University of Pittsburgh

MA Certificate Requirements

The Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality 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 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 Women's Studies 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 Women’s Studies.

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 Women's Studies. 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 WOMNST 2902 (Directed Study).

WS2252 ("Theories of Gender and Sexuality"), offered regularly, is required and counts 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 by two affiliated faculty members. Students must submit their paper and the signature page to those affiliated faculty [who must be officially listed on the GSWS AF faculty page] and then deliver the signature page to the GSWS Office for inclusion in the student's file.

Students must also compose a 300-600 word concept statement in which they articulate their "field" of study (loosely defined) and how it relates to interdisciplinary approaches to gender/sexuality/women's studies.  This statement must be turned in to the Director of the program at least 10 days before the graduate paperwork is due.

Students should register with Women’s Studies 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, but that course cannot replace the requirement of WOMNST courses taken in 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 women’s studies, but should be a sustained piece of graduate-level work, prepared under the supervision of a faculty advisor appointed by the Director of the Women’s Studies Program 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 Women’s Studies 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 of Women’s Studies and to the Women’s Studies faculty advisor when appointed. The completed paper must be read by two affiliated faculty members, usually the faculty advisor and another affiliated faculty member.

Graduate Certificate Procedures

All Women’s Studies Certificates are issued through the School of Arts and Sciences, regardless of the graduate school you are enrolled in. You must follow Arts and Sciences deadlines for applying for degrees to receive your Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. A late fee is assessed if you miss the deadline.
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 two faculty members, each of whom 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

A separate certificate will be mailed to you after graduation. It is important to make sure that the Program has a current mailing address.

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