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Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate certificates enable current graduate students 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 and Gender 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 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 and Gender 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.
  • No 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 standalone 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 and Gender 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 2017–2018:

  • Nadine (Dean) Hubbs, Director of Graduate Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies and LGBTQ Studies
  • Beth Glover Reed
  • Gayle Rubin

FAQ for Certificate Students

When should I apply?
We encourage students to apply as early as possible in their graduate program, but Rackham requires that students wait to enroll until they have completed one full term of graduate study at U-M.

How do I register for WGS 890/892?
Students should contact the Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Program Coordinator to get an override. Once the override is issued, the student can register through Wolverine Access. Students enroll under the section number assigned to their primary advisor.

Does my current certificate advisor need to be my advisor for my WGS 890/892 project?
No; as long as another relevant faculty member agrees to advise you, it can be somebody different. Please let the Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Program Office know if you choose to change advisors.

Can I switch either my certificate or my 890/892 advisor?
You can switch advisors at any time with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

How long does the WGS 890/892 project need to be?
Both the type and length of the final project will vary depending on the discipline of the student. Students preparing to begin work on the WGS 890/892 project should review the specific guidelines for each certificate.

Can I complete my 890/892 project before I complete the other certificate coursework?
The 890/892 is meant to be a capstone experience and therefore should be informed by the other certificate coursework.

Are there any guidelines for the electives? What type of course is allowed to satisfy the elective requirements?
Women’s and Gender Studies courses, courses in your discipline that focus on women/gender/sexuality, or courses not primarily focused on women and gender, but where a paper or other product is produced that focuses on women/gender/sexuality may satisfy the elective coursework requirements. Coursework outside of the Women's and Gender Studies Department needs prior approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

I am enrolled in a non-Rackham graduate or professional program (e.g., Social Work, Public Health, etc.). Is there anything special I need to do or keep in mind?
Yes, there are two things that you need to keep in mind:

  • The application process is a bit different for students enrolled in a non-Rackham program. In addition to the Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate application, you must complete a Rackham application (including submitting official final undergraduate transcripts/credentials) and pay the Rackham application fee. Note that new test scores are not required.
  • Any course that a student is using to fulfill requirements for a Rackham certificate must be registered through Rackham. Dual enrollment is permitted for students in a non-Rackham program concurrently pursuing a Rackham certificate.

Once I have completed all of the requirements, is there any paperwork I need to complete in order to receive my certificate?
All certificate students must apply for graduation via Wolverine Access in order to receive their certificate. (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 not more than one-sixth of the credit given for any master’s or intermediate degree is double-counted between the certificate and that master’s or intermediate degree program. Double-counted credits also may not exceed one-half of the certificate requirements. Such credit may not be counted toward the fulfillment of any further degrees or certificates.

Is there a time limit (i.e. maximum number of years allowed) to complete the certificate requirements?
Rackham’s Graduate Student Handbook states that students must complete all work for a Certificate and file the diploma application within four consecutive years of admission to the certificate program. Any requests for exceptions would need to be approved by the Rackham Graduate School.

When were the Certificate programs established?
The Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies was established in 1982 as an 18 credits program and changed to 15 credits in 1996. The Certificate in LGBTQ studies was established in 2006.