Certificate & Requirements

Is Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies as a field a distinct enterprise of its own? Is its interdisciplinarity something more than the summation of discipline-based work on women and gender? Are there specific knowledge traditions, critical vocabularies, and methodological presumptions that attach to Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies as a field in its own right?

In the context of these questions and the history of the field’s formation, the faculty in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke considered what kind of intellectual training graduate students in Feminist Studies needed. What do we believe constitutes "training"? How would we seek to guarantee intellectual coherency and a kind of interdisciplinary expertise for students who complete a limited number of courses? What courses and in which sequence seemed best to develop advanced knowledge about Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies scholarship, methodology, and critical paradigms? Also at issue is how graduate students encounter pedagogical training in the field: what experience should they have in instruction? How will they be prepared for interdisciplinary writing, research, and teaching?

Two primary intellectual impulses structure the Certificate in Feminist Studies: the genealogy of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies as an interdiscipline that marshals multiple disciplinary approaches to examine the constitution of gender and the feminist critical practices; and the emergence of feminist theory as field of inquiry that critically engages the project of knowledge production itself.

In order to train students to engage the most sophisticated scholarship the Certificate in Feminist Studies is organized around three major components:

  • a foundations course serves as a prerequisite to work in the certificate;
  • a requirement that the majority of courses originate in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies
  • a member of the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies Graduate Faculty serve on the student’s prelim or dissertation committee.

The intellectual range and depth of the Certificate will help students articulate the core knowledge project of the field as a discrete academic enterprise, and link the study of women, gender, sexuality, race, and feminism in the disciplines together. This is the intellectual goal of the Certificate in Feminist Studies. 

Although all students are welcome to take Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies graduate courses, the certificate is a formal statement of the interdisciplinary coursework a student has completed, and is a useful professional credential for students seeking positions after graduation. Students who have earned the certificate have priority for the teaching and research assistant positions available through Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, and are credentialed by the Program for academic appointments in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies.

Requirements for the Certificate in Feminist Studies

To earn a Certificate in Feminist Studies, students must:

  1. Complete 4 courses*:
    1. One required course:  GSF 701S—Foundations in Feminist Theory
    2. Two graduate courses (600-level or above) in or cross-listed with Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke. Tutorials do not fulfill this requirement.
    3. One additional graduate-level course or tutorial (500-level or above) offered by Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies or another academic unit focusing on women, gender, or an intersectional approach to the study of race and/or sexuality. (Courses must be approved by the DGS.)
  2. Make women, gender, sexuality, or feminism a significant aspect of his/her preliminary examination or dissertation project.
  3. Have a member of the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies Core, Secondary, or Graduate Faculty on the preliminary examination and dissertation committees. (See People for complete list of approved faculty for this requirement. The approved Graduate Faculty are all primary and secondary faculty for GSF plus those listed under "Graduate.") 

*Note: Audited courses do not count toward certificate; nor does previously taken M.A. coursework at Duke or elsewhere.

To help you keep track of the Certificate Requirements please download the Graduate Certificate Worksheet.

Enrollment

To enroll in the certificate program, complete the online application.

Please note that the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies can no longer accept inter-institutional applications for the Certificate in Feminist Studies.