The Global Leadership in Deaf-Centered Disability Inclusive DRR & Emergency Planning is an 18-credit graduate certificate program/undergraduate minor track developed to train professionals in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Emergency Planning (EP) principles and tools. The world’s first program to train professionals in deaf-centered disaster and emergency planning activities, program components emphasize direct community engagement to support capacity-building of communities’ own mitigation and resilience planning, resource development, advocacy, and other relevant skill-sets. Taught by an interdisciplinary faculty from Gallaudet University’s IDMA, Information Technology, Interpreting and Translation, Public Administration, Public Health, and Social Work programs, the program trains professionals to work in the growing fields of disaster and emergency management, especially those who want to contribute to community participatory approaches to understanding and planning for deaf community adaptation and resilience. The certificate program/minor track also emphasizes building DRR and EP activities from local community leadership, centering local cultures and languages in all aspects of DRR and EP design, planning, monitoring and evaluation, research, and advocacy. The program curriculum foregrounds biocultural and linguistic diversity in sustaining community safety and well-being, as demonstrated through content centered on information and communication prepared in local languages, community participatory needs assessment, community-centered project design and program development, policy formulation that advances intersectional cultural and linguistic rights, and intercultural/interlingual advocacy with government and non-governmental agencies and organizations.

To enroll in the undergraduate minor track, students must: 1) have a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or above; 2) be in or approaching the junior or senior year; 3) have completed at least 18 credits of introductory courses from the list of pre-approved STAMP and Social Work courses; 4) meet with their academic advisor and the certificate program administrator to develop a study plan.

All certificate program/minor track students will pay a fee of $1000 to cover travel, room, and board for the Summer Institute, coordinated by Education Abroad in a country where disaster planning activities are taking place.

Admissions Requirements

Undergraduate students interested in pursuing a minor track in Disaster and Emergency Planning within their undergraduate Public Health, Social Work or other undergraduate degree program, must demonstrate evidence of:

  • Current enrollment in a Gallaudet undergraduate program.
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.8 or above
  • Complete 18 credits of prerequisite courses from the list below and earn a “C” or better:
    • BIO-105 Human Biology
    • BIO-241 Ecology
    • PHI-450 Bioethics and the Deaf Community
    • PHS-202 Foundations of Environmental Health
    • PHS-203 Introduction to Personal and Community Health
    • PHS-204 Foundations in Global Health
    • SWK-203 Introduction to Social Work
    • SWK-304 Social Welfare Policy
    • SWK-307 Human Behavior and the Social Environment in Micro
    • SWK-308 Human Behavior and the Social Environment in Macro
    • SWK-318 Human Diversity
    • SWK-337 Case Management

Undergraduate students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor in their home program and the IDMA program director as early as possible to determine eligibility for the minor track.

To declare the DEP minor, interested students should:

  • Contact their Academic & Career Success Advisor (for undeclared students) or their Faculty Advisor (for declared students) and confirm readiness to declare the minor.
  • Contact the DEP program at to discuss the minor track application process, which includes the following:
    • A one-page written essay and a video in ASL responding to admission questions indicating the reason for your interest in pursuing a minor focused on Deaf leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction & Emergency Planning.
    • Copy of unofficial transcript.
    • One letter of recommendation.
    • Interview with DEP faculty.
    • Demonstrated proficiency in American Sign Language and English (via personal statement, ASL video, and interview).

Technology requirements and Computer Requirements/skills: A Mac or PC computer with access to the internet capable of running a most recent and updated web browser is necessary for participation in our online courses. The minimum operating system is Windows XP or higher for PC and MacOS 10.5 or higher for Mac. See Online Computer Requirements for more detailed information. Students are responsible for obtaining their own Internet access and are expected to have basic computer and internet literacy prior to the start of the course, including use of email, word processing programs, presentation programs (such as PowerPoint), and the internet to search.

