Shelf of books written by UW-Madison's Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty

The Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) curriculum provides a platform for students to study how equity and social justice are connected to gender, sexuality, and identity. Gender and Women's Studies students explore the field through traditional disciplines, such as literature, history, anthropology, sociology, public health, education, law, biology, psychology, political science, and the visual arts.

The certificate program requires 15 credits of coursework in gender and women's studies. Students can tailor the certificate to reflect their interests, complement their major or plan for graduate or professional school. 

Intent to pursue the certificate can be declared by meeting with the Department of Gender and Women's Studies undergraduate advisor or completing this online declaration form. Declaring the certificate as early as possible allows students to best align certificate coursework with their interests.

Students declared in the Gender and Women's Studies major are not eligible to declare the Certificate in Gender and Women's Studies at the Undergraduate Level.


Requirements for the Certificate

15 credits of which at least 12 credits are in GEN&WS courses, to include: 1



Natural and Biological science


Additional courses in GEN&WS to reach 15 credits for the certificate6
Total Credits6

Students cannot take courses pass/fail for credit in the certificate.


 Students may not take both GEN&WS 101 and GEN&WS 102 for the certificate.


  • 2.000 GPA in all certificate credits
  • 9 credits at the intermediate or advanced level
  • 8 credits in residence

Undergraduate/Special Student Certificates

This certificate may be completed within the context of an undergraduate degree or as a Special student after an undergraduate degree has been awarded from any institution. The certificate may be completed in its entirety while enrolled as a Special student. Candidates are encouraged to contact the certificate coordinator to discuss course enrollment and the sequencing of certificate requirements. 

Please note that:

1) Students cannot take courses pass/fail for credit in the certificate.

2) Gen&WS 101 and Gen&WS 102 cannot both count towards the courses required for the for Gender & Women's Studies certificate.

The Department of Gender and Women's Studies developed the following learning outcomes for undergraduate certificate students:

  1. Demonstrate interdisciplinary understanding of core concepts and debates in Gender and Women's Studies.
  2. Demonstrate the practical skills related to Gender and Women's Studies, such as critical thinking and analysis, inquiry, and written and oral communication.
  3. Understand the interdisciplinary nature of Gender and Women's Studies research and connect this scholarship to the institutions that shape everyday life.
  4. Develop Gender and Women's Studies knowledge, skills, and social engagement and demonstrate how these ideas can be applied to new settings, ideas, and understandings.

Connecting and working with the undergraduate advisor in Gender and Women's Studies as early as possible helps you create a meaningful course plan and stay on track as you complete the certificate requirements.

The undergraduate advisor is available to consult on a variety of topics including: declaring the certificate, course selection, study abroad, volunteer and internship opportunities on campus and in the community, applying to graduate programs, and preparing for the job market after graduation.

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.