The master's degree requires 30 credits of course work for students who choose the thesis option. Those who opt for an alternate plan paper must complete 34 credits. The Alternate Plan is only available to students choosing the M.S. option; M.A. students must choose the thesis plan.

Our curriculum is committed to both activism and scholarship in and beyond the classroom, continuing a rich history of interdisciplinary work and solidifying strong relationships across communities and other academic disciplines. Graduate students are well-recognized for their participation at conferences, in publications, and throughout communities and organizations with the guidance and support of GWS graduate faculty.

First Year

Fall Semester

  • GWS 600 Collective Action/Analysis (3)
  • GWS 640 Feminist Theories (3)

Also required:

  • 3 credits in a 500 or 600 level course outside of the department in consultation with your advisor.

Spring Semester

  • GWS 630 Global Feminisms (3)
  • GWS 697 Internship: Teaching (3) or
  • GWS 698 Internship: Community (3)


  • GWS 540 Feminist Pedagogy (3)

Second Year

Fall Semester

  • GWS 610 Seminar in GWS, Topic: TBA (3)
  • GWS 620 Feminist Research (3)

Spring Semester

  • GWS 699 Thesis (3-4)
  • GWS 694 Alternate Plan Paper (1-2)
  • GWS 677  Individual Study


The Gender & Women's Studies department regularly offers two elective courses: GWS 540, Feminist Pedagogy, and GWS 555, Politics of Sexuality (approximately every other year). Most elective graduate-level Gender & Women's Studies courses are offered outside the Gender & Women's Studies department. Electives vary from semester to semester. In the past, students have taken Gender in Art, U.S. Women's History, Issues in Counseling Women, Women and Film, Women and Politics, Psychology of Women, Feminist Philosophy, Family Violence, and Women of Color.

Note: The maximum credit load per semester is 12 hours; exceptions must be approved by your advisor and the Graduate Dean.

Each student is responsible for planning their courses in consultation with her or his advisor.


The Thesis option requires the completion of 30 graduate credit hours, with at least 15 hours in Gender & Women's Studies. The remaining 15 credits may be from program courses selected with the approval of your committee. In addition to the general requirements of the program, the thesis option requires the completion of and oral defense of a thesis. At least one-half of all credit hours must be at the 600 level, and no more than one-third of the credits can be on a pass/no pass credit basis.

Alternate Plan Paper

The Alternate Plan Paper option requires the completion of 34 graduate credit hours, with at least 16 in Gender & Women's Studies, including 1 credit or more individual study. As with the thesis option, the Alternate Plan Paper requires the completion and oral defense of your paper. At least one-half of all credit hours must be at the 600 level, and no more than one-third of the credits can be on a pass/no pass credit basis.

First Year Portfolio

The first year portfolio is designed to examine students’ performance in their first year of the program. Students are required to submit essay’s to the portfolio committee. Submissions can come from the first year classes writing assignments, which will often cover many of the subjects. This is a required part of all first year students in the Gender & Women’s Studies graduate program.