College of General Studies

Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

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The undergraduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary academic program providing students with the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the changing role that gender plays, both in the United States and around the world. The GSWS Certificate is housed in the College of General Studies and offered in partnership with the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies program. Participants benefit from the academic instruction of GSWS faculty and the nontraditional student services available through the College of General Studies.

Students who want to explore the intersection of gender with race, class, ethnicity, ability, and sexual orientation will find courses of interest, as will students who want to know more about the role of women in history, literature and the arts, media, and science. Students who are planning careers in medicine, the creative arts, social work, education, counseling, law, therapy, and business often find that a background in women’s studies enhances their professional activities.

Admission and Application Requirements

Students must meet College of General Studies certificate application requirements and complete an application form online. For more information, visit

In addition, prospective and current students are expected to schedule a meeting with the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Frayda Cohen [] and complete the UNDERGRADUATE CERTIFICATE ADVISING FORM. The form should be filed as early as possible and no later than the semester prior to graduation. The form is available from Dr. Cohen. 

Certificate Requirements

The Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies is an 18-credit certificate.

  • Transfer courses will be accepted on a case-by-case basis up to a maximum of two courses. 
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher is required in courses being applied to the certificate. 
  • A minimum of 12 credits must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • The GSWS Certificate may not be pursued concurrently with the B.A. in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies or with the GSWS minor.
  • All certificate students are expected to meet at least once per year with the GSWS advisor to update their files and discuss what courses are needed to fulfill certificate requirements.

Core Courses

A minimum of two courses (six credits) are required (preferably to be completed early in the student’s academic program).

GSWS0100Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
GSWS0500Introduction to Feminist Theory or
GSWS0550Sex and Sexualities

Students are advised to take all three core courses to cover the key areas represented by the program (in which case one course counts as an elective, below).

Elective Courses

Three elective courses (9 credits) must be taken from at least two different academic departments (with GSWS as one possible unit.) Visit the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies department Web site for a full listing of approved courses, including such courses as:

ADMJ1242Gender, Race, Class, and Crime
AFRCNA0454Man/Woman Literature
ANTH0768Human Sexuality in Cross-Cultural Perspective
ENGCMP0203Seminar in Composition: Gender Studies
ENGLIT0610Women and Literature
ENGLIT0630Sexuality and Representation
FR0012French Kiss
GSWS0200Sex, Race, and Popular Culture
GSWS0600Global LGBTQ Literature
LEGLST1315Sex, Law, and Marriage
PSY0184Psychology of Gender
SOC0446Sociology of Gender
SOC1448Working Women

Either GSWS 1900 Internship or GSWS 1901 Independent Study may be used to meet one of these course requirements, but in this case the two other courses must each be in different departments. These two courses require special arrangements; please consult with the GSWS advisor.

Interdisciplinary Course

Choose one advanced GSWS course (three credits); GSWS 0100 and GSWS 0500 (or GSWS 0550) are prerequisites for these courses.

GSWS1140Special Topics in GSWS
GSWS1150Global Feminisms
GSWS1170Queer Theory
GSWS1180Politics of Gender and Food
GSWS1235Language, Gender, and Society
GSWS1450Gender and Sustainability

Requirements subject to change. Check with an academic advisor before registering.

As of Spring 2015 (Term 2154), the subject designation GSWS replaces WOMNST.  Courses taken prior to that under a WOMNST number will count toward the certificate.  

Students can use the insight and experience gained in the Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program to provide qualified leadership in employment in numerous fields, such as academia, activism and organizing, advertising, radio, teaching, health care, political science, criminal justice, law, psychology, social work, sociology, journalism, communications, and public relations.
Source: World Wide Learn