Certificate & Requirements

How is Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies as a field a distinct enterprise of its own? 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? What are the central questions within the interdisciplinary orbit of Gender Studies and how do these differ from problems defined within disciplines?

These questions, and the history of the field’s formation, guide the intellectual training offered through the Certificate in Feminist Studies at Duke. The aim is to gain familiarity with contemporary Gender Studies, particularly its theoretical resources, as well as reflect upon the formation of this field. The Certificate, and the offerings of the Graduate Scholars Colloquium and other events, prepares students for interdisciplinary writing, research, and teaching beyond the parameters of their departmental or disciplinary focus.

Two primary intellectual impulses structure the Certificate in Feminist Studies: the constitution of Feminist Studies as an interdisciplinary field – or perhaps, a plurality of different versions of interdisciplinarity – 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 genuinely interdisciplinary 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 preliminary exam 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 offers a formal statement of the coursework a student has completed. The certificate operates as a professional credential for students seeking positions after graduation, including academic posts in Gender Studies. At Duke, students enrolled in the certificate program have priority for positions and awards offered by the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies Program.

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 (offered in Spring)
    2. Two graduate courses (600-level or above) in or cross-listed with Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke. Tutorials or Independent Studies do not fulfill this requirement.
    3. One additional graduate-level course or tutorial/independent study (500-level or above): This may be 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. Non-GSF credits must be approved by the DGS to count towards the certificate.
  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.