The LGBTQ Studies Certificate prepares students to work and live in our diverse world by concentrating on forms of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression that are frequently left out of traditional fields of study.

The interdisciplinary approach of the certificate provides students with analytical frameworks for understanding how social, cultural, legal, and political factors influence the lives of LGBTQ individuals, families, and communities. The program of study examines a broad spectrum of diversity to foreground ways that sexuality and gender intersect with race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, disability, and nationality in people’s lives.

The LGBTQ Studies Certificate can complement your major or stand alone as a post-baccalaureate credential.

Knowledge of LGBTQ issues and competency in serving gender and sexually diverse populations is relevant to many different fields, from education, law, and healthcare to business, counseling, and social work, among others. We warmly welcome students from all colleges as well as community members to participate in the program.

Please contact the program coordinator with any questions:

Dr. Amy Brainer
Phone: 313-593-1976
Office: 2036 CASL Building

More about the LGBTQ Studies Certificate

  • Students of any UM-Dearborn major with a GPA of 2.0 or higher can apply for this certificate via a Declaration of Minor/Certificate Form, available in each college’s advising office.
  • The program is also open to any person holding college degree with an interest in applying knowledge of LGBTQ populations and issues to their employment, research, and/or community work. Post-degree students should submit an application to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Requirements and Course Offerings

The Certificate requires 12 credit hours from the suite of courses below, including 366 and 3 other courses. Up to 9 credits may double up with your major.

If you have already taken one or more of the courses below, these will count toward completion of the certificate upon your admission to the program.

Required course:

Women’s & Gender Studies 366: Sexualities, Genders, and Bodies
(cross listed with Humanities and Sociology)
This course introduces key questions and debates in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies. Students explore how sexualities, genders, and bodies are constructed and contested, how these constructions vary in diverse contexts and historical moments, and what gaps remain in our knowledge of LGBTQ lives.


Choose 3 from among the following:

Foundations 1306: Crossing Boundaries: 'Passing' and Social Identity in American History
Have you ever thought that life would be easier if you had been born a different person? This course examines the stories of boundary crossers: individuals who acted on that desire and 'passed' for a member of a different social group. People who have lived on both sides of a social identity offer a unique opportunity to understand the meaning of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation in American society. Their experiences can help us understand social categories and how they have changed over the course of history. What, for example can a person who lived as both a woman and a man tell us about the significance of gender in our society?

Women’s & Gender Studies 388: LGBTQ Religious Experience 
(cross listed with Sociology and Religious Studies)
This course explores intersections of religion, spirituality, and faith with sexuality and gender across three levels of analysis: the individual level (how do LGBTQ identities intersect and interact with religious freedom and practice?), the interpersonal level (how do LGBTQ people experience belonging and rejection in diverse faith communities?), and the institutional level (how do religious institutions and belief systems shape the life chances of LGBTQ people in society?).

Anthropology 406: Culture and Sexuality
This course surveys diverse ways in which sex and gender roles, ideologies, expectations, and relationships are socially constructed in dissimilar modern and historical contexts from an anthropological perspective. We will specifically explore cross-cultural constructs of femininity, masculinity, and LGBTQ identities.

Women's & Gender Studies 408: Sex, Gender, and the Body in International Development
This course examines the variety of ways that bodies are positioned and represented in international development theory and policy. Topics include sexualities, population control and reproduction, caring labor, and more.

Women’s & Gender Studies 451: Family, Sexuality, and Human Rights
(cross listed with Anthropology and Sociology)
How are ideas about sex, love, marriage, monogamy, and family formation changing? Is the notion of “rights” an effective framework for creating the changes we desire? 451 introduces theory and research about these and other questions of relevance to family, sexuality, and human rights across many dimensions of society and culture.

English 471: LGBTQ Literature 
(cross listed with Women’s & Gender Studies)
By studying the self-representation and culturally unique perspective of writers who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer, students in this course will understand the emergence of an LGBTQ literary tradition and the cultural diversity within this tradition. Students will identify the aesthetic qualities (such as camp, performativity, coded subtexts, and homoeroticism), and historical, political, and social concerns that characterize this tradition.

English 486: Queer Theory and Literature
(cross listed with Women’s & Gender Studies)
This course questions how same-sex desire appears in literature written before the theorization of “the Homosexual” in the late nineteenth century as well as how writers imagine sexuality before a hetero/homosexual binary appears. At the center of this course stand two claims: i) the problems we presently face related to “sexuality” as an identity-category are not part of an inevitable process; and ii) queer theory involves more than an over-simplified hetero-homosexual binary; instead, queer theory offers a framework through which readers may view the role of printed text in creating, moralizing, standardizing, and even governing desire.

Women’s & Gender Studies 499: Independent Study
LGBTQ-centered independent study or internship at an appropriate site.

Additional courses are currently being adapted for the Certificate. We will add new course offerings here as they become available.

Notes for DegreeWorks.

Program Goals

Students who complete the Certificate in LGBTQ Studies should expect to achieve the following:

  1. Knowledge about the history and current issues facing LGBTQ individuals, families, and communities;
  2. Knowledge about modes of resistance and community responses to these issues;
  3. Familiarity with major concepts and methods in the fields of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies; 
  4. Ability to analyze the ways that sexual orientation and gender identity intersect with race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, disability, and nationality in people’s lives; 
  5. Ability to apply theory to practice through research, creative production, practicum experience, and/or advocacy.

LGBTQ Studies Certificate Program

CASL Building
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