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*:

  • Feminist Theory Requirement: WGSS 791B (Offered fall semester only) or WGSS 692F
    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.

  • Issues in Feminist Research Seminar (WGSS 691B) - Offered spring semester only
    A three-credit methods seminar with course content that explores an integrative analysis and may examine selected paradigms in feminist theory. .

  • Three electives with substantive feminist content that fulfill any of the following categories: Transnational Feminisms; Critical Race Feminisms; Sexuality Studies. 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. 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 has feminist content and/or approach (b) approval for taking the course is sought and received prior to taking the course.  Pre-Approval for counting such courses towards the Certificate 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 prior to acceptance as a certificate student.

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.