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Certificate and Cluster Requirements

Program Overview

The Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS) program brings together dynamic faculty and graduate students conducting research in the theory and history of gender, feminism, and sexuality studies. GSS draws from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, training students in core concepts of gender and sexuality studies while also mentoring students as they incorporate elements of this scholarship into interdisciplinary research projects centered in other departments and programs. While the majority of our students are pursuing Ph.D.s in programs housed within Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication, or the Bienen School of Music, we have also forged connections with MA and MFA programs on campus and, when possible, with students in other colleges at Northwestern.

In general, students are encouraged to begin their participation in GSS in their first year of graduate study. During that year, students typically will take Advanced Feminist Theory (GNDR_ST 405) and Queer Theory (GNDR_ST 490) or Sociology of Sexuality (GNDR_ST 490). After completing the foundational courses, students should confer with their thesis advisors and their Gender Studies Graduate Advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies to determine the direction of their course work and research or performance project.

Download the Cluster/Certificate progress report and advising form

Interdisciplinary Cluster in Gender and Sexuality Studies

The cluster provides basic training in gender and sexuality studies and is an alternative to Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies (for those students whose schedules do not allow for the completion of certificate requirement). The cluster is open to all interested graduate students.

Prospective graduate students interested in participating in this program should indicate their interest when they apply to their respective graduate programs. Some students will be invited to Northwestern as Mellon-funded fellows of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Cluster. 

Students in established departmental graduate programs can also participate in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduate Cluster. Note: This credential does not appear on transcripts. Most students proceed to the Certificate. 

Cluster requirements

Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies is designed to give students in Northwestern graduate programs advanced training in gender and sexuality studies. Many students view the Certificate as an important credential as they establish careers in scholarship and teaching positions that combine that combine traditional academic disciplines with interdisciplinary work in gender and sexuality studies. This credential appears on transcripts. 

Certificate requirements

Core Courses regularly taught by Gender and Sexuality Studies Faculty

Here is the current year's course offerings.

Members of the Graduate Faculty with joint appointments in Gender and Sexuality Studies

Héctor Carrillo (Sociology and GSS)
Nick Davis (English and GSS)
Mary G. Dietz (Political Science and GSS)
Tessie P. Liu (History and GSS)
Jeffrey Masten (English and GSS)
Ann Orloff (Sociology)
Mary Weismantel (Anthropology)

other Gender and Sexuality Studies Faculty Affiliates

Many additional Northwestern faculty members teach and advise Gender and Sexuality Studies students. Faculty affiliated with Gender and Sexuality Studies hold appointments in more than twenty departments and in several schools of the university. Please consult our website for a  full list of faculty affiliates.

For further information and specific questions email the Director of Graduate Studies at