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LGBTQ Studies

Designed for students already enrolled in a terminal degree program at the University of Michigan, the Certificate in LGBTQ Studies consists of graduate course work totaling 15 credit hours. The Certificate, which can be combined with either a masters or a doctoral degree, aims to:

  • Provide an interdisciplinary analysis of the function of sexuality, and particularly sexual identity, in the construction of individuals, as a form of minority discourse, as a signifier of cultural representations, and as a site of power
  • Examine the processes by which sexual desires, identities, and practices are produced, represented, regulated, and resisted in the U.S. and globally, both in the past and in the present
  • Address sexuality in a way that consistently demonstrates its interconnections to gender, race, ethnicity, and class


The graduate certificate in LGBTQ Studies consists of coursework totalling 15 credits. Core courses provide students with an understanding of feminist approaches to the study of sexuality, while electives provide advanced coursework on LGBTQ issues in and outside of a student's discipline. The certificate culminates in an advanced research project designed to incorporate a LGBTQ perspective.


Introduction to LGBTQ Studies

This course is a high-level introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies, along with its various sub-fields. The seminar is designed for graduate students in all schools and disciplines; it does not assume previous knowledge. The course will survey the overlaps and differences between lesbian and gay male studies, will examine some of the foundational texts of Queer Theory, and will take account of the recent emergence of Transgender Studies. While the field of LGBTQ studies is now too vast to be covered systematically, the course will attempt to provide a sense of the range of that field and some of the current controversies within it. The exact content of the course can also be adjusted to suit the individual needs of the students who choose to enroll in it from one year to the next.

WGS Course on Sexuality

Students are required to take one additional Women's and Gender Studies course on sexuality (3 credits). 


Certificate students are required to take two additional electives (3 credits each). One elective should fall outside of students primary discipline. 

Advanced Research

Every student will carry out a culminating scholarly project that demonstrates how the student has integrated LGBTQ and feminist perspectives with their discipline(s). The final project can be one of the following (or another format to be approved by the Certificate Advisory Committee in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department):

  • Dissertation chapter
  • Prelim
  • Master’s thesis
  • Independent study focused on research
  • Applied project
  • Written component of a professional practicum
  • Portfolio that integrates work in LGBTQ Studies with professional work
  • Audio, visual, or multi-media project from the creative arts

In addition to submitting the final project, the student should submit an abstract and framing statement. These will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee, so the student should elaborate on any disciplinary conventions, terminologies, or practices that may not be readily accessible to an audience outside of the student’s specific area or discipline. The faculty advisor should also submit a statement. The deadline for these materials is November 1 for Fall term graduates and March 1 for Winter term graduates. All components of the WGS 892 should be submitted to the Women’s Studies Graduate Office.

Please see the column to the right for more information about the Advanced Research Project. 

Advanced Research Project


The scholarly project should fall into one of the following categories (formats not falling into any of these categories require approval from the WGS Certificate Advisory Committee):

  • an original piece of research developed specifically for the 892
  • a redeveloped/expanded/revised dissertation chapter, a prelim exam response, master’s thesis, or independent study focused on a research project
  • an applied project, professional portfolio, or written component of a professional practicum
  • a product that represents culminating work in the creative arts (for example, an audio, visual, or multi-media portfolio, with accompanying text or program notes if appropriate)

In addition to submitting the final project, the student should submit:

  • A 250 word abstract of the project
  • A framing statement of 3-5 single-spaced pages which addresses the following questions:
    • What is this project, how is it significant, and how does it fit into your work in graduate school?
    • How does this project draw on LGBTQ, queer and/or feminist perspectives or methodologies?
    • How has this project been informed by coursework completed for the LGBTQ Studies Certificate?
    • How does this project expand the reach of LGBTQ, queer and/or feminist scholarship into your discipline?
    • How does this project contribute to the larger field(s) of LGBTQ, queer and/or feminist studies?
  • Optional: Students may include a description of how they intend to circulate the work to their intended disciplinary audience(s). This might include a description of a relevant conference, journal, edited volume, performance, or exhibit to which the student might submit the work.

Faculty Advisor Statement

In addition to the final project and accompanying documents, students should submit a statement from their faculty advisor with their 892 submission. This advisor statement should include at minimum the following components (one to two pages is typically sufficient, but faculty are free to write more if they wish):

  • Comment on the context(s), quality, and importance of the student’s project
  • Explain the impact of the LGBTQ Studies certificate program on the student as a scholar
  • Explain the impact of the student’s work on the student’s field(s) of study
  • Approve this final project as the culmination of the LGBTQ Studies Certificate.