Updated GSWS Graduate Certificate Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies is designed to enrich students’ traditional disciplinary training. The Certificate provides graduate and professional students with opportunities to think in an integrated fashion about gender, sexuality, and women, and to engage with a variety of approaches including feminist, critical race, queer, and transgender theories as well as various disciplinary methodologies.


1- Coursework 

Four graduate-level seminars (numbered 500 or above) with a significant focus on GSWS topics, issues, theories, methods, or research. In order for a course to count toward the certificate, it should meet at least one of the specified criteria:

a) it is offered by or cross-listed with GSWS;

b) it contains significant GSWS content; a syllabus should be submitted to the Curriculum Committee for approval to count courses that are not cross-listed but have this content;

c) the student’s final research project or paper is significantly focused on GSWS topics, even if the course is not (in such cases, the paper must be submitted to the student’s GSWS Faculty Advisor for approval);

d) undergraduate GSWS courses may count toward the certificate if the student works out a plan with the professor for a graduate-level component and has permission to register for the course as a graduate level independent study.


2- Professional Development

Students should participate in four GSWS-sponsored activities, combining any of the following:

a) attend GSWS Graduate Research Colloquia;

b) attend GSWS Pedagogy Seminars;

c) present a paper at one of the workshops or colloquia offered by GSWS (counts for two);

d) work with the GSWS Graduate Advisory board to organize a GSWS event of interest, such as a conference, lecture, or roundtable (may count for two depending on degree of involvement).


3- Research Paper

An article, essay, or dissertation chapter that engages substantially with GSWS topics, methods, or theories. The paper will be reviewed by the student’s GSWS Faculty Advisor for approval.


4- Syllabus or Project Description

As a practicum to cap the work students have done toward their degrees, students have the option of creating their own syllabus for a GSWS course or writing a two-page post-degree project proposal.



  • Write a ONE PAGE statement about why she/he wishes to obtain a Certificate. The statement should include a discussion of how the Certificate Program relates to the student’s current interests. (This may include what work the student has already done in the area of gender, sexuality and women's studies.)
  • Submit the statement and the Graduate Certificate Application form to the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program Graduate Certificate Committee for approval (c/o the GSWS office). 

Final Approval

  • After final approval for the Certificate, a notation that the student has successfully completed the program will be placed on the student's transcript, and the student will receive the Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

 please contact Program Coordinator Luz Marin with any questions (

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The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania

The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women

411 Cohen Hall, 249 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | (215) 898-8740

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