2022-2023

Women's and Gender Studies, Graduate Certificate

Women's and Gender Studies Program

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Graduate Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies, offered by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, offers historical and contemporary perspectives on women’s contributions to culture, society, politics, academic disciplines, professions, social movements, the arts, and many other elements of human experience.

Students will also examine issues of gender, class, race, age, and sexuality—gaining new vocabulary and perspectives that underscore ways of making sense of the world.

  • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.

    No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 or 4 units) may be used on a certificate program.

    No more than 25% of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.

    A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.

    A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.

    A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.

    Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 12
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Purpose Statement

The Graduate Certificate is designed for master's level students who would like to obtain credentials and interdisciplinary training in Women's and Gender Studies. The graduate certificate will offer you credible, measurable expertise in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies, giving you the competitive edge you need to advance in your specialized career. The graduate certificate may be for you if you are a:

  • master’s student or master’s student considering a PhD level program
  • master’s student in a program that allows you to earn credit by taking some courses outside the major (such as Sociology, Psychology, History, Political Science, Criminal Justice, Anthropology, Communication)
  • “non-degree” seeking student who would like to experience WGS graduate classes before deciding on a graduate program
  • secondary school teacher who would like training in this vital field
  • service professional who would like to acquire credentials in Women’s and Gender Studies

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon earning a WGS Graduate Certificate graduate students will be able to:
  • critically analyze and apply complex theoretical, methodological and expository traditions and frameworks, understand their diverse positions and their implications in Women’s/Gender and Queer Studies.
  • analyze the intersectionality of women’s, queer, and gendered identities along with other institutional hierarchies of domination including race, ethnicity, ability, class, and nation.
  • critically assess women/feminisms/queer studies in an interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary fashion including historically, geographically, sociologically, anthropologically,  and/or through literature and art.
  • understand and explain histories of colonization, processes of globalization and imperialism in relationship to postcolonial and transnational feminisms.
  • comparatively and critically analyze gender experiences within systems of power and privilege in relationship to historical and cultural racial projects in the U.S. 
  • critically comprehend lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex peoples’ intersectional experiences in relation to material and discursive systems of power. 
  • contribute to sophisticated, in-depth discussions and dialogue within a seminar context. 
  • develop a research question, conduct research, and present results effectively in oral and written form, adjusting for appropriate audiences.
  • demonstrate skills of leadership, organization skills, and self-direction toward defined goals.
  • demonstrate skills of cooperation, understand complexities of community building, and use strategic tools for advocacy and social change.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • Responses to specific essay questions
Certificate Requirements
  • Take the following 12 units:


    A typical path for certificate students is to take WGS 600, WGS 601, a WGS elective or other applicable course from another discipline, and 3 units toward graduate project completion (either as a 685/697, or another elective from the student’s primary discipline). However, students have flexibility in which courses they take for these latter two requirements, and are encouraged to take courses that can best inform the WGS aspect of their primary degree and project.

    Please note:
    • We will accept only one 400-level course toward this certificate, pending approval from the WGS director;
    • No courses may be transferred into this plan from another university;
    • Only 3 units of Northern Arizona University coursework prior to admission to the certificate program can be applied to these requirements;
    • We may add additional courses to this list, including one-time offerings. Refer to the Women's and Gender Studies website for current approved courses.
  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.