Yanaka

WGS certificate: yay or nay?

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Hey all!

I have been accepted into an English MA, and am interesting in applying for their WGS certificate as well. However, I'm a little worried it'll be too hard to organize with work (I don't have funding)/MA/certificate. 

Would anyone mind telling me about pros and cons of getting the certificate? Is it really necessary or even useful? I'd like to do a PhD of Comparative Literature afterwards. My main focus in Literature is emergence of feminism and gender/sexuality queerness, but maybe just a few classes taken from the department could be enough.

Thank you!

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@Yanaka Congrats on your masters acceptance! It seems like a WGS certificate would be perfect for your interests. Certificates show a specialization that could help you do your work, teach classes in WGS, and get a position teaching in a WGS department. It's not necessary for any of these things, but it helps. As for cons, one i can think of is that you have to take a certain amount of classes, so that could prevent you from taking other classes you're interested in. 

Because you're also planning on doing a phd, i suggest considering geting the grad certificate in wgs during your phd. That's what I plan to do if i choose to get a certificate. It seems like most people either do a masters or a grad certificate at a time. A grad certificate tends to require a good amount of courses, just like a masters, so you would have to stay for another semester or two to finish it. and because you'll be unfunded, it might be better to do the certificate during your phd which will likely have at least some funding. 

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Thanks for replying! Interesting feedback. The WGS certificate is 15 cred, which means about two classes/semester over two years of the MA I believe. Seems doable, but it's true that it's more money... But isn't the PhD a little too busy to do the certificate?

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14 hours ago, Yanaka said:

Thanks for replying! Interesting feedback. The WGS certificate is 15 cred, which means about two classes/semester over two years of the MA I believe. Seems doable, but it's true that it's more money... But isn't the PhD a little too busy to do the certificate?

In the program I'm probably going to attend, I can use a WGS certificate as a minor field. Also, the professors and students I spoke with said the dept makes it a priority to help students organize their coursework to accommodate a certificate. 

I think you'll have to ask how your prospective programs work with certificates--and if they're supportive of them. From what I've been told/what's been implied, Ph.D programs want you to get to the candidacy stage posthaste.

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Honestly, given that many PhD programs require you to have a minor field and take X number of courses in it, it makes a lot of sense to pursue the WGS certificate at the graduate level. At the master's level, I'd be worried that you're setting yourself up for a situation where you're trying to take four graduate seminars at the same time while also working on the side, which is a LOT (even more so when you're new to the whole grad school thing). This isn't to say that you couldn't/shouldn't take WGS courses relevant to your interest while doing your MA. I'd just make sure those courses count toward the coursework you need for your MA, rather than worrying about earning a separate certificate at this time.

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19 hours ago, rising_star said:

Honestly, given that many PhD programs require you to have a minor field and take X number of courses in it, it makes a lot of sense to pursue the WGS certificate at the graduate level. At the master's level, I'd be worried that you're setting yourself up for a situation where you're trying to take four graduate seminars at the same time while also working on the side, which is a LOT (even more so when you're new to the whole grad school thing). This isn't to say that you couldn't/shouldn't take WGS courses relevant to your interest while doing your MA. I'd just make sure those courses count toward the coursework you need for your MA, rather than worrying about earning a separate certificate at this time.

 

I agree completely with this statement. This is my first year, and I've quickly discovered that two classes can be a handful if they are especially heavy courses.

Four classes might be doable, but I think it'd drive me borderline insane. I wouldn't even consider the courses if they didn't apply in some way to your MA (or they let you take a little extra time for you MA in light of your desire to complete the certificate).

 

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Thank you all for your help! I've decided on taking a few courses that I'm authorized to take, but will do a certificate during my PhD :) 

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I'll also add my two cents -- on top of the amount of work, trying to complete a certificate in two years is also just a challenging thing schedule wise, on top of your degree requirements. I planned on doing a certificate during my masters and, as I'm at the end of my first year, I am only one course shy (and the minor final requirement of presenting a paper at a colloquium, but nbd...) of meeting the requirements. I should be able to do that next year, right? I thought to myself. Except, the program is only offering three electives next year, all of which I am not super interested in and conflict with my teaching time and required course times. So, probably not going to happen.

And also, just because you may not be able to fit in a certificate, doesn't mean you can't take any WGS classes! which you should!

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