popular culture, and public policy. Other strengths can be found in programs across the country, including comparative literature, religion, anthropology, art history, philosophy, psychology, public health, film and music.
Dual-degree programs may also be offered for students interested in a broader academic experience. The most
common dual-degree programs offer study in public affairs (MA/ PhD), information science (Masters of Information Science), communication (MS/MA/PhD), law (JD) and business (MBA). Master of Arts (M.A.) Degree
The master’s degree is typically a two-year program during which time students study a particular topic at an advanced and in-depth level. Master’s programs in Women’s & Gender Studies involve original and independent research, preparing students to produce a thesis worthy of publishing in a peer-reviewed journal and to be a competitive applicant to doctoral programs. This degree also provides good intellectual grounding for further training and professional development in the arts, business, community and non-profit organizations, education, health care, public policy, social work, and technology.
Women’s & Gender Studies
Women’s & Gender Studies graduate programs provide students interested in an advanced degree the opportunity to learn from and conduct research with leading academics from around the world. These graduate programs train students to become successful scholars and professionals who are theoretically sophisticated and focused on the issues, discussions and approaches that define the profession. Women’s & Gender Studies programs are cross-disciplinary, drawing from the research, methods and disciplines of other areas supporting women’s and gender perspectives, teaching and scholarship. In most programs, students can take courses and conduct research across university departments, colleges and schools, including communication, education, fine arts, natural sciences, nursing, public affairs, law and social work. Programs may offer specializations associated with the research and publishing strengths of the faculty who teach in the program. UT Austin’s Women’s & Gender Studies program, for example, offers strengths in African-American studies, cultural studies, diaspora studies, ethnic studies, feminist theories, health and social welfare, international and post-colonial feminisms, masculinities, media studies, performance studies,
The purpose of this handbook is to help you learn more about advanced degrees in Women’s & Gender Studies and to help you navigate the application process. It is important to note that programs differ vastly from university to university, and even from program to program. For example, program length, terminology, credit-hour requirement, sequence, and application components may vary widely. With this in mind, please use this handbook as a general guide to help you understand the bigger graduate school picture and to help you consider what questions to ask of particular programs that interest you. For more specific information and professional advice, speak with a faculty member who specializes in your intended area of study.
1. Women’s & Gender Studies 2. MA Degree Information 3. PhD Degree Information
4. Top U.S. Universities with Women’s & Gender Studies Graduate Programs
5. The Application Process
6. Tips for Graduate School Prep 7. Funding
8. Graduate Student Life & Study 9. Alumni & Careers
10. Application Timeline Checklist 11. Graduate Student & Faculty Profiles Contents
Graduate School Handbook
Terminal - vs - En Route Master’s Programs
The master’s degree may be terminal or earned en route to the PhD degree. The terminal degree is one in which the student completes the master’s degree and graduates from the university with no plans for continued study. The majority of terminal master’s programs are intended for students interested in careers outside of academia, working in a variety of industries.
The majority of liberal arts master’s programs are not intended to be terminal. Instead, the presumed final degree is the PhD - the master’s degree is a stepping-stone, earned en route to the PhD degree. Generally, at the appropriate time in the degree plan, students either transition to or apply to the PhD program.
Specialized MA Study
Some terminal master’s degrees offer students an opportunity to explore a particular subject in depth with plans to receive their doctorate in a broader, complementary field. For example, a student might explore women’s reproductive health care in a master’s program, then apply to another university or department to gain a doctorate in government with plans to focus his or her academic career on the politics of women’s reproductive health care in the U.S. Thus, gaining a terminal master’s in a specialized field allows a student to focus on what they love; a doctorate in a broader subject allows her or him to apply that knowledge to a more conventional field.
Master’s degree programs typically require 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework, including thesis, report, or exam credit hours. In most graduate programs, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. Any course in which a student earns less than a C will generally not be counted towards the degree.
Coursework: Master’s degree students complete 24 to 33 credit hours of coursework, of which the majority of hours are taken in the core foundation courses, six hours are taken in minor courses, and 15 hours are taken in elective courses.
