Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Certificate

Pay equity. Gender equality. Human rights. These issues are relevant in today’s workplace and in our everyday lives. Understanding the role gender and sexuality play in local and global society can benefit professionals in fields as disparate as law, medicine, and the creative arts.  

Career Outlook

Students can use the insight and experience gained in a field such as gender, sexuality, and women’s studies 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.

This 18 credit, interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate is housed in the College of General Studies and offered in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh's Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program. This program offers a diverse course selection from a range of academic departments; from history and anthropology, to literature and religion. The historical context gained -- as well as the exploration of contemporary diversity issues and social structures -- is valuable to virtually any career path in today’s ever-changing world.

CGS Difference

CGS offers a small college atmosphere with all the benefits of a large research institution. You’ll see this in the rigor of our academics, in access to university-wide resources, and through our world-wide alumni network.

The certificate is available as a stand-alone option or can be pursued as part of a degree.

Credit Requirements

The gender, sexuality, and women’s studies (GSWS) certificate requires 18 credits, including six (6) credits of core classes, nine (9) elective credits (which must be taken from two academic departments), and one (1) advanced GSWS course.

  • Transfer courses will be accepted on a case-by-case basis up to a maximum of two (2) 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 undergraduate advisor to update their files and discuss what courses are needed to fulfill certificate requirements.

Core Courses: (6 Credits)

A minimum of two (2) courses are required (preferably to be completed early in the student’s academic program).

Catalog Number Title Credits
GSWS 0100 Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies 3
GSWS 0500 Introduction to Feminist Theory 3
GSWS 0550 Sex and Sexualities 3

Students are advised to take all three (3) core courses to cover the key areas represented by the program (in which case one course counts as an elective, below).

Elective Courses: (9 Credits)

Three elective courses must be taken from at least two different academic departments (GSWS can count as one of these 2 departments). Courses must be approved for GSWS credit (consult Pitt's Course Catalog for current listings). Some approved courses are:

Catalog Number Title Credits
ADMJ 1242 Gender, Race, Class and Crime 3
AFRCNA 0454 Man/Woman Literature 3
ANTH 0768 Human Sexuality in Cross-Cultural Perspective 3
ENGCMP 0203 Seminar in Composition: Gender Studies 3
ENGLIT 0610 Woman and Literature 3
ENGLIT 0630 Sexuality and Representation 3
FR 0012 French Kiss: Love, Sex, France 3
GSWS 0200 Sex, Race and Popular Culture 3
GSWS 0600 Global LGBTQ Literature 3
LEGLST 1315 Sex, Law and Marriage 3
PSY 0184 Psychology of Gender 3
SOC 0446 Sociology of Gender 3
SOC 1448 Working Women 3

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 undergraduate advisor.

Interdisciplinary Course: (3 Credits)

Choose one (1) advanced, upper-level GSWS course (three credits); GSWS 0100 and GSWS 0500 (or GSWS 0550) are prerequisites for some of the courses. Below is a sample list of approved courses:

Catalog Number Title Credits
GSWS 1140 Special Topics in GSWS 3
GSWS 1150 Global Feminism 3
GSWS 1170 Queer Theory 3
GSWS 1180 Politics of Gender and Food 3
GSWS 1190 Masculinities 3
GSWS 1235 Language, Gender and Society 3
GSWS 1300 Wanderlust: Sex and Gender in Global Tourism 3
GSWS 1450 Gender and Sustainability  3

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. 

Tip: Download our handy planning checklist to track your progress towards your CGS program requirements.

Important: As you plan your certificate coursework, please make sure to review the CGS Course Overlap policy for information on how many courses can be double-counted if a student elects to pursue a CGS certificate in combination with other CGS and non-CGS majors, minors, and certificates. If you have questions, please contact your CGS advisor or CGS Advising at CGSAdv@pitt.edu.

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