Concentrations and Certificates

There are many ways to supplement your M.A. or Ph.D. degree in Communication with a concentration, award, or graduate certificate. Below are several options offered by the Department of Communication and other departments on campus that may be relevant to your studies.

Statistics Concentration

The Statistics Concentration in the Communication M.A./Ph.D. program enables students to develop expertise in applied statistical skills and tools for carrying out quantitative communication research. The concentration is largely built around a curriculum developed by the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences (CSSS; course code: CS&SS) and is similar to other concentrations and/or tracks. Students who complete the Statistics Concentration in Communication will have advanced training in statistics for communication and social science research relevant to their own research needs. A Letter of Recognition is awarded by the CSSS to students who complete the concentration and students can advertise their completion of the concentration on their CVs as a signal of their quantitative training.

Details about the track and the requirements are available on the page about the track on the CSSS website. The Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee consists of Benjamin Mako Hill (Chair) and Katy Pearce. Any students interested in pursuing the track should coordinate with them.

QUAL Concentration

QUAL is a UW-wide initiative launched in response to pressing demand for qualitative research design and methods in universities, the private sector, and government. QUAL’s goal is to promote teaching and research related to qualitative methodology, and to foster a professional community of qualitative multi-method researchers.

The QUAL Concentration offers students a foundation in qualitative multi-methods research allowing them to deepen their research in their chosen social science or professional field. Students who choose to add the QUAL Concentration to their degree will gain specific skill sets that will benefit them at university and in their future career.

Interdisciplinary Award in Political Communication

The University of Washington offers a unique opportunity for current and prospective Ph.D. students who wish to study political communication. Faculty in the Department of Communication and Political Science have integrated their teaching and research to provide an opportunity to offer students an additional interdisciplinary award in political communication. This is not a formal certificate or degree program. But students who complete a set of courses with faculty working in the area of political communication will be given an additional interdisciplinary award upon graduation in recognition of their expertise in this domain of research.

Prospective students must apply to the graduate program of one of the participating departments. Those accepted for graduate study in one of the departments will then complete this program within the degree requirements of that home department. Financial support is also tied to the student’s home department, although some research and teaching assistant positions may become available in other departments. Faculty supervisory committees may include members from different departments, and students are required to do coursework that crosses departmental boundaries.

Students working for the interdisciplinary award in the political communication concentration will interact with multiple faculty across departments. Our ability to collaborate across traditional departmental boundaries with a rich offering of courses from prominent faculty mentors will enhance the intellectual program and career opportunities of our graduate students.

Ph.D. committee chairs will screen students who petition for this and then recommend approval from the community of political communication faculty on campus. The award is conferred upon completion of the Ph.D. The award does not appear on the transcript but is awarded by the home department, and can be acknowledged on the student’s resume and in job reference letters written by faculty mentors on a student’s behalf.

Science, Technology, and Society Studies Certificate

The primary goal of STSS, as a domain of scholarship, is to understand the jointly intellectual, material and social enterprises of science and technology in all their complexity. Nothing could be more urgent or more consequential at this juncture!

The interdisciplinary community of scholars engaged in STSS at UW share an inclusive vision of the field; they seek to understand how natural and social knowledge of the world is produced and authorized, how it evolves and is inflected by the contexts of its production and use, and what its normative implications are. They draw on the resources of a wide range of disciplines, including the cognate fields of history and philosophy of science, social and cultural studies of science and technology, and interdisciplinary studies of ethics, equity, and policy issues in the STEM fields.

The Certificate offers graduate students an opportunity to pursue a richly interdisciplinary program of STSS study. Its core faculty, drawn from across campus, jointly teach an introductory core course, provide Certificate students one-on-one advising, and oversee a portfolio capstone experience.

Public Scholarship Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Public Scholarship has a project- and portfolio-based curriculum that enables graduate students to integrate their intellectual, political, and professional interests through engagement with diverse publics. Together, the certificate’s students, faculty, and community partners generate new forms of culture, knowledge, and expression; re-envision the ends and means of higher education; and open professional pathways inside and outside the academy. The certificate is sponsored by the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity in the Department of Communication, and is supported in part by the Simpson Center for the Humanities.

Graduate Certificate in Ethics

The Program on Ethics (formerly known as the Program on Values in Society) aims to facilitate graduate research in ethics as it arises across the disciplines. The Program on Ethics’ Graduate Certificate in Ethics is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for integrating ethics and ethics scholarship into their chosen field.