Thesis, Report or Master’s Exam: Once the coursework is complete, students typically register for three to six hours of thesis, report or MA exam courses, depending on the specific program. Students pursing a master’s degree en route to the PhD may be required to write a thesis rather than take the report or exam option. The completed thesis or report is presented to a committee for review or the exam will be graded with one of three outcomes: approval/pass with authorization to proceed to the PhD
program; satisfactory/pass for a terminal degree (no PhD study allowed); or unsatisfactory/fail. If the work has been deemed unsatisfactory, the student has a short period of time (two months) to rewrite the thesis or report for terminal degree consideration.
Thesis: The thesis is generally a two-semester project for which students earn six credit hours towards the degree. Students analyze or interpret a body of material to demonstrate their ability to do an extended piece of research beyond the normal graduate seminar term paper. A thesis is generally 75-pages in length.
Report: The report is generally a one-semester project for which students earn three credit hours. Students write on a given topic or body of material that the student has researched. The report is generally 50-pages in length.
MA Exam: The MA exam (often referred to as the MA Comprehensive Exam) is designed to test the student’s comprehensive knowledge in the area of study. The exam may examine students’ knowledge on broad topics within the study area or the exam may be based on a reading list provided by the department.
Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree The doctorate degree is generally a four-to-eight year program designed to build upon the comprehensive knowledge achieved at the master’s level. Doctorate programs allow students to develop the advanced expertise needed to publish scholarly research and to be successful in a future tenure-track professorship, teaching in an area of women’s and gender studies.
Doctorate degree programs generally consists of around 30 credit hours beyond the master’s degree. Students generally must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in the program.
Coursework: For the first year (and often first two years) in the program, students complete coursework in the area of specialization, theory, methods, research, proseminars, foreign language and supporting work outside the department.
Foreign Language Requirement: Doctoral candidates generally must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language relevant to the research topic and area of concentration.
Methods Requirement: Many programs include a methods requirement relevant to the student’s research and in relation to their disciplinary concentration.
Comprehensive (or Preliminary) Exam: In conjunction with the coursework, generally in the third year, students take a comprehensive exam to evaluate knowledge and proficiency in the chosen field of specialization and feminist/gender theory or thought. This exam may be written or a combination written and oral exam. The supervising committee will evaluate the student’s work to determine whether the student has demonstrated critical understanding of the areas.
Dissertation Prospectus: Once the student successfully passes the exam, the student then presents the
dissertation prospectus to the committee. The committee evaluates the student’s comprehensive intellectual framework to successfully complete the dissertation project. If the proposal is accepted, the student can then apply for candidacy.
Application for Candidacy: The application for candidacy, made to the university’s graduate school, generally includes the program of work, which details the completed coursework and degree requirements, the dissertation
prospectus and lists the proposed committee members. Once the student has been successfully accepted to candidacy by the graduate school, they are considered ABD (all but dissertation).
Candidacy: During candidacy, the student registers continuously for dissertation credits during the fall and spring semesters while researching and writing the dissertation. Many programs provide timelines for the completion of the dissertation; it is common to require students to defend the dissertation within three to five years of advancing to candidacy.
Dissertation: In most cases, a dissertation is a lengthy (typically between 150- to 300-pages) independent research paper that offers a new interpretation of an aspect central to the student’s chosen field. As the culmination of a doctoral student’s formal education, a dissertation often becomes the basis for the scholar’s first book. In interdisciplinary programs, including Women’s & Gender Studies, the dissertation offers insight into a women’s and/or gender-based theme, document, literary work, culture, or time period that is relevant to the field. As part of the dissertation, students may be involved in active research with individuals or groups, comprising a study and analysis of human behavior. Many programs provide timelines for the completion of the dissertation; it is common to require students to defend the dissertation within three to five years of advancing to candidacy. Review examples of dissertations by clicking [Dissertations and Theses: Full Text] at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/ indexes/titles.php?let=D
Dissertation Defense: Many programs require students to defend the dissertation (also referred to as the final oral examination) before consideration for graduation. The defense is an opportunity for dissertation committee members to further explore the student’s dissertation in a presentation format. The student provides an overview of the work after which the committee cross-examines the student. The committee may point out flaws in the work and it is up to the student to defend the work. The committee then votes on the success of the student’s work and ability to graduate.
