Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate certificates enable students who are already pursuing a doctoral, terminal masters, or professional degree at the University of Michigan to supplement their disciplinary training with concentrated inquiry in a specific field. Even as the studies of women, gender, and sexuality have been integrated into other disciplines, the Graduate Certificates in Women’s Studies and LGBTQ Studies provide students with rigorous interdisciplinary training, connecting their disciplinary gender and sexuality research to conversations taking place within a broader intellectual community.

Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies - Overview

Designed for students already enrolled in a terminal degree program at the University of Michigan, the Certificate in Women’s Studies consists of graduate course work totaling 15 credit hours. The Certificate, which can be combined with either a masters or a doctoral degree, aims to provide:

  • Analyses of contemporary feminist theoretical frameworks and methodologies, and their implications for academic disciplines and professional practices
  • An inclusive approach that examines the intersection of gender and other social identities and categories of analysis
  • An opportunity to broaden and enrich analytical skills in one or more disciplines while drawing on the interdisciplinary perspectives of Women’s Studies
  • A challenge to the traditional separation of academic theory from political and professional practice

Coursework for the Certificate in Women’s Studies (established in 1982) involves core courses in feminist theory and methodology and advanced courses on women and gender in the discipline. It culminates in an advanced research project designed to incorporate a feminist perspective.

For more information on applying for the Graduate Certificate, please click here.

Requirements for Women's Studies Certificate

15 credits:

  • WS 530 - Feminist Theory (3 credits)
  • WS 601, 602, 603, 604, 606 - Feminist Methods (3 credits)
  • WS 890 - Advanced Research capstone (3 credits)
  • Two electives (6 credits); one elective should fall outside the student's primary discipline

Core Courses

WS 530 (3 credits) Theories of Feminism: Explores various schools of feminist thought covering the last thirty years and examines how knowledge is produced in gendered ways from an interdisciplinary perspective.

WS 601 (3 credits) Approaches to Feminist Scholarship in the Humanities: Explores how feminist scholars conduct research in the humanities by investigating questions of authority, evidence and argument in terms of the uses of history and the role of theory.

WS 602 (3 credits) Approaches to Feminist Scholarship in the Social Sciences: Aims to examine critically quantitative and qualitative methods by which social scientists study women, sex, and gender, including feminist empiricism and standpoint epistemologies.

WS 603 (3 credits) Feminist Scholarship on Women of Color: Exposes students to methodological strategies in feminist scholarship on women of color, ensuring knowledge of work written by women of color and an understanding of how even feminist paradigms have excluded them.

WS 604 (3 credits) Feminist Practice: Explores a number of approaches to feminist, anti-racist, and multicultural praxis by studying the relationship between theory and practice in different disciplines and professional settings.

WS 606 (3 credits) Transnational and Multicultural Feminisms: Exposes students to critical ethnographic research drawing upon critical Feminist, Ethnic Studies, Cultural Studies, Post-colonial theoretical approaches.

WS 890 (3 credits) Advanced Research: Every student will carry out a culminating scholarly project that demonstrates how the student has integrated feminist perspectives with the student’s discipline(s). The final project can be one of the following (or another format to be approved by the Certificate Advisory Committee in the Women’s Studies Department): a dissertation chapter, prelim, master’s thesis, independent study focused on research, applied project, written component of a professional practicum, portfolio that integrates work in Women’s Studies with professional work, or an audio, visual, or textual project from the creative arts. In addition to submitting the final project, the student should submit an abstract and framing statement. These will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee, so the student should elaborate on any disciplinary conventions, terminologies, or practices that may not be readily accessible to an audience outside of the student’s specific area or discipline. The faculty advisor should also submit a statement. The deadline for these materials is November 1 for Fall term graduates and March 1 for Winter term graduates. All components of the WS 890 should be submitted to the Women’s Studies Graduate Office.

