permit their residents to attend distance-delivered programs out of state. For the most up-to-date information about your state's agreement to participate with UNF in offering this degree program, please visit the state listing webpage.

    First, you need to be admitted to UNF. Then, you will receive an e-mail admission letter that you can forward to ACM. Be sure to apply early to UNF so that you have time to process your ACM before you enroll.

  • What is the philosophy on which your program is based?

    Our philosophy is that students will flourish when provided with an experiential, service-learning environment that encourages alliance with Deaf community partners and an evidence-based curriculum that is in accordance with current spoken and signed language research. We recognize the importance of faculty members being actively engaged in applied interpreting research and encouraging students to become consumers of research to inform their skill development. One-on-one mentorship, strong peer support networks, and a spiraling curriculum that builds upon previously developed interpreting skills to achieve mastery are the foundations of our program. We believe in emphasizing Academic Language (ASL and written and spoken English) within the program and hold high expectations for our students' continued progress toward national certification. First and foremost, the curricular and extracurricular aspects of our program emphasize a sociolinguistic perspective of Deaf and hearing communities through advanced ASL skill development, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skill acquisition, and linguistic-cultural competency.

  • Who should I contact for more information?

    Admission questions may be directed to the Graduate School.

    Send Program questions to