Graduate Specializations and Certificates

Graduate Certificate in Chicano/Latino Studies

The Chicano/Latino Studies (CLS) program at Michigan State prepares graduate students interested in the historical and current experiences of Chicanos and Latinos, with an emphasis on transdisciplinary, global, comparative, and applied approaches. The director of CLS is Dr. Eric González Juenke; there are over 15 affiliated faculty members from a wide range of disciplines, including two from social work, Dr. Pilar Horner and Dr. Daniel Vélez Ortiz.

The CLS program offers outstanding resources for research, such as funds for travel to present at scholarly conferences, as well as the opportunity to work closely with affiliated faculty members. In addition, the CLS office provides a “home base” for students to network, develop community, and share ideas and perspectives across disciplines.

To earn the graduate certificate, a student must take three core courses offered by CLS, for a total of nine credits:

  1. Historiography and Social Science: Methods in Chicano/Latino Studies
  2. Literary and Cultural Theory in Chicano/Latino Studies
  3. Seminar in Chicano/Latino Studies

Additionally, three credits in related content from another department as approved by the CLS director must be taken, for a total of 12 credits.

This means that social work PhD students interested in Chicano/Latino Studies would take these CLS courses toward their electives requirement (i.e., their focused cognate, which must include at least 12 credits outside of social work). In other words, a student would earn her PhD in social work, with a graduate certificate in Chicano/Latino Studies.

For more information, please contact Dr. Joanne Riebschleger, director of the PhD program in social work or visit the CLS website.

Graduate Specialization in Women’s and Gender Studies

The specialization is designed to foster the study of women and gender across disciplines and national borders, provide opportunities for graduate students to obtain a comprehensive, cross/interdisciplinary academic experience in women and gender, and to foster the growth of interdisciplinary research and teaching on women and gender. Emphasis is given to understanding the diversity of women's lives nationally and globally.

Students must complete 12 credits of course work, including Women’s Studies 897. Please see the Center for Gender in Global Context website and the Office of the Registrar website for more information.

Graduate Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change

The specialization is sponsored jointly by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Social Science. This program, first offered in Fall 2000, is the first of its kind in the nation explicitly focusing on the intersection of gender, environmental change, and social and environmental justice. The program is designed in particular to examine these issues and processes from both local and global perspectives, challenging traditional dichotomies between the First and Third Worlds, the North and the South.

Students must complete 12 credits, including CSUS 858 (Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change: Issues and Concepts) and ANP 859 (Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change: Methodology and Application). For more information, please see and

Graduate Specialization in Global Urban Studies

A graduate specialization in Global Urban Studies is designed to offer students an opportunity to examine political, spatial, cultural, and economic processes and issues in urban areas across the United States and the world.

Students participating in the specialization program:

  • examine how global process impact and unite urban areas
  • focus on urban areas regionally, nationally and globally
  • examine how the forces of globalization change urban areas.

Students must complete 12 credits, including GUSP 816 (World System of Cities) and GUSP 975 (Global Research Capstone). Please see the Social Science website and the Global Urban Studies Program website for more information.