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Summer I

Climate change and humanitarian disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe, demanding specialists prepared to engage in disaster risk reduction and emergency planning-related advocacy, capacity-building, research, and training across a range of fields and service sectors. 15% of the world population or 1 billion people is comprised of people with disabilities, and 70 million people are Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-plus. This course introduces students to Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) frameworks, core areas of practice in Deaf-centered DiDRR, and key concepts, international policies and guidelines, assessment tools, and DiDRR entities and networks. The course includes field visits with disaster and emergency services organizations, and provides opportunities for hand-on practice within each core practice area.
Credits: 3

Students must be admitted to the certificate program in order to participate in the course.

Distribution: Certificate, Graduate, Hybrid

Fall I

IDP 775 introduces students to the design, planning, and implementation of community development projects with Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing people, signed language communities, and people with disabilities with a focus on disaster and humanitarian contexts. Theoretical frameworks address the nature of social change in societies around the world, the interrelationship between inequitable social conditions and efforts such conditions, and the value of local constituencies’ involvement in shaping change. Students will develop essential skills for designing projects, as well as training in collaborative team-building and facilitation of projects that are sensitive to local communities’ viewpoints, social interests, and leadership in local and international development networks.


Current enrollment in the International Development Masters of Arts Program; or permission of instructor

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

This concentration course, taken in the second year, focuses on human behavior and the social environment of deaf and hard of hearing populations. The course looks at the complex interplay of psychosocial, system, and ecological forces in the life cycle development of individuals who experience deafness. The course explores forces of oppression and political and economic influences that impact the behavior, adaptation, and functioning of deaf and hard of hearing people.

Credits: 3

SWK 705 and SWK 706

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

Spring I

This course focuses on collaborative formulation, development and evaluation of programs working with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people and people with disabilities in disaster and humanitarian contexts. Exploring current philosophical, theoretical, and methodological stances related to collaborative program development, course activities demonstrate the salience of international human rights frameworks for sign language-centered leadership and disability rights, and connect these to bi- and multilateral organizational and funding channels now undergoing enhancement as a result of the United Nations introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using the latter as a foundation to identifying socioeconomic problems and barriers to self-determination, participation, and equity, students will design program proposals in response to an actual Request for Proposal (RFP). Work on peer teams, students will then submit an Evaluation Plan for an actual program. In addition to cultivating program development and evaluation skills, course activities provide students with opportunities to practice program management skills and grant-writing experience.


Permission of the instructor

Distribution: Graduate, Online, Masters

The course introduces students to ArcGIS Online, an online Geographic Information System (GIS) application from Esri. With GIS, the student can explore, visualize, and analyze data; create 2D maps and 3D scenes with several layers of data to visualize multiple data sets at once; and share work to an online portal. GIS analytics tools are used in many disciplines and fields of practice including public health, history, sociology, political science, business, biology, international development, and information technology. In the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to take additional training on GIS applications in their specific field of interest.

Credits: 3

Permission of instructor. This section is designed for Graduate students.

Distribution: Graduate

This course presents specialized content about social welfare policies affecting deaf and hard of hearing people and people with disabilities. These policies are discussed within the framework of analysis and evaluation to determine future directions for policy. The impact of the service delivery, funding, and organizational systems on the implementation of policy will be considered. The course will look at policies for people who are deaf-blind, developmentally disabled, and chronically mentally ill.

Credits: 3

SWK 711.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

Summer II

Climate change-related and humanitarian disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe, increasing the demand for specialists prepared to conduct research, training, and leadership across a range of fields and service sectors. This course is taught by an interdisciplinary faculty team, together with field-based deaf community and scientific organizational partners, to immerse students in settings where deaf community partners are committed to establishing Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Planning resources, mechanisms, and networks. The Summer Institute places heavy emphasis on practical skill-building and communication with collaborative partners in such activities as community-led situational analysis and capacity-building, DiDRR advocacy, and coalition-building with key disaster/emergency, science, and governmental entities. Fieldwork sites will be determined each year, depending on level of community interest, disaster impact, and safety of the sites under consideration, including international or domestic locations.
Credits: 3

Students must be admitted to the certificate program in order to participate in the course.

Distribution: Certificate, Graduate


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Minor in Global Leadership in Deaf-Centered DiDRR and Emergency Planning


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