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Department of Women's Studies

Department of Women's Studies

Diversity Studies Undergraduate Certificate Program
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Diversity Studies Undergraduate Certificate Program

Undergraduate Certificate Program

Diversity Studies (DIVSTD)

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. Given the breadth of courses currently offered through World Campus on diversity, as well as the relative flexibility of the proposed certificate, new course development is minimal. Delivery of coursework exclusively through existing online courses will allow the most flexibility to our diverse student population. 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.

WMNST 105, 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. These courses were selected because they all explicitly take this intersectional approach to understanding social identity, privilege and inequality. After the completion of at least 6 introductory credits, students should be conversant in intersectional, feminist, and critical theory and able to:

  1. Apply basic theories of identity, difference, social power and privilege to a wide range of textual and visual materials, and to their own interactions in the context of day-to-day life.
  2. Critically engage how race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, and disability have been constructed in the United States.
  3. Consider transnational dimensions of similar dynamics and contrast these with the United States context.
  4. Identify and analyze the multiple ways individuals, communities, and social movements have resisted and remade categories of identity and changed relations of power over time and space.
  5. Recognize and explore the constructions of social identity.

For the 6 remaining credits for the certificate, students are given the freedom to choose SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS according to their particular area of interest and/or career focus, be it Human Development and Family Studies, Sociology, Anthropology or Communication Arts and Sciences. We have carefully reviewed the syllabi for all of the courses to be included in the certificate to ensure that, despite having different programmatic orientations, all adhere to a common commitment to understanding power and inequality from a social justice perspective. Given the number of online courses at our university that examine issues of diversity, it is important to allow students to select a portion of their certificate coursework based on what will be most interesting and useful to them in their academic and professional lives.

Professor in Charge:

Laura Spielvogel

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




WMNST 105(3)

Students select 3 credits from: AFAM 100(3); WMNST 100(3); WMNST 106(3) or WMNST/ENGL 245(3)

Students select 6 credits from: AFAM/SOC 409(3); AFR 110(3); AMST 140(3); ANTH 1(3); ANTH 45(3); ANTH 146(3); ASIA 100(3); BBH 302(3); BBH 315(3); CAS 271(3); CAS 426(3); CAS 455(3); CMLIT 10(3); CMLIT 153(3); COMM 205(3); CRIM/SOC 201(3); CSD 269(3); FR 139(3); HDFS 249(3); HDFS 250(3); HIST 479(3); JST 10(3); LER/WMNST 136(3); LER 410(3); OLEAD 410(3); OLEAD 411(3); PLSC 110(3); RHS 100(3); RHS 410(3); RLST 1(3); RPTM 120(3); SOC 35(3); SOC 119(4); SOC 456(3); SPLED 461(3); WMNST 100(3); WMNST/ENGL 245(3)