Completion: Students earn the PhD once the dissertation has been successfully defended.
Top U.S. Universities with Women’s & Gender Studies Graduate Programs, 2011 The field of Women’s & Gender Studies is too small to be included in national surveys that rank large departments or professional schools. The first list of universities below highlights degree-granting programs in order of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2011 rankings. The second list provides the U.S. News & World Report top 10 Sociology – Sex & Gender programs in the US. You can search university rankings based on a variety of criteria at PhDs.org: http://graduate-school.phds. org/
In addition to these programs, consider other graduate study options that provide Women’s & Gender Studies as a secondary focus in addition to your primary degree which may be in another discipline. Other study options include minors, secondary field studies, emphasis, qualifications, colloquiums, groups and portfolios. A comprehensive list of Women’s & Gender Studies options in the US and around the world is available at: http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/ programs.html
Top 10 National Universities
1. Emory University - Atlanta, GA
http://www.womensstudies.emory.edu/sub-g-phd.htm Ph.D., Women’s Studies: The department supports feminist teaching and scholarship concerning women and gender with expertise in literature, cultural studies, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, and philosophy. The application deadline typically falls in mid-December.
2. University of California at Los Angeles - CA
http://www.womensstudies.ucla.edu/graduate.html Ph.D., Women’s Studies: The goal of the Department of Women’s Studies is to educate teachers, researchers and professionals in the interdisciplinary field of Women’s Studies. The application deadline typically falls in mid-December.
3. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - MI
www.lsa.umich.edu/women/graduate/phd_programs.html Joint Ph.D. Programs: The department does not offer a stand along PhD program, however the following four joint interdisciplinary PhD programs are offered: Women’s Studies and English, History, Psychology and Sociology. Visit the joint degree department for the application deadline.
4. New York University - New York, NY http://draper.fas.nyu.edu/page/home
M.A., Humanities and Social Thought: Gender Politics: Gender Politics offers important insights by reaching into
numerous disciplines and examining many different sorts of texts: literary, filmic, theatrical, critical, and “social.” The application deadline typically falls in early July for the fall, and early December for the spring term.
5. Brandeis University - Waltham, MA
www.brandeis.edu/programs/wgs/graduate/index.html M.A., Women’s and Gender Studies; Joint PhD and MA Programs: The department offers a stand alone MA program as well as joint PhD and MA programs with anthropology, English, history, music, Near Eastern and Judaic studies, public policy, psychology, social policy, sociology, and sustainable international development. The application deadline typically falls in mid-January.
6. University of Washington - Seattle, WA
Ph.D., Women Studies: The department’s focus is on global and/or transnational feminist analysis of issues pertinent to the lives of women in Asia and in the Americas. The application deadline typically falls in mid-December.
7. The University of Texas at Austin - TX
M.A., Women’s & Gender Studies; Dual-Degree M.A. Programs: Particular strengths of the center include African-American studies, cultural studies, diaspora studies, ethnic studies, feminist theories, health and social welfare, international and post-colonial feminisms, masculinities, media studies, performance studies, popular culture, and public policy; dual-degree programs are available in MS Information Studies and Master of Public Affairs. The application deadline typically falls in mid-December.
8. University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI http://www.womenstudies.wisc.edu/
M.A., Gender and Women’s Studies; Ph.D. Minor: The program encourages students and faculty from the humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences to develop innovative ways of expanding knowledge about gender in global, local, and historical contexts. The application deadline typically falls in mid-January.
9. Pennsylvania State University - State College, PA http://www.womenstudies.psu.edu/graduate/ Ph.D. & M.A., Dual Degree Women’s Studies: The
department offers dual-degree programs in partnership with 18 different departments for an interdisciplinary approach. For the application deadline, please see the primary department of the dual-degree program.
10. George Washington University - Washington, D.C. http://www.gwu.edu/~wstu/
Ph.D., Public Policy & M.A., Women’s Studies: In addition to the MA degree, the department partners with the School of Public Policy for a PhD concentration in gender and social policy as well as a public policy MA with a women’s studies concentration. A joint degree with law is also offered. The application date typically falls in early April.
