Students in the Women’s & Gender Studies (WGS) graduate certificate program extend their work in other disciplines by exploring feminist theoretical perspectives and analyzing the structural and interpersonal dimensions of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. To earn the certificate, students complete nine credit hours of course work, listed below.
- How can I meet other WGS graduate students?
- Am I eligible for this certificate program?
- Can I fit this certificate into my schedule?
- Can I receive any funding for it?
- How can I apply?
- What are the certificate requirements?
Sharon Elber, Enid Montague, and Barbara Ellen Smith at the 2007 program retreat
How can I meet other WGS graduate students?
Women's & Gender Studies graduate students interested in meeting other WGS graduate students, may contact Sharon Elber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Am I eligible for this certificate program?
Students enrolled at either the master's or doctoral level in a regular academic program may be accepted into the WGS Graduate Certificate Program. Thesis or dissertation work must be on a topic related to women's studies or feminist scholarship more broadly. Students may also pursue the certificate as a free-standing program of study, but must first be admitted to the Graduate School.
Can I fit this into my schedule?
Graduate students earning degrees in other departments can normally fit the requirements for the certificate into their program of graduate study so that the time needed to complete the graduate degree in their basic discipline is not unreasonably extended by simultaneously pursuing the Certificate.
State residents enrolling at Virginia Tech just to pursue the WGS Graduate Certificate are required to do an outreach project or project for their work in an applied setting (option 3b below). This way, both already enrolled graduate students and Certificate-only students are applying the insights from their WGS coursework to a specific research or applied-setting agenda.
All students complete nine semester hours of work selected from the list below. The graduate seminars foreground the epistemological and pedagogical bases for studies that take gender, sexuality, and inequality as centrally constitutive analytic categories, and offer students the opportunity to present and critique each other's work-in-progress in an interdisciplinary environment. Because many WGS faculty affiliates teach graduate seminars on feminist topics in their own departments, we sometimes consider course substitution requests, but would encourage students to take the specific sequence we offer.
Can receive any funding for it?
Graduate students earning the Certificate will be invited to teach WGS courses as teaching assistants or instructors whenever possible (in other words, Certificate students will be prioritized for instructor positions available) as part of the academic experience and mentoring offered in the certificate program. Others will have the opportunity to do teaching or research assistantships when funding allows.
How can I apply?
All those interested in the Graduate Certificate in Women's & Gender Studies should confer with the Director of the WGS Program (Dr. Barbara Ellen Smith) prior to submitting a program of study to the Graduate School, and also fill out the online Application for a Graduate Certificate in Women's & Gender Studies:
- fill out form in consultation with director
- submit copies to both the director and the graduate school.
WGS faculty consider applications on a case-by-case basis throughout the academic year. There is no cost to students wishing to apply for or enroll in the WGS Graduate Certificate Program. There is a cost for nonstudent residents taking graduate courses at Virginia Tech (See the VT Graduate School for information on enrolling).
What are the requirements of this certificate?
A student already enrolled in a graduate program at Virginia Tech must:
- be pursuing, or planning to pursue, research (i.e., a thesis or dissertation project) with a focus on gender and inequality. Students in disciplines that do not require a thesis must undertake a major independent project. One member of the student’s advisory committee must be a WGS faculty affiliate.
- complete three graduate courses in WGS:
- Foundations of Women's & Gender Studies (WS 5114), for those new to academic studies of feminism
- any other WGS graduate course or an approved non-WGS elective (which must substantially address issues related to women, gender, and/or sexuality from a feminist perspective)
- Feminist Theory (WS 5914)
- WGS Graduate Workshop (WS 5924)
A student with a baccalaureate degree but not currently enrolled in a graduate program may substitute, for a thesis or dissertation project, a thesis-level report of an outreach project or work in an applied setting on gender and inequality, with content approved by the WGS director.
Graduate students interested in the graduate certificate in WGS should contact the director at email@example.com. The director is a source of academic guidance and advice, and is in charge of formally enrolling students in the certificate program. Any student accepted into the Graduate School at Virginia Tech is eligible to pursue the certificate.