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

PhD Certificate Requirements

The 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. Students often report that the Certificate was a major asset in their job search. Many colleges and universities appreciate job candidates who show that they can do interdisciplinary work.

The Certificate also aims to help students who are writing dissertations with a gender focus or a gender component theorize their work in a sophisticated manner and to place themselves in dialogue with gender/sexuality studies as an interdisciplinary field of inquiry.

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

We urge students to enroll in GSWS2252 "Theories of Gender and Sexuality" as soon as possible. The course is offered regularly and is open to all students at Pitt. 

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

Certificate students may apply for our research funding program, and advanced students may apply to teach our undergraduate courses (see links).

Doctoral Program Certificate

University of Pittsburgh doctoral students in any area may apply to pursue a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. The Certificate is awarded and recorded on doctoral student transcripts in conjunction with completion of the appropriate advanced degree. Both the Master's and PhD Certificate Programs are open to doctoral students.

The DOCTORAL CERTIFICATE consists of six courses (18 credits) and completion of a research paper.

Six courses counting toward a graduate degree offered by or cross-listed with GSWS. At least three must be outside the candidate’s major discipline. Candidates should take at least three 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 independent study or directed reading. Students may select GSWS2902 (Directed Study). 

We will consider by petition graduate courses on gender taken at another institution, but no more than 2 courses may be applied toward the Certificate.

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

At least one other course (3 credits) besides 2252 must be an interdisciplinary GSWS course (with a GSWS number), other than Independent Reading or Directed Study, taken at Pitt.

All courses must be passed by 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. 

Ideally, the research paper and concept statement will be completed around the time students finish coursework. At the latest, 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 must register with the Program Director and discuss their program of study with the Director at the beginning of their course of study. They are urged to remain in contact with the advisor during their course of study. 

Research Paper for the Doctoral Certificate

This research paper is designated as a paper of length, ambition and scope for publication as a scholarly article. It should be neither simply an uncritical review of research nor a survey of GSWS studies, but should be a sustained piece of advanced work, prepared under the supervision of a faculty sponsor appointed by the Director of the Program in consultation with the doctoral certificate candidate. The paper may be written explicitly for the certificate requirement, written to satisfy a course or program requirement. In its content and scope, it must integrate theories, ideas, and implications from several areas of interest within gender/sexuality/women’s studies. 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 journal article intended for publication, a multi-media or hyper-media project, or other form approved by the Director of the Program. The paper should demonstrate creativity in its analysis and the student’s own contribution to knowledge in a disciplinary or interdisciplinary context.

The faculty sponsor must read and approve the completed paper. If the paper is a section or chapter of a dissertation, the faculty sponsor must be a member of the committee supervising the dissertation. An abstract and table of contents or other contextualizing documents must be submitted as well when the research paper and signature page are turned in to GSWS.

Students should submit a one-page proposal for this paper to the Director and to the GSWS faculty sponsor for approval well in advance of submitting the research paper.

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 (500-1000 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 in which students are enrolled. Students must follow Arts and Sciences Graduate School deadlines for applying for graduation to receive the Certificate. Students must apply to the A&S Graduate School to receive the Cetificate for graduation (even if the student is in another school), 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 one affiliated faculty member, 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-priendly PDF of these requirements

Click here for the certificate application form

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