Top 10 Sociology – Sex & Gender Programs
1. University of California at Berkeley - CA http://sociology.berkeley.edu/index.php
Ph.D. & M.A., Sociology: The department offers both gender and sexuality concentrations. The application deadline typically falls in mid-December.
2. University of California at Santa Barbara - CA http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/research/feminist-studies M.A. & Ph.D., Sociology: The department offers a
concentration in feminist studies. The application deadline typically falls in early December.
3. Stanford University - Stanford, CA http://www.stanford.edu/dept/soc/
Ph.D. & M.A., Sociology: The department offers study sex and gender studies in two areas: social psychology and interpersonal processes; and social inequality. The application deadline typically falls in mid-February for the MA and late November for the PhD.
3. University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA http://college.usc.edu/soci/academics/phd.cfm
Ph.D., Sociology: The department offers study in the social construction of sex, gender, and sexuality; empirical research on the gendered structure of work, families, relationships, bodies, violence, and popular culture; feminist and anti-feminist social movements; and gender diversity. The application deadline typically falls in early December.
5. University of Maryland – College Park - MD
http://www.bsos.umd.edu/socy/Grad/admission.htm Ph.D., Sociology: The department offers a gender, work and family concentration. The application deadline typically falls in early December.
5. University of Washington - Seattle, WA
Ph.D., Sociology: The sociology of gender addresses the systematic positions of women and men in our society.
Courses in this area emphasize the sociological significance of gender relations in settings ranging from macro-level institutions to micro-level interactions.. The application deadline typically falls in mid-December.
5. University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI
Ph.D., Sociology: The department offers study in gender, focusing on the social construction of gender and on gender as a fundamental basis of social stratification. The application deadline typically falls in mid-December.
8. Florida State University - Tallahassee, FL
http://www.sociology.fsu.edu/grad/phd_areasofstudy.html Ph.D., Sociology: The department offers sex and gender study in the areas of health & aging; stratification & social justice; social demography; and social psychology. Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies pools the resources of two great universities to offer study in culture, literature and linguistics. The application deadline typically falls in early May.
9. University of California – Los Angeles - CA
http://www.soc.ucla.edu/graduate-study/graduate-study Ph.D., Sociology: The department offers study in the sociology of gender. The application deadline typically falls in early December.
10. University of California – Davis - CA
Ph.D., Sociology: The department offers study in sex and gender. The application deadline typically falls in early December.
The Application Process
Admissions to Women’s and Gender Studies graduate programs can be quite competitive. Highly recognized and high-quality programs are more competitive than less ambitious programs and, in general, doctoral programs are more difficult to get in than master’s programs. You may find that you will select a number of programs to apply to, some of which are your top choices and others are “safe schools.” A safe school is generally not as highly competitive and more likely to accept your application.
Aim high: don’t skip out on applying to your top choices! What does an application involve? You can read more about the components of the application process at: http://www.utexas. edu/cola/orgs/lacs/Students/PL-GS/Components.php
How should you choose which programs to apply to? Research the programs very well to determine which best meet your needs. For example, which programs offer the specific area of study you’re interested in, and do these programs have renowned faculty in that area? How can you find out which programs offer what you need? The best thing you can do is ask a professor, but for a full list of ideas on researching programs visit our Graduate School Research webpage: www.utexas.edu/ cola/orgs/lacs/Students/PL-GS/ProgramResearch.php
When should you apply? Graduate school application deadlines generally fall between November and January for enrollment in the following fall semester. Most graduate programs accept students only once a year, generally for fall enrollment. Check out the graduate school application timeline included in this packet for goal-setting ideas.
Do you need to go to graduate school directly after your undergraduate degree? As with any personal decision, this is a question best answered by you, taking your personal situation and objectives into consideration. If you feel you are ready to jump right into graduate school after graduation, you should use your last year at UT to prepare for the application process. If, however, you prefer to work for a few years to gain more experience or if you need more time to consider whether or not graduate school fits into your long-term goals, your application will not be weaker if you apply later. Instead, the experience you have between undergraduate and graduate school may be helpful in highlighting your passion, interests, and ability to succeed in a graduate program. Many students take time between programs, or earn other degrees between programs. As a matter of fact, the average graduate student is 33 years old. So, the short answer is that there is no “one” answer - this a personal decision.
