GW broke new ground in 1972 when it started the first graduate program in women’s studies.
Now, 27 years later, the department will offer a graduate certificate for students who already are enrolled in doctoral degree programs and non-degree students who have at least a bachelor’s degree, Cynthia Deitch, assistant director of the women’s studies department, said.
Deitch said the new certificate is part of a nationwide trend to add graduate certificate programs in different departments, making it easier for students working on their doctorates to add something similar to a minor on the undergraduate level to their programs of study. She also said programs that offer certificates can help attract non-degree students.
“Sometimes people like to take courses even if they’re not getting a degree, but they still want something to show for it,” she said.
Deitch said the addition of the new certificate will strengthen the department’s connection with other graduate degree programs within the University and will allow departments to offer a larger variety of courses, but will not necessitate employing extra resources or funds.
“It makes perfect sense,” she said.
Deitch said other schools, such as the University of Maryland, have created graduate certificates in women’s studies and have been successful. Neighbor Howard University is also working on developing a certificate, Deitch said.
To obtain a certificate, students must complete 18 credit hours, including a nine-hour core requirement. The remaining credits are chosen, in consultation with the women’s studies certificate advisor, from graduate level women’s studies and departmental courses. Although students can complete the requirements in two semesters, they are more likely to stretch them through three or four semesters, Deitch said.
Deitch said the department has already received six inquiries and is hoping to have more people participate in the program.