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Department of Women's Studies

Department of Women's Studies

Graduate Program
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Degree Programs

 

Admission Requirements

We're delighted that you're interested in applying to the dual degree program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies! Everything that you need to know for applying should be listed below but feel free to contact us with further questions.

Requirements for Applicants who are New to Penn State University

Students may apply to the dual degree program when they apply for admission to graduate school at Penn State. Please follow the guidelines for applying established by the co-operating department (click here for a list of co-operating departments) and indicate clearly on your application that you are applying to the dual degree program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Send all materials to the co-operating department but be sure your personal statement reflects your interest in this interdisciplinary degree. The co-operating department is responsible for the first years of funding and assistantships.

Click here to view participating program requirements

Requirements for Students Currently Enrolled in a Co-operating Graduate Program at Penn State University

PhD candidates must have applications to the dual degree program approved before PhD candidacy exams. The admissions committee meets once each semester to review applications. Application deadlines are February 15 and October 15. Students are encouraged to discuss their application in advance with either their advisor or the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Graduate Officer.

Students already enrolled in a co-operating program at Penn State may apply by submitting the following to the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department in 133 Willard Building: 

  • A c.v.
  • A writing sample (ideally from a WGSS-related graduate course)
  • A personal statement that describes how your research and professional goals reflect an interest in interdisciplinary and feminist research
  • 1 letter of recommendation from a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality.

 

Jamie Whitehead
Graduate Staff Assistant
133 Willard Building
814-867-3549
jle1@psu.edu

 

Alicia Decker
Associate Professor of Women's Studies
Graduate Program Director
128b Willard Bldg.
814-867-3561
acd207@psu.edu

PhD Dual Degree Program

Dual Degree doctoral students are required to take 9 credits of course work in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: WMNST 502: Global Feminisms (3 Credits), WMNST 507: Feminist Theory (3 credits), and either WMNST 508: Feminist Methodologies or WMNST 509: Feminist Pedagogies. Students also must complete 9 additional credits of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course work (at least 6 of which should be at the 500 level) chosen in consultation with the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Graduate Officer.

The student’s doctoral committee must include at least two members who are WGSS-affiliated faculty. The WGSS affiliated faculty members on the student's committee will administer a portion of the student's comprehensive exams focusing on feminist theory, feminist methodology, global feminism and feminist studies in the student's discipline.

A dissertation on a WGSS topic is required of students in the dual-title degree program. The student's committee must approve the topic of the dissertation.

For more information please visit the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Dual Degree Program on the University Bulletin (forthcoming). In the meantime, contact Alicia Decker (acd207@psu.edu) for more information.

MA Dual Degree Program

Dual Degree master's students are required to take 9 credits of course work in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: WMNST 502: Global Feminisms (3 Credits), WMNST 507: Feminist Theory (3 credits), and either WMNST 508: Feminist Methodologies or WMNST 509: Feminist Pedagogies.Students also must complete 3 additional credits of WGSS course work (chosen in consultation with the WGSS Graduate Officer).

One faculty member from WGSS should be included on the master's committee. In addition, students should write a scholarly paper or thesis that reflects their inquiry in WGSS. 

For more information please visit the WGSS Dual Degree Program on the University Bulletin (forthcoming). In the meantime, contact Alicia Decker (acd207@psu.edu) for more information.

Graduate Minor

The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Penn State offers students enrolled in the graduate minor the opportunity to include WGSS work in their graduate study in any discipline at the masters' and doctoral level. Students who have completed the graduate minor will have a competitive edge as more academic and professional positions require study of feminist theory, women, or gender. In addition, WGSS students are a part of a supportive community for discourse that connects personal and larger cultural and political issues.

Students in the graduate minor develop the skills to conduct both disciplinary research and interdisciplinary research in WGSS. Through their participation in interdisciplinary course work and interaction with faculty across disciplinary boundaries, we expect students to ask cutting-edge questions and to conduct high quality research. Students are encouraged to present their research and publish in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary WGSS outlets. Such an approach to graduate study acknowledges and fosters scholarly work across disciplines while increasing the intellectual rigor and breadth of graduate work through the students' immersion in WGSS and their discipline.

The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department is comprised of a strong group of approximately 40 faculty engaged in interdisciplinary work from various departments across the university. The faculty represent a wide variety of disciplines, resulting in a rich interdisciplinary environment, Our faculty represent 18 different departments in five different colleges. The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies faculty has extensive experience working within graduate programs and with graduate students. 

 

Grad minor requirements:

An interdisciplinary graduate minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is available. A student seeking a minor does not have to pass through an admissions process, and a minor can be completed by any student who is simultaneously completing any graduate degree at Penn State.


Master's Grad Minor:

To earn a master's-level graduate minor students are required to take nine credits of course work in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Six of these credits include WMNST 502 Global Perspectives on Feminism (3 credits); and WMNST 507 Feminist Theory (3 credits). The additional three credits must be chosen in consultation with and pre-approval from the Director of Graduate Studies in WGSS.

 

Doctoral Grad Minor:

To earn a doctoral-level minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students are required to complete 15 credits of graduate course work. Nine of these credits must include core theory: WMNST 502 Global Perspectives on Feminism (3 credits), WMNST 507 Feminist Theory (3 credits), and either WMNST 509 Feminist Pedagogies (3 credits) or WMNST 508 Feminist Methodologies (3 credits). Students also must complete six additional credits of WGSS course work (at least three of which must be at the 500 level). These courses must be approved by the WGSS Director of Graduate Studies.

If you are completing a minor, please be aware that the required courses listed above can possibly be substituted by other WMNST seminars, but only with prior approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

Doctoral students wishing to add a minor must submit an official request to Graduate Enrollment Services prior to establishing their doctoral committee or scheduling their comprehensive examination.

At least one Graduate Faculty member of WGSS must be included in the doctoral committee.


For more information about the Graduate Minor in WGSS, please contact .

To apply, complete the Graduate Minor Application and submit with all signatures to:


Graduate Staff Assistant

133 Willard Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802-2800