Top Three Application Tips Not To Be Missed
Useful Undergraduate Tips for Graduate School Preparation
There are many things you can do as an undergraduate student to prepare for graduate school. Many of these may be purely intellectual – like taking challenging undergraduate courses. Others may be a combination of intellectual interest and application strategy – like joining a research project in your area with a faculty member who can mentor you and eventually write a great letter of recommendation. The following tips are provided to help you explore your interests in Women’s & Gender Studies.
1. Research: Faculty in the department work with undergraduate students in a variety of ways, including research projects. Research projects are a great way to learn more about your prospective graduate study area, to meet faculty, and to learn how to conduct research. For more research information and resources, check out our Research webpage: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/lacs/ Students/PL-GS/ResearchResources.php
2. Internships: You can take advantage of a variety of internship opportunities to help build your skills and knowledge in the area of study you wish to pursue. Connect with internships through LACS: http://www.utexas.edu/ cola/orgs/lacs/Students/Coaching/Internships.php
3. Write: Use your undergraduate writing assignments to delve into your area of specialization. Write about your passions, and use these assignments as a base for your graduate school application statement of purpose and writing samples.
4. Learn: Attend UT Center for Women’s & Gender Studies seminars, events, and conferences to learn what’s happening in the academic world of women’s and gender studies; to meet leading scholars from around the world and learn about their research; and to meet and network with faculty and graduate students from the university community. Check out the center’s events calendar: www. utexas.edu/cola/centers/cwgs/events/upcoming.php Graduate School Funding
Did you know that many programs will pay your graduate study costs? Department funding is used to entice highly competitive candidates to accept the university’s invitation to enroll in order to strengthen their program. In turn, the funding provides students the freedom to focus the next five or so years on their studies, research, and departmental responsibilities without Don’t submit your graduate school application until a
faculty member has reviewed your materials and you
have had time to receive valuable feedback to improve your packet. If possible, ask a faculty member who specializes in your intended area of study.
Reference the research of specific faculty with whom you want to work in your application.
Apply at least four weeks early to help your application standout.
the distraction of work outside the department. Department support may include tuition reimbursement, assistantships, instructorships, insurance, summer funding, and travel and conference grants. The following are general descriptions of typical department roles provided to graduate students for funding and gaining teaching/research experience. This in turn helps the department with undergraduate teaching responsibilities.
Teaching Assistantships (TA): Teaching Assistants teach discussion sections, hold office hours to meet with undergraduate students, and grade exams or papers for professors and instructors who teach courses with large enrollments.
Assistant Instructorships (AI): Assistant Instructors may serve as the instructor of record for assigned instructional duties. In addition, AIs may be assigned to hold office hours, to evaluate student work, and to perform other academic duties. AI positions are generally less available than TA positions; AI positions may be more competitive and are awarded to senior graduate students.
Graduate Research Assistants (GRA): Graduate Research Assistants are generally junior graduate students who work with faculty on academic research projects. Many doctorate programs make a great effort to financially support their students throughout the PhD program. Master’s degree students, on the other hand, may receive little or no departmental financial assistance and thus depend more heavily on part-time or full-time jobs, government grants, and student loans.
So, what financial aid options will you have as a graduate student when department funding is not available? The most common forms of graduate student aid are grants, loans, scholarships, fellowships, work-study, and financial aid.
Fellowships & Scholarships: Universities partner with
organizations, government agencies, and work independently to offer students a variety of fellowships and scholarships for graduate study. You can review the fellowships offered by the university of interest to you at the university or department’s website. Fellowships and scholarships are also provided by a wide variety of education-interested organizations; you can search for funding options at our Graduate School Funding webpage: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/lacs/Students/ PL-GS/gs-funding.php
Financial Aid: If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, you can apply for federal, state, and institutional financial
aid programs. You can begin applying for financial aid in the calendar year in which you plan to begin your studies. Visit the FAFSA site for details: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ What is the total cost of a graduate program? According to the Council of Graduate Schools, in 2007-08 the annual total price (tuition plus full expenses) of master’s degree programs was $28,375 at public and $38,665 at private universities. In 2008-09, the annual price of doctorate programs was $32,966 in public and $46,029 at private universities.
