Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is designed to enrich students' traditional disciplinary training and broaden their perspectives on the study of gender and sexuality. The Graduate Certificate facilitates learning from a variety of methodological approaches, including: critical feminist, race, and legal theory, cultural studies, queer theory, and trans studies, as well as traditional disciplinary methodologies. The Certificate is open to students currently enrolled in graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania (masters and doctoral level), including students from the Graduate School of Education, SP2, Annenberg, the Law School and the Nursing School.

**Applications to the Graduate Certificate Program are accepted on Nov 15th in the fall semester and March 1st in the spring semester.**


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; 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, such as:

  • a) attending GSWS Graduate Research Colloquia;
  • b) attending GSWS Pedagogy Seminars;
  • c) presenting a paper at one of the workshops or colloquia offered by GSWS (counts for two);
  • d) working with a GSWS Graduate Working Group to organize a GSWS event of interest, such as a conference, lecture, or roundtable (this may count for two of the four required activities, depending on degree of involvement). Working groups are periodically formed for upcoming initiatives or events at the behest of the GSWS Director or Associate Director. As a student, you may reach out at any time to the Graduate Associate if you would like to become more involved.

3- Research Paper

Students should submit 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 both their degree and the certificate, students can either create their own syllabus for a GSWS course or write a two-page post-degree project proposal.


Students should:

  • Contact a GSWS Core or Affiliated Faculty member to be your GSWS Faculty Advisor.
  • Fill out the online application form here.

Final Approval

  • Fill out the final approval application form here.
  • 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.

**Applications and final approval documents are accepted on Nov 15th in the fall semester and March 1st in the spring semester.**

Please contact Program Coordinator Shana Bahemat with any questions (