WS Graduate Certificate

The Department of Women's Studies proudly offers a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women's Studies (AdWS Certificate). This certificate program provides a rigorous, integrated/interdisciplinary and relevant educational experience for students whose education and career objectives will be enhanced by creative, critical, and scholarly feminist lens of analysis.

The program guides students to: examine the factors that affect the status of women across cultures and through time; critique and analyze theories and assumptions about women in various disciplines; contribute to the reformulation of social knowledge; explore institutionalizing social change that highlights and supports the achievements of women locally and internationally; and understand the usefulness of gender as an analytical tool in many fields.

Graduate studies leading to the AdWS Certificate are focused in four broad areas under the general rubric of gender studies:

  1. Feminist methods of inquiry and theoretical analysis: Students will explore sex and gender as analytical categories, asking what these categories mean, what purposes are served by the prevailing binary notions of gender, and how gender is constituted in past, current, and future social, biological, cultural, and economic contexts.
  2. Feminist knowledge: Students will learn about the pervasive impact of gender relations on thoughts, actions, and prevailing constructions of reality. They also will become acquainted with an array of feminist theories and arguments about such issues as political action, reproduction, and sexual orientation.
  3. Sex and gender and social-political categories of power and privilege: Students will examine the interaction of sex and gender with race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, and other primary vectors of power and privilege as relevant to nearly all domains of human experience. They will have opportunities to explore the dynamics of these interactions with emphasis on the evolving multicultural milieu of Hawai'i and the Asia/Pacific region.
  4. Sources of sex and gender differences: Students will examine both the empirical and philosophical debates concerning sameness and difference as these relate to the topic of gender. Sources of gender and sex differences as well as the significance of these also will be considered.

The AdWS Certificate will help students learn to apply feminist methodologies, analyses and problem-solving to their other academic fields, and to integrate the rigors of the scholarship on gender into their chosen professions as a means of enhancing their professional lives and opportunities for advancement.

L. Ayu Saraswati

Graduate Certificate Advising

Students who wish to acquire a WS Graduate Certificate should contact L. Ayu Saraswati.

Curriculum and Requirements

The AdWS Certificate Program consists of a minimum of 18 credits, at least 12 of which must be at the 600 level or higher. Nine of these credits must come from the following four Women's Studies courses:

  • WS 610 Faculty Seminar Series (1 credit): The seminar introduces students to the faculty and affiliates of the certificate program who present their ongoing research in weekly meetings of this seminar series.
  • WS 613 Feminist Research and Methods of Inquiry (3 credits): The course explores feminist research methodologies and focuses on how similar objects of study are constituted in different disciplines for feminist scholars.
  • WS 615 Interdisciplinary Feminist Theory (3 credits): The course examines selected ideas from contemporary feminist theory concerning power, knowledge, and the constitution of women.
  • WS 650 Research in Feminist Studies/Capstone Experience (2 credits): In lieu of a comprehensive exam, each student will design, develop and complete a research and/or community involvement project to culminate in a publishable quality work or comparable product and a professional quality seminar presentation.

Remaining credits will be drawn from a list of courses approved by the Women's Studies graduate advisor. All students will work with a specific adviser to develop an AdWS Certificate curriculum based on their academic majors that best supports their academic and professional goals and objectives. Up to 6 credits towards the certificate may be taken in the student's home department provided that department's curriculum includes courses approved by Women's Studies.

Each student enrolled in the AdWS Certificate program will design, develop, and complete an original research and/or community involvement project to culminate in a publishable-quality work or comparable product, and a professional quality seminar presentation given in the student's final semester of the program.


Students may pursue the graduate certificate in advanced women's studies while simultaneously working on a masters or doctoral degree in another field or as a standalone certificate program.

To apply to the graduate certificate in advanced women's studies program, please submit:

  1. The "Concurrent Graduate Certificate Program Application" form and the application fee to the Graduate Division. (Please note: If you are applying to the AdWS Certificate as a standalone program, you will ONLY need to submit "Graduate Admissions Application and Fee Payment Form" to the Graduate Division. You must also submit your transcripts from all post secondary college/universities attended. International applicants may also be required to submit the academic IELTS or TOEFL language proficiency test.)
  2. The following supplemental materials to the Department of Women's Studies:
    1. A letter of interest, indicating the reasons you are interested in women's studies certificate, and your long-term goals (personal, professional, political).
    2. Letter(s) of recommendation. This can be either one letter from a faculty of the UHM-WS program, or, three letters of recommendation (which can be released from home graduate program to the Women's Studies Program).
    3. Academic transcripts.
    4. A writing sample such as an article or term paper (optional).

March 31 for admission the following fall semester.
October 31 for spring semester admission.
Applications received after these dates will be considered on a case-by-case basis as space allows.

Please send applications to:

Graduate Advisor, Women's Studies

2424 Maile Way
Saunders Hall (Room 722)
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

Honolulu HI 96822