Graduate Student Life & Study
Graduate school is quite different from your experience as an undergraduate. The focus of graduate school is training in research; it is for people who are highly interested in a specific area and who want to delve deeply into the chosen topic. As an undergraduate, you may take a wide variety of Women’s & Gender Studies courses while also taking government, science, languages and math courses. As a graduate student, on the other hand, you will focus on your area of study (i.e., gender roles and race) with special attention on the specific topic that you will research and write on for the master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation (i.e., the modern history of Native Hawaiian mahu wahine).
Your undergraduate classroom experience is also quite different from what you will experience in graduate school. Most classes in graduate school are quite small - 15 students or less - and use a seminar format. The small group and seminar format provide students the opportunity for a higher level of participation in in-depth discussions, debates, and critiques. The greater level of participation in graduate school classes requires that students be very well prepared before each class to ensure they can keep up and present their scholastic voice and opinions. Preparation for class is quite comprehensive and can be very time consuming. It is common to be required to read a book from one class to the next or to write a large research paper. In addition to your studies, you may have teaching
responsibilities. Teaching Assistants (TAs) teach discussion sections, hold office hours and grade exams or papers for professors and instructors who teach courses with large enrollments. Once you are further into your program, you may be appointed as an instructor, who independently leads (and sometimes generates) undergraduate courses. Depending on the program, some students may also work outside the university – though this is more common in MA programs. Read more about degree nuts & bolts at: http://www.utexas. edu/cola/orgs/lacs/Students/PL-GS/LifeStudy.php
Alumni & Careers
Where are they now?
Women’s & Gender Studies PhD graduates pursue professional careers in academia or take leadership positions in a variety of other industries, from journalism to public service and education to nonprofit administration. Graduates with MA degrees may continue graduate study at other prestigious universities or move on to promising careers in the public and private sectors.
UT Austin Women’s & Gender Studies graduates have pursued a variety of opportunities, below are just a few examples.
• The University of Texas at Austin: Dual Degree in Social Work and Public Affairs
• Syracuse University: PhD, Religious Studies
• University of Sussex (Brighton, England): MA, Creative Writing
• University of Jordan (Amman, Jordan): Peace and Conflict Resolution Scholar with Rotary International
• Rutgers University: PhD, U.S. Women’s and Gender History
• New School for Social Research - New York City: PhD, Clinical Psychology
• The University of Texas at Austin: PhD, Communication Studies in Rhetoric and Language Studies Program
• Freedom Train Productions: Resident Playwright • Harry Ransom Center: Archivist and Electronic Records/
• Care International (Uganda): Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Women’s Empowerment for Peace in Northern Uganda
• Game Path LLC: Director
• The Leadership and Community Service Academy of The Bronx: Teacher
• University of California, Davis: Programs Coordinator, Women’s Resources and Research Center
• Mother Jones Magazine
• The Foundation for National Progress
The Post Graduate School Career Search
Graduates of Women’s & Gender Studies graduate programs use a variety of career search resources. Most importantly, they utilize faculty and staff in their center/department as well as the professional network developed at conferences and through professional associations. Graduates also use the following general resources that list academic jobs in their field.
• National Women’s Studies Association: http://www.nwsa. org/employ/index.php
• The Feminist Majority Foundation: http://feminist. org/911/jobs/joblisting.asp
• National Center for Lesbian Rights: http://www.nclrights. org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_job
• American Studies Association, Queer Caucus: http:// www.theasa.net/opportunities/employment/
• The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/ section/Jobs/61/
The information in this handbook was compiled with the help of the UT Austin Center for Women’s & Gender Studies (http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/cwgs/) and various other university program websites. Special thanks to Alma Jackie Salcedo, Program Coordinator for Academic Affairs, UT Austin Center for Women’s & Gender Studies.
Liberal Arts Career Services and the College of Liberal Arts provide resources to help you take your next step, whether that is clarifying your academic interests, choosing a graduate program, or compiling your application.
