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Women's and Gender Studies

Established in 1982, the graduate certificate in Women's and Gender Studies is designed for students already enrolled in a terminal degree program at the University of Michigan. 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 and Gender Studies
  • A challenge to the traditional separation of academic theory from political and professional practice


The graduate certificate in Women's and Gender Studies consists of coursework totalling 15 credits. Core courses provide students with an understanding of feminist theory and methodology, while electives provide advanced coursework on women and gender in a student's discipline. The certificate culminates in an advanced research project designed to incorporate a feminist perspective.  


Theories of Feminism

All certificate students are required to take Women's and Gender Studies 530: Theories of Feminism. This course explores various schools of feminist thought over the last thirty years and examines how knowledge is produced in gendered ways from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Approaches to Feminist Scholarship and Practice

Students are required to take one of the following courses:

  • Women's and Gender Studies 601: Approaches to Feminist Scholarship in the Humanities
  • Women's and Gender Studies 602: Approaches to Feminist Scholarship in the Social Sciences
  • Women's and Gender Studies 603: Feminist Scholarship on Women of Color 
  • Women's and Gender Studies 604: Feminist Practice
  • Women's and Gender Studies 606: Transnational & Multicultural Feminisms

Please note that additional courses from this list can be taken as electives. 


Certificate students are required to take two additional electives (3 credits each). One elective should fall outside of students primary discipline. 

Advanced Research

All certificate students will enroll in Women's and Gender Studies 890: Advanced Research, and carry out a culminating scholarly project that demonstrates how they have integrated feminist perspectives with their 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 and Gender Studies Department):

  • 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 and Gender Studies with professional work
  • 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 WGS 890 should be submitted to the Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Office.

Please see the column to the right for more information about the Advanced Research Project. 

Advanced Research Project


The scholarly project should fall into one of the following categories (formats not falling into any of these categories require approval from the WGS 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)

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 and Gender 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.

Faculty Advisor Statement

In addition to the final project and accompanying documents, students should submit a statement from their faculty advisor with their Women's and Gender Studies 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):

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