WS 890 Guidelines

1.  The scholarly project should fall into one of the following categories (formats not falling into any of these categories require approval from the WS Certificate Advisory Committee):

  • an original piece of research developed specifically for the 890
  • a redeveloped/expanded/revised dissertation chapter, a prelim exam response, a master’s thesis, an independent study focused on a research project
  • an applied project, professional portfolio, or written component of a professional practicum
  • a product that represents culminating work in the creative arts (for example, an audio, visual, or multi-media portfolio, with accompanying text or program notes if appropriate)

2.  In addition to submitting the final project, the student should submit:

  • A 250 word abstract of the project
  • A Framing Statement of 3-5 single-spaced pages which addresses the following questions:
    • What is this project, how is it significant, and how does it fit into your work in graduate school?
    • How does this project draw on feminist perspectives or methodologies?
    • How has this project been informed by coursework completed for the Women’s Studies Certificate?
    • How does this project expand the reach of feminist scholarship into your discipline?
    • How does this project contribute to the larger field of feminist studies?
  • Optional: Students may include a description of how they intend to circulate the work to their intended disciplinary audience(s). This might include a description of a relevant conference, journal, edited volume, performance, or exhibit to which the student might submit the work.

WS 890 Faculty Advisor Statement Guidelines

In addition to the final project and accompanying documents, students should submit a statement from their faculty advisor with their 890 submission. This advisor statement should include at minimum the following components (one to two pages is typically sufficient, but faculty are free to write more if they wish):

  1. Comment on the context(s), quality, and importance of the student’s project;
  2. Explain the impact of the Women’s Studies certificate program on the student as a scholar;
  3. Explain the impact of the student’s work on the student’s field(s) of study;
  4. Approve this final project as the culmination of the Women’s Studies Certificate.

Examples of previous 890 submissions are available to view in 1122 Lane Hall.

Graduate Certificate in LGBTQ Studies - Overview

Designed for students already enrolled in a terminal degree program at the University of Michigan, the Certificate in LGBTQ Studies consists of graduate course work totaling 15 credit hours. The Certificate, which can be combined with either a masters or a doctoral degree, aims to:

  • Provide an interdisciplinary analysis of the function of sexuality, and particularly sexual identity, in the construction of individuals, as a form of minority discourse, as a signifier of cultural representations, and as a site of power
  • Examine the processes by which sexual desires, identities, and practices are produced, represented, regulated, and resisted in the U.S. and globally, both in the past and in the present
  • Address sexuality in a way that consistently demonstrates its interconnections to gender, race, ethnicity, and class

Coursework for the Certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies involves one core course, Introduction to LGBTQ Studies; one additional course in Women’s Studies on sexuality; and two courses, including one outside the discipline, on sexuality or LGBTQ topics. It culminates in an advanced research project designed to incorporate a LGBTQ perspective.

For more information on applying for the Graduate Certificate, please click here.

Requirements for LGBTQ Studies Certificate

15 credits:

  • WS 531 (3 credits)
  • WS 892 (3 credits)
  • One Women’s Studies course on sexuality (3 credits)
  • Two electives on sexuality or LGBTQ topics (6 credits); one elective should fall outside the primary discipline

Core Courses

WS 531 (3 credits) Introduction to LGBTQ Studies: This course is a high-level introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer Studies, along with its various sub-fields. The seminar is designed for graduate students in all schools and disciplines; it does not assume previous knowledge. The course will survey the overlaps and differences between lesbian and gay male studies, will examine some of the foundational texts of Queer Theory, and will take account of the recent emergence of Transgender Studies. While the field of LGBTQ studies is now too vast to be covered systematically, the course will attempt to provide a sense of the range of that field and some of the current controversies within it. The exact content of the course can also be adjusted to suit the individual needs of the students who choose to enroll in it from one year to the next.

WS 892 (3 credits) Advanced Research: Every student will carry out a culminating scholarly project that demonstrates how the student has integrated LGBTQ and feminist perspectives with the student’s discipline(s). The final project can be one of the following (or another format to be approved by the Certificate Advisory Committee in the Women’s Studies Department): a dissertation chapter, prelim, master’s thesis, independent study focused on research, applied project, written component of a professional practicum, portfolio that integrates work in LGBTQ Studies with professional work, or an audio, visual, or multi-media project from the creative arts. In addition to submitting the final project, the student should submit an abstract and framing statement. These will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee, so the student should elaborate on any disciplinary conventions, terminologies, or practices that may not be readily accessible to an audience outside of the student’s specific area or discipline. The faculty advisor should also submit a statement. The deadline for these materials is November 1 for Fall term graduates and March 1 for Winter term graduates. All components of the WS 892 should be submitted to the Women’s Studies Graduate Office.

