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Admissions & Requirements

Admission Information

Admission to the WGSS Certificate Program is contingent upon: prior admission to the UMass Amherst Graduate School into a graduate degree-granting department; OR after prior completion of a graduate degree and acceptance as a non-degree student.

The candidate should demonstrate a commitment to, and evidence of, theory, research or organizational experience in feminist concerns. Knowledge of feminist scholarship is expected, but an undergraduate major in Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Queer Studies or similar is not required as prerequisite for admission to the program. Non-degree students should contact Graduate Admissions (530 Goodell) for a non-degree student application.

Students interested in admission to the WGSS Certificate Program should visit the main office (W401 South College) or call 413-545-1922 with questions about the application process.

Requirements (effective in Spring 2019)

The program requires the following coursework*:

  1. Two core approved graduate courses in the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Depar:
    1. Feminist Theory (WOMENSST 791B) :Although a background in theory is required for admission, this course is both a foundational core requirement and prerequisite for the Issues in Feminist Research Seminar. Students approach this theory course with a range of theoretical expertise and emphasis is placed on methodological and historical contexts. Course content explores the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality in a national and/or global perspective and examines selected paradigms in feminist theories. Offered fall semester only.
    2. Issues in Feminist Research Seminar (WOMENSST 691B): A three credit methods seminar with course content that explores an integrative analysis and may examine selected paradigms in feminist theory. Offered spring semester only.
  2. Two approved electives, one that fultills the category of Transnational and Critical Race Feminisms.  Note: these should be courses taught by WGSS core faculty, courses taught by affiliate faculty with pre-designated approval as listed in the course guide, or more rarely by petition (ideally at the time of enrollment):

    Transnational/Critical Race Feminisms: This requirement ensures that students understand the critical importance of the anti-racist politics of racial justice movements and women of color to feminism, and further accommodates the inclusion of transnational feminisms, critical race studies and sexuality studies into the field of inquiry. This course should be selected from the designated options in the WGSS course guide, but a petition for inclusion form is also available.

  3. Submission of a final research paper: The final stage for the completion of the certificate (formerly a year-long research project under the direction of a committee) constitutes the submission of a final research paper (approximately 25 pages in length). This paper must be accompanied by a completed program of study form, which designates the student’s course of study in the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies department and briefly describes how this trajectory has influenced their research. In order to complete the certificate in any given academic year, students must submit these final materials by the end of the first week after Spring break in the Spring semester.

    Research projects may take a variety of forms including but not limited to sustained original research produced in a Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies course, some portion of a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation; a research paper or project of outstanding quality; or a book chapter. Whatever the field of study, the research paper must meet the following criteria: 

       --Address intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality and, if relevant, transnational issues

       --Effectively demonstrate an intervention/contribution to the field of feminist studies and/or interdisciplinary approaches.  

       --Be of professional quality (edited draft, appropriate citations, etc.

    The Graduate Program Director and Associate Director of the Graduate Program, along with the core faculty, will evaluate the project for final approval. A final copy of the research project is to be left with the program office.

    *Please note that in the interest of encouraging student involvement in the intellectual life of the program, a maximum of two courses (half of the required coursework) can be applied towards the certificate prior to acceptance as a certificate student.


Courses will be offered and coordinated by core faculty of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies department and by affiliate faculty, whose courses have been pre-approved and published in the WGSS Course Guide every semester. Our Graduate Program Director provides supervision of research and advising. For further information, contact the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Program, W401 South College, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. 01003. Telephone 413-545-1922.