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: 312-218-8837
Office: 2036 CASL Building

More about the LGBTQ Studies Certificate

  • Students of any UM-Dearborn major 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:

WGST/SOC 366: Sexualities, Genders, and Bodies
Instructor: Dr. Amy Brainer
This course covers key issues and debates in LGBTQ+ studies. Sample topics include: roots of LGBTQ+ studies; debates among LGBTQ+ people about how to create change; racial, economic, and disability justice as queer issues; underrepresented identities (those that don’t fit neatly into ‘L’ and ‘G’); global and transnational queer issues.

Choose 3 from among the following:

FNDS 1602: Hope and Joy in Queer and Trans Lives
Instructor: Dr. Amy Brainer
This course explores the ways that queer, trans, and other sexually and gender-diverse people produce hope, joy, healing, pleasure, and community. Perspectives of queer and trans people of color are integral to the course.

FNDS 1306: Crossing Boundaries: ‘Passing’ and Social Identity in American History
Instructor: Dr. Georgina Hickey
This course examines the stories of boundary crossers: individuals who ‘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.

WGST/SOC 388: LGBTQ+ Religious Experience 
Instructor: Dr. Amy Brainer
This course explores intersections of religion, spirituality, and faith with sexuality and gender, including (but not limited to) LGBTQ+ journeys within Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, atheism, divination, new spiritual movements, and interfaith work.

WGST/ANTH 406: Culture and Sexuality
Instructor: Dr. Rick Robinson
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.

WGST 408: Sex, Gender, and the Body in International Development
Instructor: Dr. Suzanne Bergeron
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.

WGST/SOC 414: Sexuality, Gender, and the Law
Instructor: Dr. Francine Banner
In this course, we will focus on the history of gender and law in the United States while we simultaneously focus on the changing current landscape of law and society, including laws pertaining to equal employment opportunity, violence against women, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

WGST/CRJ 419/519: LGBTQ+ Criminology
Instructor: Dr. Maya Barak
This course explores the experiences of LGBTQ+ communities with police, courts, and corrections in the United States and around the world. Topics include criminalization of LGBTQ+ identities, policing of LGBTQ+ communities, LGBTQ+ experiences in the courtroom, and correctional control of LGBTQ+ people.

WGST/ANTH/SOC 451: Family, Sexuality, and Human Rights
Instructor: Dr. Amy Brainer
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 across many dimensions of society and culture. Issues of family, sexuality, and human rights in immigration and border policies comprise an important part of the course.

WGST/ENG 471: LGBTQ+ Literature 
Instructor: Dr. Shelly Jarenski
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.

WGST 499: Independent Study
LGBTQ-centered independent study or internship at an approved site.

New certificate courses coming 2021-2022

Decolonizing LGBTQ+ Studies (400-level, course number TBD)
Instructor: Dr. Amy Brainer
This course asks what it means to ‘decolonize’ education and create knowledge for the people. Topics include trans/queer anti-racism and anti-elitism, decolonizing higher ed, LGBTQ+ movements and geopolitical power, and more.

Introduction to Critical Disability Studies (300-level, course number TBD)
Instructor: Dr. Sarah Silverman
This course is an introduction to the emerging field of Disability Studies and to disability as an identity and a culture. Students will engage the topic of disability through diverse perspectives, including their own personal values and beliefs as they relate to disability and society.
Important note: This course is inclusive of but not focused on LGBTQ+ people. You can petition to have the course count toward the Certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies if your final project integrates LGBTQ+ and critical disability scholarship.

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


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
Back to top of page