If you would like to pursue your interest in an advanced women’s & gender studies degree, consider the following ways to start down the road to graduate school:
1. LACS graduate school planning: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/lacs/Students/PL-GS/GradSchool.php 2. Visit the LACS graduate school advisor to discuss your plans, call 512.471.7900 for an appointment. 3. Identify and connect with faculty members and graduate students in programs of interest to you.
4. If you are interested in applying to the UT Austin Center for Women’s & Gender Studies, discuss your interests with faculty and the graduate coordinator, and review the program details online.
• UT Austin, Center for Women’s & Gender Studies Graduate Program Overview: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/cwgs/ graduate-application/Potential-Applicants.php
Freshman & Sophomore Years
Exploration: is graduate school for you?
Take courses to help explore your scholastic interests and keep up your GPA.
Participate in internships, research and community service; take leadership roles in student organizations. Junior Year
Take courses taught by tenured faculty in your area of interest and be sure to visit faculty during office hours.
Connect with graduate students to learn more about graduate school life and for application tips.
Participate in more research projects.
Research graduate programs.
Refine your research interest.
Use course writing assignments to create potential application writing samples.
Save money for campus visits in the summer.
Apply for fellowships with junior year application deadlines.
Senior Year - Fall Semester
Craft your curriculum vitae (CV).
Draft your statement of purpose. Get writing assistance and have a faculty member review your statement.
Ask for letters of recommendation.
Organize your application components and enusre that each component is written for the targeted school (i.e., don’t send a personal statement addressing UT to Harvard).
Apply for funding.
Submit your fall deadline applications.
Finalize your graduate program picks and familiarize yourself with their application procedures and deadlines.
Create a personalized application timeline and application activity sheet (download an example activity sheet from the application timeline page available at the link below).
Prepare for and take the GRE.
Collect college transcripts.
Clarify your graduate research and study goals.
Visit the campuses of your top choices.
Save money for application fees.
Senior Year - Spring Semester
Submit your spring deadline applications.
Follow up with universities on your application, status and if needed, the wait list.
Apply for financial aid. Senior Year - Summer Semester
In an ideal timeline, you will use your freshman through junior years to explore your reason to attend graduate school, develop your experience, knowledge and skills to help prepare you for grad school and to research graduate programs. By the start of your senior year, you should begin compiling your application packet, crafting your writing components and taking the necessary examination(s). ARE YOU A SENIOR OR JUNIOR?
You can create a successful graduate school application using a shorter timeline! The timeline provided below is solely a suggestion, please adapt this information to suit your personal needs.
What is grad school life like?
You have so many opportunities to get involved on campus and Austin is filled with so many fun things to do! Unfortunately, your time is limited and you have to prioritize your responsibilities. My best advice is to wake up early, make lists, and don’t get discouraged. You have to actively work to find an optimal schedule that takes into account your graduate responsibilities and takes advantage of what UT and Austin has to offer. It is also important to make time to sleep, eat, rest, exercise, and spend time with friends and family. I multitask—a lot. I workout with friends, study with my brother, and attend on-campus lectures that supplement my academic interests.
Can you tell us a bit more about your research interests? My thesis is entitled, “Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Onions, Tea, Bread, and Sometimes Tomatoes: Economic Conditions Among Iraqi Refugee Women Living in Urban Areas of Jordan.” I lived in the Middle East for a year while conducting interviews in Jordan as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. My thesis explores economic conditions among Iraqi refugee women living in urban areas of Jordan through open-ended interviews. The research aims to address coping mechanisms Iraqi refugee women use to adapt to their financial situation. Where are you in the graduate school sequence? I am about to graduate, and it is a fulfilling accomplishment.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew as an undergrad?
Study groups are very helpful, especially when it comes to understanding some of the complex reading assignments that you will face in grad school.
What are 3 tips for students applying a women’s & gender studies graduate program?
1. Be yourself. Your personal story and the insight that comes with that story is something that only you can offer the program and your future peers. Women’s and Gender Studies incorporates varying approaches to education, one of those being your personal narrative. 2. Just do it. If you want to apply for something, if you
want to say something, if you want to try something new… just do it. WGS is a supportive program. They will help you succeed, but it is your responsibility to take on new challenges and examine new pursuits. 3. WGS is an interdisciplinary field. As a WGS student,
you can benefit from many professors and programs available at UT. Make yourself familiar with faculty members who conduct research in your areas of interest. Learn about the resources available to you through other departments and other faculty members.
