Memorial Union flies a Pride Flag, June 2019

Certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies

The LGBTQ+ Studies Certificate Program, housed administratively in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, is a campus-wide program open to students in any major. Courses that count toward this interdisciplinary certificate come from a wide range of fields including literature, history, sociology, medical history, as well as from gender and women’s studies, which is in itself an interdisciplinary field.

The certificate program requires 15 credits in LGBTQ+ Studies. Learn more about the requirements for the undergraduate certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies.

Declare the Certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies

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Review the Program Requirements

With the Guide, you can find more information about the course requirements for the LGBTQ+ Studies program before scheduling an advising appointment.

Undergraduate Advising in LGBTQ+ Studies

During an advising appointment, you can plan courses, discuss study abroad opportunities, and consider involvement on campus and in the community.

UW-Madison students can use a new tool, Starfish, to schedule advising appointments. Search for and add the Starfish App to your MyUW page. Please send a quick email to Susan Nelson at if you have trouble figuring out how to use Starfish.


Fall 2019 Courses

  • Gen&WS 200: Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies
  • Gen&WS 340 (Lec 001): Contemporary Queer Art and Visual Culture
  • Gen&WS 340 (Lec 002): Queer Theory, Queer Performance
  • History 346: Trans/Gender Historical Perspective
  • Gen&WS 361: Sex and Power in Greece and Rome
  • African Cultural Studies 405: Gender and Sexuality in Afro-futurism
  • Gen&WS 418: Gender, Sexuality, and the Media

Questions about new courses?

Found a course that you think should count toward the LGBTQ+ Studies certificate?

Please contact the Undergraduate Advisor for LGBTQ+ Studies.

The Department of Gender & Women’s Studies will evaluate the syllabus to determine whether it meets program criteria.

Authorization for Gen&WS 642

Gen&WS 642: Advanced Seminar in LGBTQ+ Studies is offered during spring semesters only. You will find the authorization link here when we begin enrolling for spring 2020.

Topics Courses

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Gen&WS 340: Contemporary Queer Art and Visual Culture

As examined through this course, queer art and visual culture are defined not only through their subject matter but also by the methods through which they appropriate and subvert conventional visual practices. Such tactics may include a work’s means of production, its formal properties, and the conditions of its reception. The political imperatives of a queer or queered position, linked to the intersections of race, class, sex and gender will shape thematic investigations of practices related to activism, documentation, abstraction, mining the archive, craft, camp, and drag, among others. Case studies will be drawn from film, performance, comics, video games, and fine art. Projects will engage text- and studio-based research in an interdisciplinary push to integrate theory and practice.

No prior art or design experience required.

Gen&WS 340: Queer Theory, Queer Performance

“Queer” is a word that does different things for different people. For some, it names an identity or a community—sexy or subversive, a kind of shelter or a somewhere over the rainbow. For others, it’s none of those things—anti-identity, or outdated, or too complicit with systems of oppression. We can hear such people asking, arms folded, “Is ‘queer’ over?” With an eye toward these disagreements, this course invites students to explore what queerness is and does through an engagement with both the field of queer theory and the repertoire of queer performance. Throughout the semester, students will grapple with concepts including but not limited to the closet, the binary, intersectionality, performativity, temporality, attachment, desire, stigma, and worldmaking. We will strive, while moving through various moments in queer history (the early AIDS crisis, marriage equality, etc.), to articulate gender and sexuality to race, (dis)ability, nation, class, and other categories of otherness. Ultimately, always, and at a minimum, this course will ask the following questions: How is queerness performed? How is it theorized? How or what does queer theory perform? How or what does queer performance theorize?

African Cultural Studies 405: Gender and Sexuality in Afro-futurism

Afrofuturism is a new and rapidly developing interdisciplinary genre. It is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history that addresses the developing intersection of African cultural expressivities and performances with technology. One key question will guide this course: How does the Afrofuturist genre (re)imagine gender norms and sexual identities on the continent and in the diaspora?Students will be encouraged to think critically about how Afrofuturism should be put into practice.

The coursework includes readings and written critical responses. The course’s one major paper will require interdisciplinary research on gender and sexuality in Afrofuturism.

Because Afrofuturism is a developing interdisciplinary genre, course materials will draw from diverse disciplines and sources including films, music, podcasts, documentaries, street art, dance, photography, Instagram, and clothing practices as well as scholarly texts. Readings include Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness (2015) edited by Reynaldo Anderson and Charles E. Jones, Children of Blood and Bone (2018) by Tomi Adeyemi, How Long ‘til Black Future Month? (2018) by N. K. Jemisin, and World of Wakanda (2016) by Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey, the first black women to author a series for Marvel Comics.


Undergraduate certificates are automatically posted to your transcript upon graduation by the Office of the Registrar based on completion via DARS.

Please confirm that your certificate is complete (all ‘green text’) in DARS after you enroll for your final semester.

Commencement Ceremonies

December commencement is scheduled for Saturday, December 15, 2019 at 10 am.

Whether you will graduate in December or May, start getting excited about the Gender and Women’s Studies and LGBTQ+ Studies Spring Graduation Reception. Date and time TBA as we get closer to the day.

Join us for donuts and coffee and spend some time with GWS faculty and staff.