Best Gender Studies Master's Programs

May 21, 2019

This article provides prospective students of gender studies master's degree programs with information about several of the best available programs, including details regarding curriculum and focus area options, as well as admissions standards.

Students who are interested in earning a master's degree in the area of gender studies may want to know what programs are the best in this field. Below, students can read about five different gender studies master's degree programs that are considered to be of high quality, in addition to information regarding how to gain admission.

Overview of Best Gender Studies Master's Programs

The University of Texas at Austin

According to U.S. News & World Report, the University of Texas at Austin ranks eighth in the country in the category of graduate sex and gender programs as of 2017. Students at this school can pursue a Master of Arts degree in Women's and Gender Studies. In this program, students can either choose a thesis or report option. Students who decide to write a thesis will be required to complete a total of 36 credit hours, six of which are earned through the completion of the master's thesis. The report option also requires 36 credit hours, though only three are earned through the report and the other three are earned through an additional course. Students have some flexibility in their degrees, as there are only three required core foundation courses that students in both the thesis and report option are required to take. This school also offers a couple of dual degree options: a Master of Science in Information Studies and a Master of Public Affairs.

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Another option for students is the Master of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, which is ranked fifth by the 2017 U.S. News & World Report list of best graduate schools for sex and gender programs. This program requires the completion of a total of 30 credit hours. Of these hours, students must complete 15 through the core required curriculum which covers topics in feminist theory and research methods, among other topics. Students then have flexibility in how they complete the remainder of the degree through the electives they select.

University of California Santa Barbara

The University of California Santa Barbara offers a dual Master of Arts in Feminist Studies with a Ph.D. in this field, in addition to sometimes offering a standalone M.A. program. At the master's level, students focus their studies by selecting from three different subfields of this discipline: genders and sexualities, race and nation, or productive and reproductive labor. The Ph.D. program allows further specialization through the selection of an optional emphasis area, with possibilities like black studies, global and international studies, and writing studies. This school was ranked fourth by the U.S. News & World Report 2017 ranking of graduate programs in sex and gender.

George Washington University

At George Washington University, located in Washington, D.C., students may be interested in the Master of Arts in Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program, which offers students a high degree of flexibility in terms of their curriculum. This program requires that students complete 36 credit hours, nine of which are required core courses. Students then complete 21 credits of elective courses which they can organize according to a concentration as well as six credits towards their practicum or thesis. Additionally, students have the option of pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Women Gender and Sexuality Studies, which may be a good choice for students, depending in their career goals. It is also possible to pursue a joint degree through the law school to earn a Master of Laws (LLM) along with the master's in WGSS.

Sarah Lawrence College

Another option for students is the Master of Arts in Women's History offered by New York's Sarah Lawrence College, which focuses on gender studies, history, and the theory of feminism. As the first program of its kind in the nation, this option may be appealing to students seeking well-established gender studies programs. Students will be required to complete a total of 48 credit hours over the course of two years. Of these credits, 24 are earned through courses, seminars, and independent study towards the completion of the master's thesis, which is the focus of the second year of the program.

Admissions Standards for Master's Degrees in Gender Studies

In order to be admitted into a master's degree program in gender studies, students must fulfill the admission requirements set by each program and will need to submit a completed application file in order to be considered. While it may vary among programs, students are typically not required to have previously earned a degree in gender studies, though it is common that programs ask students to demonstrate their experience and interest in this field, which is easily done if students have studied the topic in past coursework. When applying to these programs, students must submit a completed application form, letters of recommendation, previous academic transcripts, and a CV or resume. GRE scores are also typically required, and students may also need to provide information regarding their research area of interest.

In summary of the information discussed above, there are a number of well-regarded gender studies master's degree programs offered throughout the country. Students who are interested in this field might want to consider these programs that may offer many options and are often highly-ranked, flexible, and well-established.

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