Department of English

Joint Master of Arts in English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Alya Cordell

Ayla Cordell graduated from the Joint Master program. Her research considered feminist and queer theory, sex/gender studies, creative nonfiction, body and culture studies, and embodiment.

The English department offers a joint Master of Arts degree that integrates Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) with the English curriculum. This unique program combines foundational methods in literary studies with the dynamic interdisciplinary work of WGS.

Joint MA students investigate complex, consequential questions involving social identity, cultural history, political systems and aesthetics. The rich conversations that emerge in this program contribute to many fields and bodies of thought. We welcome students with interests at the many intersections of feminist theory and practice, postcolonial theory, queer theory, critical race theory, diaspora studies and critical masculinity studies. This inclusive approach prepares students for many career trajectories and projects. Brandeis alumni, with research and communications expertise in these crucial fields, make significant contributions to academic, civic and other organizations.

Brandeis is a member of the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women and Sexuality. This partnership connects leading gender scholars from nine Boston-area institutions, across many disciplines and areas of expertise. The consortium is a vital resource for scholars and advocates, with a full program of courses, workshops, lectures, and other events. Recent seminars taught by Brandeis faculty include “Comedy and Gender in the U.S.: Counterpublics, World-Making, and the Politics of Pleasure,” co-taught by Professor David Sherman of Brandeis and playwright Ginger Lazarus of UMass Boston, and “ The Politics of Madness: Gender, Postcoloniality, and Psychiatry Through Film and Theory,” co-taught by Brandeis’s Emilie Diouf and Dr. Emily Fox-Cales of Harvard Medical School.


Full-time students are expected to complete the course work in three semesters and may take another semester to complete a master's project. This joint program may be a terminal degree or may be earned as part of the PhD program. The joint MA can be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis.

Requirements include the completion of eight courses to be distributed as follows:

Also required is the submission of a research paper of professional quality and length (normally 25-40 pages) on a topic related to the joint degree.

For a detailed list of requirements, see the University Bulletin.

For a list of recent courses in the WGS program, see the full list of course offerings.

“The joint MA program is one of the main reasons I chose Brandeis. Its unique blend of literary study and gender theory allowed me to explore and understand culture in ways I couldn’t have in any other program.”

Miranda Peery, Joint MA ‘18