Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Diversity Studies Certificate Program

Diversity Studies Certificate Program

The 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.

Professor in Charge

Laura Spielvogel
Teaching Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
318 Willard Building
University Park, PA 16802


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