Frequently Asked Questions
Women's, Gender and Sexuality studies draws on the humanities, arts, social and biological sciences to explore the broad range of intellectual questions concerning the social positions of women, relations among sex, gender, sexual orientation and the gendered constructions of power, knowledge, identity and culture, as these intersect with other cultural formations including race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, ability, age and class.
Students in the department have the opportunity to engage with feminist, gender, sexuality, performance and queer theories; the diversity of women's experiences and representations past and present; women's movements in the United States and around the globe; and questions surrounding LGBTQIA+ identities and representation. Our department emphasizes the importance of intersectionality in our exploration of these complexities in both theory and practice.
An education in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies offers students the opportunity to build global knowledge in fields across the creative arts, humanities, social and biological sciences. Our curriculum brings students into contact with the extensive research on women, gender, feminisms and sexuality that has burgeoned during the past 30 years, as well as with historical and cross-cultural knowledge that recognizes the intersections of gender with race, class, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, age, ability and nationality. Our department draws an enthusiastic and diverse group of students who seek intellectual challenges and who are committed to social justice.
Students who take courses in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies gain valuable skills in research and analysis, critical thinking, writing and public speaking, creative problem solving, leadership, conflict resolution and team building.
The Women's, Gender and Sexuality studies curriculum prepares students for a wide range of careers. Graduates of our program are applying their skills and knowledge to academic and professional pursuits in medicine, law, education, government, social service, public policy, religion, counseling, international relations, journalism, publishing, business and the arts.
As early as possible in their academic careers, students interested in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies should take WMGS 5a (Women, Genders and Sexualities), the required introduction to the field. In order to declare a major or minor, each student should meet with the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department Undergraduate Advising Head, who will help them select as an adviser a faculty member well suited to the student's academic interests. The advisor will help to plan a course of study tailored to the student’s intellectual and professional interests while meeting the core and elective requirements for the degree.
Yes. In order to declare a major, each student should meet with the WGS Department Undergraduate Advising Head, who will help them select as an advisor a faculty member well suited to the student's academic interests. The advisor will help to plan a course of study tailored to the student's intellectual and professional interests while meeting the core and elective requirements for the degree.
WGS will allow majors to request WGS credit for up to two courses taken abroad. WGS and SQS minors can get credit for one course. These limits are in place for students regardless of how many semesters they spend abroad.
Courses taken while abroad can fulfill the elective distribution requirement (i.e., historical focus, sexuality, etc.). Students must request credit for a course as meeting the historical/cultural/sexuality requirement by submitting the course syllabus to the UAH.
Students are not allowed to substitute study abroad courses for WGS 5a, SQS 6b, or WGS 105b, nor are they allowed to get WGS/SQS course credit toward the major or minors for internships taken abroad.
The current list of courses that count as electives can be found in the Brandeis University Bulletin. If a course is not listed, but you believe that it may count as an elective, please contact the WGS Office.
The Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department offers two graduate degree options:
Terminal joint MA degree in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and one of the following six disciplines:
PhD students may complete the joint MA as they work towards a PhD in one of the following fields:
There is no PhD offered solely in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. All of the degrees we offer are on the MA level.
Learn how to apply to our joint programs excluding our programs with the Heller school, or how to apply to our joint programs with the Heller School.
Brandeis faculty and alumni have been in the vanguard of scholarship worldwide. Our MA provides a strong grounding in discipline specific studies along with interdisciplinary education in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies theories, knowledge and methodologies. By introducing current research in a range of fields, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies creates cross disciplinary dialogue and prepares students for intellectual leadership in careers as diverse as public policy, education, social service, management, writing, counseling and publishing.
In addition to these careers, many students go on to pursue doctoral studies and further their careers in academia. PhD students will find the joint MA to be excellent preparation for research on women or gender and for teaching careers both in women's and gender studies and in their chosen discipline.
Brandeis University is one of nine degree-granting institutions in the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies (GCWS) located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The other participating institutions are Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Tufts University and UMass Boston. Each semester the GCWS offers interdisciplinary, team-taught seminars to students matriculated in member school graduate programs.
Courses taken through the GCWS transfer as electives outside the student’s home department. The exception is the GCWS course Feminist Inquiry: Strategies of Effective Scholarship, which counts as the feminist research methodologies requirement. For further information about GCWS and to apply, please visit the GCWS web site. You must also fill out the Brandeis University Cross-Registration Petition through the registrar's office.
The current list of courses that count as electives can be found in the Brandeis University Bulletin. If a course is not listed, but you believe that it may count as an elective, please contact the WGS Department office.