MADS - What about an international Master in Applied Deaf Studies?

The MADS project brings together seven universities from Europe and the UK with a view of setting up a new international joint Master programme in Applied Deaf Studies (MADS). The project is being led by HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. Folkhighschool Castberggård in Denmark is involved as non-academic partner. The project is funded by the Erasmus Mundus Design Measure, which falls under the Erasmus+ program. All the academics involved in the project are deaf, making it the largest deaf-led academic partnership ever.


The MADS aims to address three key gaps in the field of Deaf Studies:

  • Lack of available postgraduate study opportunities: despite significant advancements in Deaf Studies in recent years, there has been a lack of corresponding growth in postgraduate programs. There is currently no Master program in Deaf Studies available in the UK and Europe.
  • Lack of connection between research and practice: research findings in Deaf Studies should be applied to practical areas such as advocacy, teaching, research, and public services. Therefore, MADS is planned to be a program in Applied Deaf Studies, to equip students with skills for professional practice, ensuring that research findings contribute to real-world solutions.
  • Lack of access for deaf students to Deaf Studies programs: while the program will be open to all students, MADS specifically aims to recruit deaf students worldwide. Deaf students have traditionally faced more barriers and fewer opportunities to access higher education, particularly in Deaf Studies programs.

In April 2023, the MADS consortium organised a joint workshop with the Frontrunners students and teachers at Castberggård, to discuss curriculum development and set-up of a potential Master. Also in 2023, there will be workshops and presentations at the World Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf in Jeju, South Korea, and the International Deaf Academics and Researchers conference in Vienna, Austria. From 11-15 December we will organise an Applied Deaf Studies Taster Week in Ål, Norway. Come and join us! More information will be available soon.


At the end of the project, the aim is 

  • Have the universities been identified that will offer MADS.
  • A new, innovative integrated transnational study program has been developed.
  • Have a joint accreditation system and joint procedures for student application and admission been set up.


01 November 2022 - 31 January 2024


The current MADS project is carrying out a needs analysis among prospective students and among organisations in the professional practice field, with a view to curriculum development for the MADS.

Impact on education

This project fills a gap between Deaf Studies scholarship, which has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, and educational and professional applications of such scholarship. We want new findings from Deaf Studies to travel into education and into professions such as education, social services, interpreting and advocacy.



The research is co-funded by Erasmus Mundus Design Measure (Erasmus +).

MADS in pictures

HU researcher involved in the research

  • Maartje De Meulder
    • Lecturer-researcher
    • Research group: Speech and Language Therapy: Participation through communication

Would you like to collaborate or do you have any questions?

Maartje De Meulder

  • Lecturer-researcher
  • Research group: Speech and Language Therapy: Participation through communication