BU Law Now Offering Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

New option provides interdisciplinary platform for law students pursuing related issues

BU Law students now have the opportunity to earn a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS) Graduate Certificate alongside their J.D.

The interdisciplinary certificate program, launched in fall 2013, is intended to unite students from graduate programs across Boston University researching and working on these issues. In addition to School of Law students, the program has already drawn interest from those in GRS, the School of Medicine, the School of Theology, and the College of Fine Arts.

“Across the nation, gender and sexuality are increasingly being integrated into all disciplines and departments,” explains Carrie Preston, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of English and WGS director of graduate studies. “The graduate certificate enables students enrolled in graduate programs across the University to pursue comprehensive study in the vibrant, interdisciplinary fields of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and receive institutional acknowledgement of their work.”

Professor Linda McClain—Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar and renowned expert in family law, gender and law, and feminist legal theory—is the law school’s contact for the program “The WGS Studies Certificate affords law students a chance to benefit from the amazing breadth and depth of the expertise of BU faculty across the University,” she says.

Law students pursuing the certificate take the core course of the program, Theories and Methods in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; one course offered by the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies, an association of nine Boston-area universities offering a number of annual team-taught seminars; and two additional graduate courses from the School of Law, such as Critical Race Theory, Feminist Jurisprudence, the Gender Law and Policy Colloquium, and Family Law. To cap off their studies, students participate in a pedagogical seminar focusing on the specific challenges and opportunities graduate students face when incorporating gender analysis into their teaching.

“For students at the law school,” Preston says, “we hope that earning the WGS Graduate Certificate will not only enrich their studies, but it will also demonstrate to potential employers that they have studied gender in legal and juridical perspectives while also engaging a number of other perspectives. We also hope that it will prepare students for work in policy development, advocacy, and other fields.”

McClain notes that earning the certificate will help students build a network in the field and learn of various gender- and sexuality-related professional and academic opportunities. Additionally, participating in the optional symposium series for graduate students by presenting seminar papers, dissertation chapters, etc. will help them refine critical communication skills.

Learn more about the certificate on the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department website.

Reported by Katie Wurtzel
December 20, 2013

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