WS 892 Guidelines

1. The scholarly project should fall into one of the following categories (formats not falling into any of these categories require approval from the WS Certificate Advisory Committee):

  • an original piece of research developed specifically for the 892
  • a redeveloped/expanded/revised dissertation chapter, a prelim exam response, master’s thesis, or independent study focused on a research project
  • an applied project, professional portfolio, or written component of a professional practicum
  • a product that represents culminating work in the creative arts (for example, an audio, visual, or multi-media portfolio, with accompanying text or program notes if appropriate)

2. In addition to submitting the final project, the student should submit:

  • A 250 word abstract of the project
  • A Framing Statement of 3-5 single-spaced pages which addresses the following questions:
    • What is this project, how is it significant, and how does it fit into your work in graduate school?
    • How does this project draw on LGBTQ, queer and/or feminist perspectives or methodologies?
    • How has this project been informed by coursework completed for the LGBTQ Studies Certificate?
    • How does this project expand the reach of LGBTQ, queer and/or feminist scholarship into your discipline?
    • How does this project contribute to the larger field(s) of LGBTQ, queer and/or feminist studies?
  • Optional: Students may include a description of how they intend to circulate the work to their intended disciplinary audience(s). This might include a description of a relevant conference, journal, edited volume, performance, or exhibit to which the student might submit the work.

WS 892 Faculty Advisor Statement Guidelines

In addition to the final project and accompanying documents, students should submit a statement from their faculty advisor with their 892 submission. This advisor statement should include at minimum the following components (one to two pages is typically sufficient, but faculty are free to write more if they wish):

  1. Comment on the context(s), quality, and importance of the student’s project;
  2. Explain the impact of the LGBTQ Studies certificate program on the student as a scholar;
  3. Explain the impact of the student’s work on the student’s field(s) of study;
  4. Approve this final project as the culmination of the LGBTQ Studies Certificate.

Funding

Graduate certificate students may apply for a Thevenet summer research grant from the Women's Studies Department. Two awards of approximately $1000 each have been awarded every summer. The application period will be announced to enrolled students each year by the Women’s Studies Graduate Program Office.

The Thevenet Award -- Robin I. Thevenet was a graduate student in the joint program in English and Education working on a dissertation about Victorian women educators who had written autobiographies describing how they decided to become teachers, and in many cases, founded schools or colleges. Before finishing her dissertation, she followed her husband, a physicist, to the University of Oklahoma. About a year later, she was diagnosed with cancer and six months later died. After her death, her husband discovered that she had a term life insurance policy for $10,000, which he donated to the Women’s Studies Department, asking that it be used to help further research on women by graduate students. Since then, it has been used to provide summer funding.

Double-Counting Credits

The Rackham Graduate School's policy on the double-counting of credits only applies to students in Master's programs or students in doctoral programs seeking an embedded Master's before advancing toward the PhD:

  • Only 1/6 of the total credits for the graduate degree can be double-counted towards the Certificate (i.e., if the MA is 36 credits only 6 can be double-counted between units). The maximum amount of credits that may be double-counted is 7 credits. Double-counting rules are irrelevant for PhD students who do not seek an MA. For these students Rackham only counts fee totals.
  • Not more than half of the total of the Certificate (i.e., not more than 7 credits for a 15 credit certificate) can be double-counted.
  • Credits cannot be double-counted between dual degree programs (i.e., psychology/social work) and the Certificate. In this case the Certificate must be a 15 credit stand alone degree.
  • Credits cannot be split (i.e., one cannot use 1 credit from a 3 credit course).
  • Your non-Rackham degree program may have separate rules regulating double-counting.

Final Steps to Completing a Graduate Certificate

Once all requirements have been fulfilled, all certificate students must apply for graduation via Wolverine Access (under Student Business—Apply for Graduation). Students must apply for graduation with the certificate by Rackham's term-specific deadlines.

If a certificate student is in a Master’s degree program or has received an embedded Master’s along the way to their PhD, they must also complete a dual/joint degree course election form. This form is used to verify that the double-counting rules (above) have been followed.

Certificate Advisory Committee

The Certificate Advisory Committee provides oversight on administrative and policy matters pertaining to the Women’s Studies and LGBTQ Studies Certificate programs. Members read students’ 890 and 892 submissions. The committee is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies and consists of liaisons from other departments and/or professional schools.

Faculty liaisons for 2014–2015:

  • Lilia Cortina, Chair (Director of Graduate Studies, Women's Studies)
  • Sara McClelland
  • Beth Reed
  • Gayle Rubin (Director, Graduate Certificate of LGBTQ Studies)

Application & Admissions Information

Frequently Asked Questions