Gender and Sexuality Studies Certificate

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.

The Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies is designed to give students in Northwestern graduate programs advanced training in gender and sexuality studies. Many students view the Certificate as an important credential as they establish careers in scholarship and teaching positions that combine that combine traditional academic disciplines with interdisciplinary work in gender and sexuality studies. 

In general, students are encouraged to begin their participation in GSS in their first year of graduate study. During that year, students typically will take one or two foundational courses (listed below). After completing the foundational courses, students should confer with their thesis advisors and their Gender Studies Graduate Advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies to determine the direction of their course work and research or performance project.

Certificate Requirements

  • Two foundational courses: 
    1. Feminist Theory: (GNDR_ST 405-0 Advanced Feminist Theory)
    2. Sexuality Studies: Queer Theory (GNDR_ST 490-0 Topics in Gender and Sexuality Studiesor Sociology of Sexuality (GNDR_ST 490-0 Topics in Gender and Sexuality Studies)
  • Three additional 400-level courses listed or cross-listed in Gender & Sexuality Studies or taught by GSS faculty. You may double-count pertinent courses taken for credit in your home departments. You may substitute independent studies or 300-level courses taken for graduate credit, subject to DGS and instructor approval.
  • At least two quarters involvement in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduate Colloquium (GNDR_ST 401-0 Graduate Colloquium), a one-credit, two-quarter course meeting every other week. This a forum for the circulation and discussion of work-in-progress by advanced graduate students in GSS, and a workshop for pre-professional activities, meetings with faculty in the program, presentations by recent fellowship recipients, and review of important publications by visiting scholars. Please note that the Colloquium does not count as one of the required three courses for the Cluster credential or as one of the five main courses for the Certificate. Anyone is welcome to attend single sessions of the Colloquium whenever they wish, even when they are not participating throughout a given term. GSS students are invited to participate in the Colloquium as many times as they like over the course of their graduate career.
  • One major research project to be submitted to the GSS DGS ( any time before petitioning for GSS certificate completion. It is up to the certificate student to choose what to submit to meet this requirement. The project can be a paper written for one of the GSS required courses, a chapter from dissertation work in progress, an article to be submitted for publication or already published during the course of the student’s PhD GSS training,  presentation, or performance (subject to approval of adviser). Regardless of the genre of the project submitted, and of other disciplinary fields in which it is situated (e.g., anthropology, sociology, early modern British literature, etc.), this piece needs to be centered in gender-and-sexuality-related topics and/or employing gender-and-sexuality-related methods.  For any further clarifications, contact the GSS DGS directly. Preferred formats for submission are PDF, Word files, or MP4s.
  • Project cover letter to be attached by the student to the major research project, situating the project in its field, explaining its gender and/or sexuality focus, its contribution to the field, and the grounds on which it should be accepted in fulfillment of the certificate requirement. While there is no length requirement for this letter, it needs to clearly articulate the points above, so we recommend a minimum of one page. If need be, the GSS DGS will reach out to the student, and, if necessary, to the student’s adviser, for clarifications and further details.

Who to contact

Students are encouraged (but not required) to check in yearly with the DGS to discuss progress and any other relevant issues or concerns. The current DGS is Paola Zamperini, who can be reached at