The curriculum is designed to accommodate diverse student interests and to facilitate cross-disciplinary conversations and scholarship. The core courses provide students with the necessary groundwork for pursuing ethics scholarship as it relates to their field of study. A student’s faculty adviser in the Program on Ethics will be in charge of helping the student select additional courses specifically suited to the student’s own interests to form a cohesive program of study. Students may also contact the Director of the Program on Ethics for advice about selecting an adviser and about the certificate in general.

Graduate Certificate in American Indian and Indigenous Studies

The graduate certificate is a unique program that enables graduate and professional students from across the University of Washington to join a rich community of scholars, acquire skills, and acquire the necessary context to do rigorous work in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. The certificate will cover:

  • Scope and history of American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  • Indigenous intellectual theory and knowledge
  • Competence in American Indian and Indigenous and community-based methods in a specific field
  • Completion of a research-based presentation

Through classes in the Department of American Indian Studies, graduate students will develop knowledge in historical and contemporary approaches to the advanced study of Indigenous intellectual history, theory, and research methodologies. In particular, students in the program will have a space on campus to strategize around emergent AIIS topics and methodologies, particularly that of community engagement.

Graduate Certificate in Cinema and Media Studies

This graduate program emphasizes the study of film and related media from a humanistic perspective, within the broader context of global culture. While the curriculum centers on the medium of film, the program understands the key concerns of film history and film theory as a productive horizon for assessing the phenomenal advances of digital and electronic media, as well as a cinematic genealogy that stretches back to encompass the magic lantern, photography, sound recordings, and television among other technologically-produced art forms.

At the core of curricular goals, then, the program emphasizes the fundamental skills of cinema studies: an ability to interpret and clearly communicate the formal and stylistic elements of moving-image and audio-visual texts; a knowledgeable assessment of the canon of popular, art-cinema, and avant-garde cinemas, as well as animation and documentary forms; a capacity to engage the philosophical and social debates most germane to film theory since the early 20th century. The curriculum stresses a comparative framework. In particular, students will be encouraged to assess our objects of study as they cross national borders, historical periods, and media forms.

Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies

Beginning in 1992, the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Department has offered a graduate certificate in order to recognize substantial Feminist Studies coursework completed by students matriculating through graduate programs at the University of Washington. Students from graduate and professional programs all over campus have sought out this training as a way to document their advanced knowledge and skills in the interdisciplinary field of gender and women’s studies. Since 2009 this certificate has been officially recognized by the Graduate School and recorded on recipients’ transcripts. The goal of the certificate program is to enable graduate and professional students from across the University of Washington to acquire skills and competencies in three general areas:

  • Scope and history of Feminist, Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Interdisciplinary feminist theory
  • Competence in feminist methods in a specific field

The purpose of this certificate is to provide foundational understandings of feminist theory and analysis for graduate and professional students in programs and departments across our campuses. The Feminist Studies Certificate is a graduate-level initiative for students in master’s, J.D., and doctoral programs by providing students in graduate and professional programs across the University of Washington the opportunity to integrate gender, women’s, and feminist studies with coursework in their respective disciplines/departments. Through this certificate program, students develop knowledge in historical and contemporary approaches to the advanced study of gender, women’s, and feminist from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

Graduate Certificate in Sexuality and Queer Studies

This graduate certificate provides training in queer methods of social and cultural inquiry. It helps students gain critical knowledge and skills needed for developing theoretically innovative and socially engaged projects that address the challenges of studying sexual communities within disciplines and institutional protocols.

Sexuality is a domain of study in a wide variety of traditional academic disciplines, ranging from Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Statistics and Anthropology to English, Philosophy, the Arts, and History, as well as for many professional fields (e.g. Law, Social Work, Public Health, and Medicine). Indeed, significant aspects of foundational knowledges and methods have been interrogated and reconceptualized through research on sexuality, as that term is understood among and within particular fields.

At the same time, these disciplines of knowledge and professional training have historically naturalized normative forms of (hetero) sexuality, even as they have sought to study sexuality more broadly. This has led to the near impossibility of work within disciplinary formations to represent, query, or queer conceptions and experiences of sex and sexuality without recourse to a comparison to heterosexuality. By contrast, interdisciplinary Queer Studies denaturalizes heterosexuality and interrogates analyses of sexual normativity. It names the emergent body of cutting-edge scholarship as a critical area of inquiry with important methodological, theoretical, and practical contributions.

Over the past three decades, innovative scholarship has forced a reappraisal of the ‘sexual.’ Pursuing a graduate certificate in Sexuality and Queer Studies will prepare students to participate in this critical and generative scholarship at the University of Washington.