MA Certificate Requirements | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

MA Certificate Requirements

Click here for the certificate application formThe Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies provides a credential for Pitt grad students that may be invaluable on the job market (whether in academia, government, the non-profit sector, etc.). The Program offers both a Master's and a PhD Certificate.

Interested students should make an appointment with the GSWS Program Director to discuss options for a course of study and to complete advising and application forms.

To apply to the Graduate Certificate Program, each student must meet with the Director to complete the Arts and Sciences Application for Admission to the Certificate Program, the Admissions Credentials Evaluation, and the GSWS Advising Form.

Master's Program Certificate

Graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh or students who have already completed an undergraduate degree (at Pitt or elsewhere) may apply to pursue a master’s certificate in GSWS.

The MASTER'S CERTIFICATE consists of four courses (12 credits) and completion of a research paper.

Four courses counting toward a master’s degree offered by or cross-listed with GSWS. At least two must be outside the candidate’s major discipline (as defined by the course designation). Candidates should take at least two courses in one “field” (as designated in the candidate’s concept statement). Students can petition to have accepted unlisted graduate courses with a substantial gender, sexuality, or women's studies component.

No more than one course may be an independent study or directed reading. Students may select GSWS2902 (Directed Study).

GSWS2252 ("Theories of Gender and Sexuality"), offered regularly, is required and can count as one of two courses outside the candidate's major discipline (requirement effective for students who enrolled after Sept. 2013).

All courses must be passed with at least a “B” grade.

Students must complete a research paper to be read and approved by the affiliated faculty member who has sponsored the paper and a brief concept statement explaining how interdisciplinary scholarship in gender and sexuality studies contributed to this project.  Students must submit their paper, concept statement, and the signature page to the affiliated faculty member (who must be officially listed on the GSWS AF faculty page) and then deliver the signature page along with a hard-copy of the approved paper to the GSWS Office for inclusion in the student's file.  These materials must be turned in to the program for the Director’s review at least 10 days before the graduate paperwork is due.

Students should register with GSWS and discuss their program of study with the Director at the beginning of their course of study.

Students may transfer up to one course from another institution if taken at the graduate level (by petition), but that course cannot replace the requirement of two GSWS courses taken through the program.

Students do not have to be Masters-level students to complete the MA Certificate (e.g. a student could complete the Certificate during the post-MA/PhD phase of their program in their home department).

Research Paper for the Master’s Certificate

This research paper is designated as a paper of length, ambition, and scope appropriate to the master’s level. It should be neither simply an uncritical review of research nor a survey of gender/sexuality studies, but should be a sustained piece of graduate-level work, prepared under the supervision of a faculty advisor appointed by the Director of GSWS in consultation with the master’s certificate candidate.

The paper may be written explicitly for the certificate requirement or written to satisfy a directed or independent study, or it may be a revised course paper or a section of a master’s thesis or dissertation. It may take the form of empirical research, a critical review of empirical research with a substantial agenda of theoretical or empirical direction for the field, a sustained critical essay, a multi-media or hyper-media project, or other form approved by the director of the Program. The paper should involve creativity in its analysis and should demonstrate the student’s own contribution to knowledge in a disciplinary or interdisciplinary context.

Students should submit a one-page proposal for this paper to the Director and to the GSWS faculty sponsor when appointed. The completed paper must be read by one affiliated faculty member, usually the faculty advisor.

The research paper should be chosen to highlight the contributions of this interdisciplinary certificate program to the student’s intellectual repertoire.  The concept statement accompanying this paper (300-600 words) should explain how these contributions informed the research paper submitted.

Graduate Certificate Procedures

All GSWS Certificates are issued through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, regardless of the graduate school you are enrolled in. You must follow Arts and Sciences Graduate School deadlines for applying for degrees to receive your Certificate. Students must apply to the A&S Graduate School to receive the Certificate at graduation, and certificates cannot be issued after a student graduates. A late fee is assessed if you miss the deadline. Please note that applying to do the Certificate and applying to graduate are two separate processes.
Completion of the graduate certificate requires that you:
Complete all required courses with a B or better grade
Complete a research paper to be read by a faculty sponsor, who must sign the signature page. A copy of the research paper with signature page must be received by the appropriate deadline:

    June 15 for August graduation
    November 15 for December graduation
    March 15 for April graduation


Click here for a printer-friendly PDF of these requirements

Click here for the certificate application form

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