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Graduate Certificate in WGSS

The graduate certificate in WGSS is a 12-credit supplementary program designed for students currently enrolled in a Northeastern University master’s or doctoral program. Please note that there is a separate path for students in the Master’s of Public Health program. The certificate aims to provide enhanced competency by:

Certificate students will work with both the WGSS program director and an advisor in their primary department to develop a plan for completing the certificate coursework.

Eligibility for Enrollment

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 pursue 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).

Interested students should speak to Professor Suzanna Walters, program director for WGSS, or an academic advisor in their primary department, to develop a plan for completing the certificate alongside their disciplinary coursework and should complete this simple online form to inform the program of their intentions to pursue the certificate in WGSS. This form does not serve as a binding agreement to complete the certificate coursework, nor does it add the certificate to your transcript. It is simply a mechanism by which the program can keep you up to date about news, courses, events, and more that may be useful to you in your pursuit of graduate studies in WGSS.

To receive your Graduate Certificate in WGSS, contact the WGSS program coordinator to request a clearance form after all coursework has been completed. Complete the form and bring it, along with your Northeastern transcript, to the WGSS office in 263 Holmes for signature and approval prior to the deadlines noted on the form — April 15 for May commencement, August 1 for August commencement, and November 15 for January commencement.

For those graduate students currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health in Urban Health Program who are interested in pursuing the Graduate Certificate in WGSS, please contact Professor Alisa Lincoln, Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Sociology. You may also find more information about requirements for the MPH WGSS certificate path here.



The Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies consists of a minimum of three graduate courses for a total of 12 or more credits: a choice of one of three required course (WMNS 6100: Theorizing Gender and Sexuality; WMNS/SOCL 7100: Queer Theory; and WMNS 7615: Feminist Inquiry*) and two elective courses (see the list below). At least one elective must fall outside of the student’s primary discipline. Course offerings vary from semester to semester. Please be sure to check with the WGSS office to see which courses can be counted toward your certificate. The elective list below is not exhaustive, and certificate students may petition for courses to be added to this list by contacting the program coordinator with a course syllabus. MPH students pursuing the WGSS certificate should discuss their anticipated courses before registering for them, as the requirements for this group of students is slightly different.

Please note that there is a separate track for MPH students. 

Required Course Menu (choose one of the three below) 

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.

Introduces the core texts and key debates that have shaped queer theory and examines the intersections between queer theory and feminism and critical race theory. Seeks to provide an understanding of expansive and radical contemporary queer politics by analyzing foundational queer and feminist texts, pushing beyond narrow constructions of identity politics, anti-discrimination policy, and rights-based reforms. Engages queer theory by means of a rich philosophical and political interrogation of the meaning and content of “queer.” Cross-listed with SOCL 7100.

Investigates theories and practices of feminist inquiry across a range of disciplines by studying a series of pairings of humanist and social science works by feminist scholars. Reflects on the ways that feminist inquiry/ies transform knowledge and inform varied forms of activism. Functions as an interdisciplinary course and engages students in questioning disciplinary assumptions and methodologies, seeking new ways to frame scholarly questions, and reconsidering the relationship between subjects and objects of study. Offers students an opportunity to meet with several of the feminist scholars read over the semester and to focus on specific theoretical and methodological choices as these are evidenced in practice. This course is taught at the Graduate Consortium for Women’s Studies. MPH students pursuing the certificate may use this course as an elective, but not as their required foundational course.


Among approved electives are:

*These courses are taught at the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality.  

NOTE: Course offerings vary from semester to semester. Please be sure to check with the WGSS office to see which courses can be counted toward your certificate. This list is not exhaustive and students may petition to have a course added if they believe its syllabus covers substantial amounts of material relating to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

In addition to the courses above, the following topics courses may count towards the certificate:

NOTE: The certificate requires 12 credits or more to obtain. If you entered Northeastern prior to Fall 2018, you will likely need to complete three elective courses instead of the recommended two under the new structure of 4-credit hours per course.

The Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture,Women, and Sexuality (GCWS)

Students can also choose to take courses at the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality (the GCWS). Courses taken at the GCWS will count towards the Graduate Certificate. Instructors and courses vary from semester to semester. To see all past and current GCWS course offerings, visit the GCWS website.

To enroll in a GCWS course, speak to the graduate advisor or coordinator in your primary disciplinary program. They will advise you on the process for enrolling in a GCWS course for Northeastern credit. Registration requires departmental approval and acceptance by the GCWS.