The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Admissions & Requirements


Admission Information

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, Gender, Sexuality Studies is not required. The Certificate must be completed by students in five years or less.

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.


The Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to broaden and enrich disciplinary scholarship for non-degree students as well as 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, Gender, Sexuality Studies and with a faculty advisor 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.

The program requires the following coursework*:

  • WGSS 701 - Geneaologies of Feminist Thought  (Offered fall semester only) (formerly WGSS 791B)
    Although a background in theory is required for admission, this course is both a foundational core requirement and prerequisite for WGSS 705 (below) 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.

  • WGSS 705 - Feminist Epistemologies and Interdisciplinary Methodologies (offered in spring) (formerly WGSS 691B)
    A three-credit methods seminar with course content that explores an integrative analysis and may examine selected paradigms in feminist theory.

  • Three electives chosen from the WGSS Course Guide.  At least two of the three electives should be courses taught by WGSS core faculty and selected from the designated options in the WGSS course guide. Students may petition to count one course taught by faculty who are not among core WGSS faculty or not listed in the WGSS course guide provided that (a) the course contains substantive feminist content, and/or (b) the course is organized around a feminist approach to the material.  Approval for counting such courses is at the discretion of the Graduate Committee.

*Please note that in the interest of encouraging student involvement in the intellectual life of the program, a maximum of two courses can be applied towards the certificate, including the semester you were accepted into the certificate.  

Courses will be offered and coordinated by core, adjunct and associated graduate faculty of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Program and will be published in the WGSS Course Guide every semester. Our Graduate Program Director or the Associate Director of the Graduate Program can provide 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.