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Rawan Arar - Women’s & Gender StudiesGraduate Program: M.A., Women’s & Gender Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
Research Interest: Economic conditions among Iraqi refugee women living in urban areas of Jordan. Undergraduate Degree: B.A., Sociology, Minors in Legal Studies & Women’s and Gender Studies,
The University of Texas at San Antonio
UT’s Women’s and Gender Studies program has given me so many unique opportunities. I am lucky to have met such inspiring peers and studied with such insightful professors. Academically, I was able to explore a broad range of subjects including gender, class, race, power dynamics, international relations, economics, sociology, history, anthropology, politics, literature, and art. But I was also given the opportunity to think about knowledge and knowledge acquisition. I have developed a deeper appreciation for academia, education through the experiences of others, and varying approaches to learning.
What should students consider when researching graduate programs? When looking for WGS programs, ask about the courses offered at other institutions. Look for schools with strong programs in other fields that you are interested in. For me, I would look for a school with a strong Middle Eastern studies department or a strong sociology department. Others may be interested in literature, natural sciences, or political science.
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What is grad school life like?
Time Management is key to success in graduate school. I am not going to lie, there is a lot of work to do in graduate school! Thus, look to balance as a prerequisite for success. Though you may be tempted to think that there is ample time for leisure, it is important to first take care of business before entertaining any such distractions. If you can blend business with pleasure, this will certainly help when writing your thesis and various assignments. Collectivizing your work is a great way to stay on top of assignments. Make friends with nerds and by all means become a nerd by embracing your inner “nerdness”. To succeed in graduate school it is important to balance your home life, work life, school life and social life. All of these elements are critical to success in graduate school. Can you tell us a bit more about your current research interests?
My current project is autoethnographic in scope which involves delving deep into my self conscience in order to unravel scripts (mainly through memory work) relative to my own process of understanding notions of gender, sexuality and race and how these scripts then inform my self-making as a self-identified mahuwahine. Through my research, I connect with other mahu/mahuwahine in order to articulate a more nuanced understanding of the particular collective conditions of Native Hawaiian mahuwahine and how language within this particular community informs self and community self-making and more how this process deviates from dominant cultural systems and how understanding
pursue research endeavors that are in line with what you hope to pursue in graduate school.
Where are you in the graduate school sequence? Currently, I am collecting autoethnographic data that will later be transcribed and used to affirm or deny different theoretical frameworks that I have chosen to use to inform my research. During my first year, I enrolled in 3 different required courses on feminist theory which helped me to articulate the various theoretical and methodological frameworks most relevant to my chosen research interests. Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew as an undergrad?
Apply for as much funding as you possibly can and do so with rigor and punctuality.
What are 3 tips for students applying a women’s & gender studies graduate program?
1. Find a professor/professors interested in your work and develop a professional relationship with them if at all possible. This will help to not only develop the quality of your work but also will aid in your development as a professional scholar and researcher. 2. Keep leisure activities to a minimum and stay on top of
your studies. This will help you to prioritize your work and related professional functions.
3. Apply for as much funding as possible and invest W G S
Tatiana Young - Women’s & Gender StudiesGraduate Program: M.A., Women’s & Gender Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
Research Interest: Native Hawaiian and other indigenous transgender or gender transgressive communities. Undergraduate Degree: B.A., Anthropology – Special Honors, The University of Texas at Austin
these differences can inform a more nuanced understanding of not only differently racialized groups but also universally shared notions on human sexuality, gender and race. Did you work on a research project as an undergrad? Yes, I did participate in an honor’s program as an Undergraduate at UT-Austin. My research revolved around transgender significant others and looking at notions of genderless love. I strongly encourage undergraduates to
in becoming a member of professional clubs (ex: Women’s Studies Association, Anthropological Association of America, etc.). Build a network of professional contacts. This will help to offset the costs of graduate school and will help you gain respectability in your field.
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