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Graduate Certificate

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Graduate Certificate

The Women's and Gender Studies Graduate Certificate provides an interdisciplinary and intersectional graduate education focusing on feminist thought and methodologies. The certificate can be taken to complement an existing degree program for OU graduate students. Non-degree students may enroll directly in the certificate program, which can help them with career goals in areas such as education and non-profit work. 

Any Women’s and Gender Studies faculty member who holds an M1, M2 or M3 Graduate Faculty status through the Graduate College may serve as the student’s graduate WGS adviser, as academically relevant to the particular program of study.

A graduate certificate is not a graduate degree. A graduate degree represents a program of independent inquiry beyond the depth of coursework alone, while a graduate certificate represents a set of courses only.

  • All courses must be taken at OU. No transfer credit will apply.
  • No course substitutions are permitted for graduate certificates.
  • Coursework applied to a graduate certificate cannot be more than five years old as of the semester the graduate certificate is awarded.
  • Students must earn a grade point average of 3.00 or higher on all coursework applied to the graduate certificate.

Certificate Requirements

13 total hours required (4 hours of core courses and 9 hours of guided electives)

Required Core Courses

  • WGS 5001 Women's and Gender Studies Colloquium (1 hour): Discussion and review of the major debates and literature in the field with an emphasis on feminist research methods and approaches. Students will be exposed to approaches to women's and gender studies in such major disciplines as anthropology, sociology, political science, education, English, history, communication, human relations, modern languages, etc.
  • WGS 5123 Contemporary Feminist Thought (3 hours): This course offers a survey of the core concepts and texts of feminist theory. It is intended to expose students to the major works in feminist theory, as well as critiques and scholarly analysis of them. It begins with a discussion of the roots of feminist theory, focusing in particular on the public/private dichotomy in liberal political theory and its implications for women. It then moves on to an examination of the major works and disputes within the first, second and third waves of American (and to a lesser extent European) liberal feminism. The second part of the course treats alternatives to liberal feminist thought beginning with the Marx and existential feminism and moving to radical, cultural and multicultural feminism. The third part of the course treats the impact of postmodernism on feminist thought and the rise of global feminism.

Elective Specialty

Nine credit hours selected from courses approved for graduate study in Women's and Gender Studies or other courses as approved by the graduate committee and director to make a coherent program of study.

Application Process

Students wishing to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies must complete the application through the Graduate College, which can be found here

Applicants will need to upload a statement of purpose that outlines their background and qualifications, explains how the graduate certificate will enhance their program of study, and/or how it will contribute to their professional goals. The statement of purpose should be accompanied by the completed WGS Graduate Certificate Application Form, which can be found here.

Current OU graduate students who are adding the WGS Graduate Certificate to their existing degree program will need one letter of recommendation. Applicants who are not current OU graduate students are required to submit two letters of recommendation.

After acceptance into the WGS Graduate Certificate Program, the student will meet with the graduate liaison or a member of the graduate committee to select the courses most congruent with their program of study. Please note that WGS 5001 and WGS 5123 (required for the graduate certificate) are currently offered in the fall semester only.

If you have questions about the WGS Graduate Certificate Program, please contact the department chair Dr. Traci Brynne Voyles ( or Susy Jorgenson (