Graduate Certificate in Sexuality & Queer Studies

Application for Graduate Certificate in Sexuality & Queer Studies Form
Registration Request Sexuality & Queer Studies Capstone Form
Sexuality & Queer Studies Special Topics Request Form
Completion of Sexuality & Queer Studies Requirements Form

Background Information

Sexuality is a domain of study in a wide variety of traditional academic disciplines, ranging from Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Statistics and Anthropology to English, Philosophy, the Arts, and History, as well as for many professional fields (e.g. Law, Social Work, Public Health, and Medicine). Indeed, significant aspects of foundational knowledges and methods have been interrogated and reconceptualized through research on sexuality, as that term is understood among and within particular fields.

At the same time, these disciplines of knowledge and professional training have historically naturalized normative forms of (hetero) sexuality, even as they have sought to study sexuality more broadly. This has led to the near impossibility of work within disciplinary formations to represent, query, or queer conceptions and experiences of sex and sexuality without recourse to a comparison to heterosexuality. By contrast, interdisciplinary Queer Studies denaturalizes heterosexuality and interrogates analyses of sexual normativity. It names the emergent body of cutting-edge scholarship as a critical area of inquiry with important methodological, theoretical, and practical contributions. 

Over the past three decades, innovative scholarship has forced a reappraisal of the ‘sexual.’ Pursuing a graduate certificate in Sexuality & Queer Studies will prepare students to participate in this critical and generative scholarship at the University of Washington.

Why should you pursue a graduate certificate in SQS?

The Sexuality and Queer Studies Graduate Certificate provides training in queer methods of social and cultural inquiry. It helps students gain critical knowledge and skills needed for developing theoretically innovative and socially engaged projects that address the challenges of studying sexual communities within disciplines and institutional protocols. More specifically, students who pursue a graduate certificate in Sexuality & Queer Studies can expect to learn the following:

  1. Multiple genealogies of queer scholarship and political practice through courses centered on the foundational work of queer scholars and scholars of queer studies.
  2. The ability to interrogate and analyze the complex intersections of sexualities with other dimensions of societal power through curriculum that address sexuality, race, political economy, and other dimensions of inequality.
  3. The ability to communicate effectively through both writing and speaking on topics related to sexualities and queer studies.

Any matriculating student in a graduate or professional program of the University of Washington is eligible to apply for the Graduate Certificate in Sexuality & Queer Studies. If you’re interested in applying, please review the steps toward successful program completion below prior to submitting your completed application to the GWSS Program Coordinator in-person (PDL B110) or via email (

Steps to Successful Program Completion


  1. Review the certificate requirements outlined in the document below
  2. Identify a GWSS core or adjunct faculty member who will advise you throughout the certificate program
  3. Complete and submit this program application along with your Curriculum Vita (CV)
    *Once your application has been submitted and reviewed, the certificate program will be added to your MyGrad profile

Program Progress

Please note: a minimum grade of 3.0 is required in each course taken toward the certificate
 4. Complete GWSS 464/564 (5 credits)
 5. Complete at least four 400/500 level courses from the list of approved courses (min. 20 credit hours)

  • At least 15 credits must be from graded courses
  • Independent study course work does not satisfy this requirement
  • Courses must be taken for a grade or C/NC, not S/NS
  • Courses not on the approved courses list must be approved by either your certificate advisor or submission of the Special Topics Request Form
  1. Complete a 1-credit capstone course in which you will either deliver a public capstone presentation or write a 5000-word essay developing a framework that ties together two papers you wrote for any two of your required courses, re-write or re-submit two essays from those courses, and reflect on what you have learned from the graduate certificate and how it has changed/impacted your thinking and/or career goals.
    *To register for the capstone, complete the Capstone Registration Request form and email it to the GWSS Program Coordinator ( prior to the start of the quarter

Program Completion

  1. Submit the Completion of Sexuality & Queer Studies Certificate Requirements form before the last day of the quarter in which you intend to complete the certificate program
    *Once your completed form has been received and verified, your certificate will be awarded in MyGrad

Core Course

GWSS 464/564 Queer Desires, will serve as the primary core course along with a Capstone presentation. Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies will offer this course yearly. This course explores desire and the politics of sexuality as gendered, raced, classed, and does so within a transnational analytic framework.


Please refer to the list of Approved Courses for courses that satisfy the elective requirement. These courses range from a wide variety of disciplines, including Social Sciences (Communication, Geography, and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies), Humanities (English and Comparative Literature), other A&S departments (Psychology), and other UW schools and colleges (Law, Public Affairs, Social Work, and UWB and UWT). 

Students may submit a Sexuality & Queer Studies Special Topics Request Form to the GWSS Program Coordinator in-person (PDL B110) or via email ( to request approval for a special topics course to be considered towards the elective requirement.