Graduate Certificate Programs

Certificate Programs

Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies
Graduate Certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies

Common Policies

Double-Counting Credits

Completion of Program

Certificate Funding
Requirements for the Certificate in Women’s Studies

Core Courses for the Certificate in Women’s Studies
Women's Studies Certificate Advisory Committee

Requirements for the Certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies
Core Courses for Certificate in LGBTQ Studies

LGBTQ Certificate Advisory Committee

Application & Admissions Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate certificates enable students who are pursuing a doctoral, terminal masters, or professional degree to supplement their disciplinary training with concentrated inquiry in a specific field. Long before doctoral programs in Women’s Studies became available, Women’s Studies at U-M offered a graduate certificate to allow students to focus on women and/or gender issues in their home discipline, whether sociology, nursing, mathematics, French literature, or the law. Even as the study of women and gender has been integrated into the disciplines, the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies provides students with rigorous interdisciplinary training, connecting their disciplinary gender research to conversations taking place within a broader intellectual community. In 2006, Women’s Studies began offering a graduate certificate in LGBTQ Studies in an effort to build connections among students and faculty, foster interdisciplinary research, and provide support to students in the traditional disciplines and professional schools.

The University of Michigan Women’s Studies Department offers two graduate certificate program options. The certificate programs are open only to current graduate students already enrolled in a terminal masters or doctoral degree program at the University of Michigan. Each certificate consists of graduate coursework totaling 15 credit hours.

Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies

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.

Graduate Certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies

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.

Common Policies

The information below will give you an overview of the requirements for the two Certificate Programs. You are also responsible for being aware of the Rackham Requirements for Certificate Students which you can find in section 8 of the Rackham Graduate Student Handbook.

Double-Counting Credits

Only for students in MA programs or students in PhD programs seeking a MA before advancing towards 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.

Completion of Program

Once all requirements have been fulfilled, all certificate students must apply for graduation via Wolverine Access (under Student Business—Apply for Graduation).

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 Funding

Women’s Studies Certificate students may apply for a Thevenet summer research grant. In the past, two awards of $750 each have been awarded each summer. The application period will be announced each year by the Women’s Studies Graduate Program.

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.

Requirements for the Certificate in Women’s Studies

15 credits:

  • WS 530 (3 credits)
  • WS 601 or 602 or 603 or 604 or 606 (3 credits)
  • WS 890 (3 credits)
  • Two electives (6 credits); one elective should fall outside the primary discipline

Core Courses for the Certificate in Women’s Studies

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 integrates a feminist perspective with the discipline. The final version, submitted to the Women’s Studies Graduate Office, should include a student framing statement and faculty advisor statement. In the submission to Women’s Studies, applied projects should also include an exploration of professional practices from a feminist perspective. The deadline for these documents is November 1 for Fall term graduates and March 1 for Winter term graduates.

WS 890 Guidelines

1.  The scholarly project should fall into one of the following categories:

  • an original piece of research developed 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 or a component of a professional practicum

2.  It should include

  • A 250 word abstract of the project
  • A framing statement of 2-5 single-spaced pages which addresses the following questions:
    • How does this project integrate a feminist perspective and methodology into your discipline?
    • How has this work been changed or informed by your work in Women’s Studies?
    • What is the significance of your project to your field and to Women’s Studies?
  • An optional journal description.  If students are interested in publishing the paper, students have the option, but are not required, to include a journal description of their intended disciplinary audience.

WS 890 Faculty Advisor Statement Guidelines

  • Approve this final project as the culmination of the Women's Studies Certificate—1 paragraph
  • Explain the impact of the certificate program on the student as a scholar—1 paragraph
  • Explain the impact of the student’s work on the field of study—1 paragraph

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

Graduate 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 2013–2014:

  • Political Science—Leela Fernandes (Graduate Chair)
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology—Ed Goldman
  • Nursing—Lisa Kane Low
  • Women's Studies—Esther Newton (LGBTQ Studies Certificate Advisor)

Requirements for the Certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies

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 For Certificate in LGBTQ Studies

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 research project from an LGBTQ perspective. The project can be a dissertation chapter, a prelim, a master’s thesis, an independent study focused on a research or applied project, or a component of a professional practicum. The final version, submitted to the Chair of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee, should include a framing statement written by the student and a statement from the faculty advisor. Applied projects should also include an exploration of professional practices from an LGBTQ perspective. The deadline for these documents is November 1 for Fall term graduates and March 1 for Winter term graduates.

WS 892 Student Framing Statement Guidelines

  • Include abstract of research project—1 page single spaced maximum
  • Explain how the project draws on and contributes to LGBTQ scholarship and/or practices—1 paragraph
  • An optional journal description.  If students are interested in publishing the paper, students have the option, but are not required, to include a journal description of their intended disciplinary audience.

WS 892 Faculty Advisor Statement Guidelines

It is the responsibility of the student to procure a statement from his/her faculty advisor to be included in the 892 submission. This faculty advisor statement should:

  • Approve this final project as the culmination of the LGBTQ Certificate—1 paragraph
  • Explain the impact of the certificate program on the student as a scholar—1 paragraph
  • Explain the impact of the student’s work on the field of study—1 paragraph

LGBTQ Certificate Advisor

The LGBTQ Certificate Advisor provides oversight on administrative and policy matters pertaining to the LGBTQ Certificate program. Advisors review students’ 892 submissions.

  • Esther Newton (Women's Studies)