Dec 10, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Women’s and Gender Studies, M.A.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: Women’s and Gender Studies 


The M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies is designed to serve the needs of a variety of students. This program prepares students both for continued academic study and for positions outside the academy, especially in social-justice and public-service organizations. Graduates are prepared for Ph.D. and counseling programs, law schools, and public and private sector careers. The thesis option is recommended for students who intend eventually to pursue a doctoral or other advanced degree. Either the portfolio option or the internship option is recommended for students who seek the M.A. as a terminal degree.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below. Applicants without training in Women’s and Gender Studies may be admitted on a conditional basis. In addition, applicants must submit the following requirements:

  • A personal narrative statement of purpose
  • A writing sample (appropriate examples include a term paper or research paper)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or Curriculum Vita (CV)

Curriculum Requirements

Minimum Hours: 36 credit hours

  • Core – 9 credit hours
  • Electives – 21 credit hours
  • Thesis/Internship/Portfolio Option – 6 credit hours

Core Requirements (9 Credit Hours)

Electives (21 Credit Hours)

To be selected from

  • WST graduate elective and special topics course offerings;
  • A select number of graduate courses on issues surrounding the intersection of gender/class/race/sexuality offered by other departments.  These must be approved by the WGS graduate director or student’s major professor.

Comprehensive Examinations

In lieu of comprehensive examination, defense of final projects is used as the culminating assessment: defense of thesis for the thesis option, defense of internship narrative for the internship option, and defense of portfolio for the portfolio option.

Thesis, Internship, or Portfolio Option (6 credit hours)

At the end of 18 hours of coursework, students select the thesis, internship, or portfolio option.


  • Credit Hours: 1-9

  • Taken over two semesters, the student will develop a thesis proposal approved by the student’s thesis committee and complete a Master’s thesis on the approved topic. The completed thesis must be defended at an oral defense.


  • Credit Hours: 3-6

  • The internship experience, typically over two semesters, should take place in a human service agency or other organization that focuses on women, sexualities, or gender issues. The internship is approved by the student’s internship committee. The student will be required to write a narrative report that describes the internship in detail and analyzes the experience in terms of appropriate theoretical frameworks. The completed narrative must be defended at an oral defense.


In lieu of thesis or internship hours, students must take two additional electives and prepare a portfolio that will be approved by the students’ committee. The portfolio consists of two polished academic papers produced for graduate courses, academic conferences, or scholarly publication and a brief written reflective essay that discusses these papers within the context of key concepts, theories, approaches and/or knowledge that the students have gained in the WGS MA program. The completed portfolio should be defended at an oral defense.