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Diversity Studies Certificate Program

diversity certificate.jpgThe Diversity Studies certificate is an interdisciplinary and online program of study that explores social difference and inequality related to gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, aging, religion, and disability. How we experience and view the world around us, the opportunities presented to us, and even the people that we surround ourselves with are constrained by invisible and unconscious systems of power. These systems organize our schools, workplaces, healthcare systems, criminal justice system, and media, and reproduce inequality rooted in ignoring or downplaying diversity. The Diversity Studies certificate will encourage students to take an intersectional approach to expose, critique, and confront historical and contemporary sources of social inequality. This certificate will enable students to complement their existing course portfolio by providing an opportunity to deepen their knowledge around issues of difference through a broad range of interdisciplinary coursework. An interdisciplinary approach will make it easier for students to see connections across disciplines and allow them to cluster their coursework in a meaningful and related way. The Diversity Studies certificate is designed to encourage reflection on the ethical challenges that arise when we become aware of how privilege, power, and difference are embedded in our world and daily lives. The aim is to move the discourse away from mere tolerance, celebration or appreciation to a deeper understanding and critique of discrimination, intolerance, and inequality in the historical and contemporary global society.

The certificate will provide students with skills vital to careers in fields such as human resources, non-profit agencies, social welfare, education, and health and medicine. We have designed the certificate around an intersectional perspective that invites students to see the ways that race, class, gender, disability, sexuality, etc. operate together in overlapping and conflicting ways to affect all aspects of human experience.

See this program's listing: Undergraduate Bulletin

Professor in Charge

Laura Spielvogel
Teaching Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Julianna Chaszar
127A Burrowes Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-8559
Schedule an appointment:


Prescribed Online Courses (3 Credits)

The one PRESCRIBED course for the certificate, introduces students to this intersectional perspective and situates discussions of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability within institutional spaces that include: education, the family, work, religion, the criminal justice system, and the media. After completing this course, students are then required to take 3 credits of ADDITIONAL COURSES that include AFAM 100, WMNST 100, WMNST 106, and ENGL 245/WMNST 245.

Specific Additional Online Courses (3 Credits)

  • AFAM 100: Living While Black: Themes in African American Thought and Experience
  • WMNST 100: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
  • WMNST 106: Representing Women and Gender in Literature, Art and Popular Cultures
  • WMNST/ENGL 245: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies

Additional Online Courses (6 Credits)


How to Declare a Diversity Studies Certificate

2 Steps:

1) Self-application

2) Emailing the director of the certificate (

Once you have completed the 12 required credits for the certificate, you must FIRST self-apply for Certificate Enrollment through Update Academics in your Student Services Center on Lionpath. Be sure to select the Liberal Arts Diversity Studies Certificate (NOT the University College Diversity Studies Certificate through Shenango). Once this step is completed, you MUST email Laura Spielvogel, the director of the certificate ( and she will work with the WGSS department staff to verify completion and to submit a form to the registrar. We have no way of knowing if a student has completed the courses for the certificate without email notification. Lionpath does not inform us when students have self-applied for certificate enrollment. After these two steps are completed (self-application and emailing the director), you will receive a certificate from the Registrars Office through the mail, when you graduate. Congratulations!




Students select 3 credits from:

  • AFAM 100: Living While Black: Themes in African American Thought and Experience
  • WMNST 100: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
  • WMNST 106: Representing Women and Gender in Literature, Art and Popular Cultures
  • WMNST/ENGL 245: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies

Students select 6 credits from:

  • AFAM/SOC 409: Racial and Ethnic Inequality in America
  • AFR 110: Introduction to Contemporary Africa
  • AMST 140: Religion in American Life and Thought
  • ANTH 1: Understanding Humans
  • ANTH 45: Cultural Diversity: A Global Perspective
  • ANTH 146: Indigenous North America
  • ASIA 100: What is Asia
  • BBH 302: Diversity and Health
  • BBH 315: Gender and Biobehavioral Health
  • CAS 271N: Intercultural Communication
  • CAS 426W: Communication Ethics
  • CAS 475: Studies in Public Address
  • CAS 455: Gender Roles in Communication
  • CMLIT 10: World Literatures
  • CMLIT 153: International Cultures; Film and Literature
  • COMM 205: Gender, Diversity and the Media
  • CRIM/SOC 201: Presumed Innocent? Social Science of Wrongful Conviction
  • CSD 269: Deaf Culture
  • FR 139: France and the French-Speaking World
  • HDFS 254N: Reading Our Lives: Understanding Diversity and Human Development through Memoirs
  • HDFS 249N: Adult Development and Aging
  • HDFS 250: Sexual Identity over the Life Span
  • HIST 447: Recent American History
  • HIST 479: History of Imperialism and Nationalism in Africa
  • JST 10: Jewish Civilization
  • LER/WMNST 136: Race, Gender, and Employment
  • LER 458Y/HIST458Y: History of Work in America
  • LER/RHS 410: Employment Strategies for People with Disabilities
  • OLEAD 410: Leadership in a Global Context
  • OLEAD 411: Women and Leadership
  • PLSC 110: Rights in America
  • RHS 100: Introduction to Disability Culture
  • RLST 1: Introduction to World Religions
  • RPTM 120: Leisure and Human Behavior
  • SOC 35: Sociology of Aging
  • SOC 119 (4 credits): Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 456: Gender, Occupations, and Professions
  • SPLED 461: Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders: Issues and Concerns
  • WMNST 100: Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality, Studies
  • WMNST 120: Sex, Gender, and the Body (in development for SP21)
  • WMNST/ENGL 245: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies