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Director of Graduate Study

Elizabeth Brainerd

Careers in Women's and Gender Studies

Learn about careers in Women's and Gender Studies

Graduate Programs in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Rosie the Riveter--We Can Do It!

About the Program

Brandeis faculty and alumni are in the vanguard of feminist scholars worldwide. The Brandeis University Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program (WGS) provides a strong grounding in discipline-specific studies along with an interdisciplinary education in the theories, methods and scholarship of women's, gender, and sexuality studies. By introducing current research in a range of fields, the M.A. degrees create cross-disciplinary dialogue and prepare students for intellectual leadership in careers as diverse as public policy, education, social service, law, management, and writing. Doctoral students will find that our curriculum is excellent preparation for teaching in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and in their chosen disciplines.

The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program offers a stand-alone M.A. program as well as several joint M.A. programs (please see the list below under “Degree Options”). The joint master's degree in women's, gender, and sexuality studies and another discipline may be pursued independently or in conjunction with a Ph.D. in one of several fields. There is no Ph.D. offered solely in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; all the degrees we offer are on the M.A. level. Students pursuing the M.A. degrees are encouraged to enroll in courses offered by the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies (Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Tufts University, and UMass Boston).

Degree Options:

  • M.A.: The M.A. program is a full-time, two semester program (8 courses) which offers students grounding in feminist and gender theory, knowledge, and methodologies.  Although the program does not offer specific tracks, students may choose to specialize in the particular strengths of the program, which include: gender and legal studies, sexuality studies, social and public policy, comparative literature and culture, or any of the disciplines in our joint M.A. programs (Anthropology, English, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Public Policy, Sociology, and Sustainable International Development). The program can be done part-time, if necessary.
  • Joint M.A.: A terminal M.A. in women's, gender, and sexuality studies is offered in conjunction with one of the following disciplines: Anthropology, English, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Public Policy (Joint M.P.P., through Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management), Sociology, or Sustainable International Development (through Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management). Most of these degrees can be earned in one year, but students may benefit from the rich array of course offerings by extending their studies into a second year.  Students apply directly to a joint program, with the exception of the joint M.P.P. and the joint M.A. in Sustainable International Development.  Applicants to the joint M.P.P. and the joint M.A. in Sustainable International Development will apply to the Heller School.  
  • Joint M.A. degree and Ph.D.: The joint M.A. can be obtained while in pursuit of a Ph.D. in one of the following fields: Anthropology, English, History, Music, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Psychology, Social Policy (through Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management), and Sociology. This degree option replaces a master's degree in the student's program. Students currently enrolled in an affiliated Brandeis Ph.D. program may enroll in the joint M.A. at any time during their graduate studies with the approval of the joint M.A. graduate advisor in their home department. Prospective Ph.D. students interested in pursuing the joint M.A. must apply directly to the Ph.D. program through the home department, but should note their interest in the joint program in their statement of purpose.


We encourage you to explore one of the department’s greatest assets through our faculty pages.

Courses and Degree Requirements

For the most updated course listing, course descriptions, and degree requirements, please visit the Registrar.

How to Apply

Application Deadlines:

M.A.: January 15
Joint M.A.: For information on admission deadlines, please go here and refer to the deadlines under the home department in which you would be pursuing a joint degree.     

Admission Requirements:

Application requirements are below for the (1) M.A. program and (2) Joint M.A. programs:

(1) To apply for the M.A. program, you need to submit:

  • An online application;
  • An application fee (please click here for more information);
  • Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended must be uploaded to your application; do not mail official transcripts to our office. For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions;
  • Three letters of recommendation, submitted online;
  • curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé;
  • statement of purpose indicating your reasons for undertaking graduate study. In addition, please describe your qualifications for the academic program and your objectives in undertaking this program. Applicants should also discuss their academic and professional career plans and how the Graduate School could help them attain these goals.
  • critical writing sample not to exceed 35 pages; the 35-page maximum may consist of a single critical essay or two shorter essays of approximately equal length.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required. Our ETS institution code is 3092.

(2) To apply for the Joint M.A. programs:

For prospective Sustainable International Development (SID) and Master's in Public Policy (M.P.P.) students who are interested in the joint degree with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: Students should apply directly to the joint degree program using the Heller School application.

For specific admission requirements for the other joint M.A. programs, please go here and refer to the deadlines under the home department in which you would be pursuing a joint degree. Note that GRE scores are required for all joint M.A. programs with WGS in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

International students:  For additional requirements for international applicants (non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents), minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores, and important information regarding visas, please click here.

For a more comprehensive description of application requirements, please visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Generous scholarships and financial aid are available; for more information please visit Financial Aid.

Careers and Alumni

Post Brandeis, about one-third of our recent graduates enroll in PhD programs at prestigious universities, and two-thirds of our graduates enter the workforce in fields as diverse as law, advocacy, research, and higher education.

Students and alumni can work closely with Career Services for an array of resources, including CV/resume help, job search, and networking. Learn about careers in Women's and Gender Studies.