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Graduate Certificate

Students who wish to pursue Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the graduate level will have an opportunity to engage these issues in depth from feminist and interdisciplinary perspectives. Students will analyze contemporary theoretical frameworks, methodologies, issues and topics and their relation to established disciplines; focus on issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class and sexuality; and challenge the traditional separation of academic theory from political and professional practice.

Designed for students already enrolled in a graduate degree program at Northeastern University, the graduate program in WGSS currently offers a certificate that can be combined with either a master's or a doctoral degree in another discipline.

The certificate, which can be combined with either a master's or a doctoral degree, aims to provide enhanced competency by:

  • Analyzing contemporary feminist theoretical frameworks, methodologies, issues and topics and their relation to established disciplines
  • Focusing on the intersection of gender with sexuality, race, class and other vectors of power and identity
  • Broadening and enriching analytical skills in one or more disciplines while drawing on the interdisciplinary perspectives of WGSS
  • Challenging the traditional separation of academic theory from political and professional practice

Certificate students will work with an advisor in their own or a closely related discipline to develop a plan for completing the certificate. The advisory relationship is intended to be facilitative; students are free to request a different advisor at any time.


Any student with a bachelor's degree who has been admitted to or is currently enrolled in a graduate program at Northeastern is eligible to apply for a Graduate Certificate in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Applicants should have at least a "B" average in their graduate course work (or undergraduate for entering students).

To receive your Graduate Certificate in WGSS, please fill out a Graduate Clearance Form and bring it to the WGSS office in 263 Holmes for a signature and approval.


The Certificate in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies consists of a minimum of four graduate courses: one required course (Theorizing Gender and Sexuality) and three elective courses. At least one elective must fall outside of the student's primary discipline. The elective list below is not exhaustive, and Certificate students may petition for courses to be added to this list.

Required Core Course:

  • *WMNS 6100 Theorizing Gender and Sexuality: In recent years, the bedrock feminist innovation that separated gender from sex has come under scrutiny. Theorizing Gender and Sexuality challenges and expands our understanding of the relationship between biological sex, gendered identities, and sexual “preferences,” practices, and life ways. This deeply interdisciplinary course engages students with complex debates around sex, gender, sexuality, and the body that push beyond binary models reliant on a simple “nature/culture” distinction. Focus is placed on the dynamic and variable aspects of sexuality, sex, and gender, within and across cultures, representational forms, and historical periods, analyzing the circumstances in which they undergo significant challenge or transformation. Particular paradigmatic “case studies” will be utilized in an attempt to push hard at the boundaries of both sex and gender and to invite dialogue around contesting conceptualizations of “the body,” “sex,” and “gender,” particularly as they circulate in specific discourses of feminism and queer theory as well as poststructuralism, ethnic studies, critical race theory, and cultural studies.


Among approved electives are:

  • CAEP 6380 Seminar in Feminist Psychology
  • CRIM 7210 Gender, Crime and Justice
  • ENGL 7211 Topics in American Literature: Literary Tricksterism
  • ENGL 7213 Topics in Early American Literature: Gender and Empire
  • ENGL 7215 Topics in Twentieth-Century Literature: The Modern American Novel
  • ENGL 7281 Topics in Medieval Literature: Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Romance and Modern Film Adaptations
  • ENGL 7286 Topics in Victorian Literature: Gender and Victorian Literature
  • ENGL 7351 Topics in Literary Study: Visual Postmodernities
  • ENGL 7359 Topics in Comparative Literature: Modern and Contemporary Jewish Literature
  • HIST 7290 Race and Gender Frontiers: U.S. Encounters with the Empire
  • HIST 7304 Research Seminar in Gender and Society in the Modern World
  • POLS 7394 Topical Seminar in International Relations: Gender and International Relations
  • SOCL 7202 Feminist Theory
  • SOCL 7212 Feminist Methodologies
  • SOCL 7257 Contemporary Issues in Sociology: Gender and Globalization: Post-colonial Perspectives
  • SOCL 7265 Sociology of Gender
  • SOCL 7273 Gender and Social Policy
  • WMNS 7976 Directed Study in WGSS

Students can also choose to take courses in the Graduate Consortium of Women's Studies. Courses taken in the GCWS will count towards the Graduate Certificate. To see all the courses that please the GCWS offers, please click here: http://web.mit.edu/gcws/courses/index.html Visit the Graduate Consortium for Women's Studies page for more information.

*This new course will first be offered Fall 2014. For current Certificate students and incoming students who desire to undertake the Certificate, substitute courses can fulfill this core requirement. Please contact the Director of WGSS, Professor Suzanna Walters, to discuss your options.

NOTE: Courses may vary from semester to semester. Please be sure to check with the WGSS office to see which courses can be counted toward your certificate.