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WGSS Certificate MPH Option

The graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is a supplementary program designed for students currently enrolled in a Northeastern University master’s or doctoral program. The certificate aims to provide enhanced competency by:

Master of Public Health (MPH) students are able to apply theories, concepts and methods gained from the WGSS certificate to addressing urban health issues. Certificate students will work with an advisor in their primary 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.

Students enrolled in the MPH Program at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences who wish to pursue a certificate in WGSS follow a slightly different path than students in other programs. Interested MPH students should contact Alisa Lincoln, Professor of Health Sciences and Sociology; Shan Mohammed, Director of the MPH program; or Alison Gillis, MPH Program Manager prior to pursuing the WGSS certificate to discuss their options.


Eligibility for Enrollment

Any student with a bachelor’s degree who has been admitted to or is currently enrolled in the Master’s of Public Health Program at Northeastern is eligible to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, MPH option. Applicants should have at least a “B” average in their graduate course work (or undergraduate for entering students).

There is no formal process for declaring your intention to obtain the certificate. Interested students currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health in Urban Health Program should contact Alisa LincolnShan Mohammed, or Alison Gillis, to discuss their options for completing the certificate alongside their disciplinary coursework.

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.


For MPH students, the Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies consists of a minimum of five graduate courses: a choice of one of two required courses in WGSS, two core courses in PHTH, and two elective courses.

WGSS Required Course: Choose one of the following two courses, which will count as an elective towards your MPH. 

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.

MPH Required Courses: Complete two MPH core courses: PHTH 5120 and PHTH 6204. These will count as a requirement towards your MPH degree and, together, will count as an elective towards your WGSS certificate. 


Elective 1 The second elective will be selected from the list of approved courses below or will be fulfilled by PHTH 6910 and incorporating a project focused on gender and/or sexuality into the student’s selected urban public health issue; in this case, a WGSS faculty member must serve on the student’s Capstone Committee and the course will count towards a requirement for the MPH degree. If a student chooses a non-PHTH elective for this requirement, they must confirm with the MPH program that it will count towards their MPH degree. If choosing a PHTH elective, they must confirm with WGSS that it will count towards the certificate. This will count as an elective towards the MPH degree.

Elective 2 will be fulfilled by selecting one of the courses from the list of approved electives below. This course will also fulfill one MPH elective slot. 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.

Elective Course Menu

Among approved electives are:

*These courses are taught at the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies.  

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.

Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies

Students can also choose to take courses in the Graduate Consortium in Women’s StudiesCourses taken in 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 Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies 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