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San Diego State to offer certificate in LGBT studies

San Diego State University will offer a graduate certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies next fall, officials said Monday.

The advanced certificate is designed to increase knowledge of sexual and gender identity and an understanding of cultural, historical, ethnic and racial aspects of sexuality.

Courses in disciplines such as English, history, women’s studies and religious studies will focus on “emerging subcultures and identities from a global perspective.”

The program requires a minimum of 12 units of approved graduate courses and will include community service, internships and study abroad opportunities. Many post-graduate students interested in LGBT issues, students conducting research and those seeking jobs in LBGT organizations have already expressed interest, officials said.

"In the last few years, dozens of students across all disciplines have created their own LGBT-themed master’s theses or culminating exams,” Esther Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies and advisor of the program, said in a statement. "We saw a real need to build a program to pull all of the graduate-level classes that explore LGBT issues together into one place.”

The San Diego State program is one of a handful of similar graduate programs in the nation.

UC Berkeley has a "designated emphasis" in LGBT studies, and San Francisco State offers a master's degree in human sexuality studies, San Diego State spokeswoman Beth Downing Chee said.

But the San Diego campus has been offering classes in gay and lesbian studies since the 1970s, and in 2011 it became the first California university to offer a major in the subject.

"Diversity is a cornerstone of a well-rounded education, and this program provides an opportunity for graduate students to gain a deeper understanding of diversity through the critical issues brought forth in LGBT studies,” San Diego State Provost Nancy Marlin said.


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