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Advanced Feminist Studies Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Studies Committee of the Women’s Studies Program administers the certificate program and advises interested students. Committee members are:
Joyce Berkman, Professor of History
Marta Calás, Associate Professor of Management
Nancy Campbell Patteson, Graduate Program Coordinator
Laura Doyle, Professor of English
Nancy Folbre, Professor of Economics
Linda Smircich, Professor of Management
Ximena Zuniga, Associate Professor of Education

Women’s Studies Faculty

Arlene V. Avakian, Director, B.S., Columbia, 1961; M.A., Massachusetts, 1975; Ed.D., 1985.

Alexandrina Deschamps, Associate Professor, C.Ed., West Indies, 1975; M.A., Massachusetts, 1975; Ed.D., 1996.

Dayo Gore, Assistant Professor, B.A., Northwestern, 1993; Ph.D., New York University, 2003.

Miliann Kang, Assistant Professor, B.A., Harvard, 1988; M.A., New York University, 1996; Ph.D., 2001.

Sarah Richardson, Assistant Professor, B.A., Columbia, 2002; Ph.D., Stanford, 2008.

Svati Shah, Assistant Professor, B.A., North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1992; Ph.D., Columbia, 2006.

Banu Subramaniam, Associate Professor, B.S., Stella Maris, Madras, India, 1986; Certificate, Duke, 1993; Ph.D., 1994.

In addition to the Women’s Studies faculty, the Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies draws upon associated faculty in other University departments. Women’s Studies faculty and associated faculty are available to serve students as advisers in their graduate studies. Teaching faculty for the Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies vary each semester depending upon course offerings.

The Program

The Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to broaden and enrich disciplinary scholarship for students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree-granting program. The purpose of the certificate is to enable students interested in feminist scholarship to pursue a coherent, integrated curriculum in the field and to credential them as knowledgeable in Feminist Studies, thus qualifying them for positions requiring such expertise. Students work closely with faculty and associated faculty from Women’s Studies and with a faculty adviser from their degree-granting discipline. Students completing the certificate will have the opportunity to bring a feminist perspective to bear on the practices and ideas of their own discipline, thereby increasing the body of feminist theory and research.

Admission to the certificate program is contingent upon: 1) prior acceptance to the Graduate School of the University into a graduate degree-granting program; or 2) after completion of a graduate degree and acceptance to the Graduate School as a non-degree student.

The candidate should demonstrate a commitment to, and evidence of, research or organizational experience in feminist concerns. Knowledge of feminist scholarship is expected, but an undergraduate major in Women’s Studies is not required.

The program consists of the following requirements to fulfill the minimum 15 credits:

I. Five Women’s Studies approved graduate courses:

A. Two core Women’s Studies courses:
1. WOMENSST 791B Feminist Theory: A background in theory is required for admission and, in addition, this Women’s Studies course is both a foundational core requirement and a prerequisite for WOMENSST 691B Issues in Feminist Research. Course content explores paradigms of feminist theory from the interaction of race, class, gender, and sexuality in a national and/or global perspective. This course is offered fall semester only.
2. WOMENSST 691B Issues in Feminist Research Seminar: A three-credit methods seminar that includes readings on questions of feminist methodology and ethics of research. This course is restricted to certificate students and offered spring semester only.

B. Two interdisciplinary electives from the following approved categories:
1. Feminist Approaches to History, Literature and the Social and Natural Sciences: Students choose an approved elective focusing primarily on women’s roles, issues and concerns, and are guided by feminist principles.
2. Intercultural Perspectives: Students choose an approved course that examines the lives of populations of women of color.
A list of approved courses may be obtained from Nancy Campbell Patteson, Graduate Program Coordinator, 208 Bartlett Hall, tel. 545-1922.

C. WOMENSST 793A Final Research Project:
In addition to the coursework, all certificate students must complete a Final Research Project. A committee of two faculty mentors must be named and a research prospectus submitted for approval to the Graduate Certificate Program Director before starting work on the final research project. Once approved, students are expected to work closely throughout the project with both committee members and the Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate Program Director.

Research project options include but are not limited to a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation, a publishable research paper or project of outstanding quality, a book chapter, a performance or multimedia presentation. Whatever the field of study, the research paper must focus on the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality and, if relevant, transnational issues. It can be developed from: a) a paper submitted to meet one of the core requirements; b) prior research; c) a practicum or other project.

The project is evaluated by the committee of faculty mentors. A final copy of the research project to is to be filed with the Women’s Studies Program.

Students completing the certificate are eligible to apply for the Glennie L. Jones Memorial Award for Outstanding Graduate Feminist Scholarship, an award sponsored by an undergraduate alumna.

Courses are offered and coordinated by core, adjunct, and associated graduate faculty of the Women’s Studies Program. A program coordinator is available for advising and the Graduate Program Director provides supervision of research.

For further information, contact the Women’s Studies Program, 208 Bartlett Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, tel.: (413) 545-1922; fax: (413) 545-1500; website:; and email: