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M.A. Program

The M.A. in Women's and Gender Studies is a liberal arts degree that provides students with an opportunity to pursue advanced interdisciplinary work in Women's and Gender Studies, enabling them to become active practitioners in this rapidly expanding field of study. The degree is specifically designed so that full-time students can complete the program in one calendar year. The program is structured as a "terminal" master's degree for students and professionals who seek to deepen their feminist perspectives on activism, policy and research. The M.A. may also serve as a supplement for professional degrees in fields such as law, social work, public health, labor studies, public policy, or clinical psychology. With an increasing emphasis on careers focusing on the delivery of services to women and families worldwide, Women's and Gender Studies helps to fill a growing demand for experts versed in women's and gender issues. The M.A. program is designed to emphasize global and multicultural perspectives on these matters.

Admission to the M.A. program is entirely separate from admission to the Ph.D. program. Students in the M.A. program who wish to pursue doctoral work in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers must apply to the Ph.D. program directly, where they will compete with the general pool of applicants for admissions.

Learn more about the M.A. Learning Goals.


See below for more information on:

 




M.A. Requirements: An Overview

Consult the current Graduate Handbook for detailed requirements.

30 Credits total:

  • 24 course credits (8 courses)

  • 6 credits for Practicum

Required courses:

  • 988:515 Feminism: Theory and Practice 

  • 988:520 Agency, Subjectivity and Social Change 

  • One course in Feminist Theory
    • Usually either 988:582 Feminist Geneologies or 988:583 Contemporary Feminist Theories. Other courses in feminist theory may also be designated as fulfilling this requirement.

  • One course in Feminist Methodology
    • This requirement may be filled by 988:602 Feminist Methodologies or 988:603 Feminist Knowledge Production. Other courses in feminist methodology may also be designated as fulfilling this requirement.

  • Four additional courses selected in consultation with the advisor to form an area of concentration.

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Core Course Descriptions for the M.A. Program

  1. 988:515 Feminism: Theory and Practice
    This course aims to illuminate the interconnections of theory and practice by exploring particular modes of feminist activism and the complex theoretical issues that feminist praxis raises. The course seeks to foster an understanding of the multiple ways that feminist theory has opened our imaginations to the possibilities for inclusive democratic practices, and expanded the repertoire of strategies for realizing social change.

  2. 988:520 Agency, Subjectivity, and Social Change
    This course investigates women’s mobilizations to transform social and political institutions, which also transform women activists themselves. Examining global feminist movements in the past as well as in the contemporary world, this course seeks to explicate how women’s activism and agency continue to challenge dominant discourses on agency, subjectivity, culture, politics, authority, religion, and society.

  3. One course in feminist theory. May be selected from 988:582, 988:583, or other courses to be designated each semester as fulfilling this requirement.

    988:581 Feminist Genealogies
    As a methodology, genealogy seeks to trace concepts back not to their origins (a task which presupposes continuity), but to points at which contradictions and contestations erupted in a manner productive of later discursive formations. This course examines key modern theories whose contradictions provoked feminist thought and elicited feminist critiques (for example, Hegelian, Liberal, Marxist, Existentialist and others). Both primary and secondary texts will be examined from perspectives of the first wave of the 19th century feminism, and second and third wave twentieth century feminism.

    988:583 Contemporary Feminist Theories
    This course will examine how recent feminist theories have critiqued a variety of traditional boundaries such as theoretical categories of identity, global hierarchies of power, and disciplinary boundaries. The original contributions of feminist theories to conceptual thinking will be explored around key concepts such as agency, identity, difference, location, intersectionality, transnationalism and nationalism, representation, resistance, power, and sexuality.

  4. One course in feminist research and methods. May be selected from 988:602, 988:603, or other courses to be designated each semester as fulfilling this requirement.

    988:602 Feminist Methodologies 
    This course focuses on both the advantages and disadvantages of different philosophical, methodological, theoretical, and disciplinary traditions for contributing to our knowledge of central issues in women's and gender studies. The goal is to provide students with the critical tools to utilize and interrogate existing methodologies and to adapt them to the enterprise of feminist research. What counts as authoritative knowledge? What defines good research and bad research? What is the role of the social in the constitution of knowledge? What makes research feminist?

    988:603 Feminist Knowledge Production 
    This course is an introduction to many of the methods used in feminist interdisciplinary research. The course looks at how to formulate a research question, collect data, interpret and analyze evidence, and report research results. The course will be a forum to apply knowledge of methods and methodologies to students’ own research and research-activist interests.

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M.A. Areas of Concentration

In addition to the four required courses, M.A. students take four other courses to comprise an area of concentration. These courses may be drawn from 988 courses (including proseminars and advanced colloquia) or cognate courses (taught by Graduate Faculty in other departments).

Each M.A. student should choose an area of concentration during the first semester of coursework in order to complete M.A. course work efficiently. Students should craft a concentration on the basis of particular intellectual interests and courses available in any particular academic year.


Models of M.A. course work with specific M.A. Concentrations

Women & Work

Fall
988:520 Agency, Subjectivity and Social Change
988:515 Feminism: Theory and Practice
510:525 Colloquium in the History of Women
578:541 Women Workers and the Labor Movement

Spring
988:583 Contemporary Feminist Theories
988:602 Research Methodologies or
988:603 Feminist Knowledge Production
578:566 Work and Alienation
910:542 Women, Work and Single Parent Families


Women & Politics

Fall
988:520 Agency, Subjectivity and Social Change
988:515 Feminism: Theory and Practice
790:587 Proseminar on Women and Politics
790:593 Gender and Comparative Politics

Spring
988:583 Contemporary Feminist Theories
988:602 Research Methodologies or
988:603 Feminist Knowledge Production
790:591 Women and Public Policy
970:581 Gender in Development and Planning


Women & Literature

Fall
988:520 Agency, Subjectivity and Social Change
988:515 Feminism: Theory and Practice
350:583 Women Writers of Modernism
350:571 Gender, Class, Power in 19th Century England

Spring
988:583 Contemporary Feminist Theories
988:602 Research Methodologies or
988:603 Feminist Knowledge Production
350:529 Black Women Writers
350:629 Early Modern Women in Poetry and Prose

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Practicum

The practicum provides students with the opportunity to integrate academic analysis of particular feminist issues with work in a feminist organization addressing those issues. As such, the Practicum is an ideal means to bring together feminist theory and practice.

The practicum comprises three elements: the Policy and Leadership Discussion Series, the work experience, and the written report.

The Work Experience

Each student who chooses to complete a practicum must perform 150-180 hours of work in an agency, organization, or project pertinent to Women’s and Gender Studies. The hours may be paid or unpaid. The work performed in the practicum must be comparable to that of a professional. While practicum placements may vary widely, each should involve intellectual challenges, responsibility, creativity, programmatic impact. While students have great flexibility in choosing their practicum sites, they must be careful to ensure that they have the requisite skills to successfully complete the work expected of them. If students seek a practicum placement in an organization in another country, they should possess sufficient language proficiency to complete their work assignments in the language of the host nation.

The Practicum Report

As the culmination of the student’s M.A. experience, the Practicum Report provides the student an opportunity to integrate insights gleaned from academic course work with challenges posed by particular forms of feminist activism, and by bringing together theory and practice, to contribute to feminist understandings of the issue being explored. The paper could, for example, examine feminist organizational or decision-making issues, substantive feminist policy or service delivery, detail theoretical questions raised by feminist practice within the worksite, or explore strategic questions concerning the achievement of specific feminist goals. The challenge of the Practicum Report is to bring together an academic treatments of the issue(s) with the experience gained during fieldwork. Guided by the questions the student formulated in the practicum proposal, the student should use the fieldwork to provide evidence to support or contest particular academic claims, to offer suggestions for reframing or expanding particular debates, and to develop concepts and practices that further feminist ends.

Each student should consult her/his advisor while planning the Practicum Report and submit a draft to the advisor prior to circulating the Report to the other members of the Faculty Committee. While the length of the Practicum Report will be dictated by the nature of the issue addressed, a typical Practicum Report ranges from 35 – 50 pages.

The faculty advisor decides when the practicum report fulfills the expectations of the Graduate Faculty and is ready for defense. The defense, which generally takes one to two hours, is an opportunity for the students to reflect on the practicum experience and for the faculty committee to ask questions about the final report and the student’s experience. Other members of the Women’s and Gender Studies Community may be invited to the defense at the Students request.

Click here for a list of practicum opportunities

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Joint Degrees

Graduate students may earn a Women’s and Gender Studies M.A. along with another graduate degree at Rutgers. Admission and financial aid are separate processes for each program, therefore, students must apply separately to each program. No special consideration is given to students already accepted in a program at Rutgers. Students who are accepted to both programs, may enroll for both, but technically cannot earn the degrees simultaneously. Thus, after the student completes the first program, s/he must request that credits from the first program be applied to the second degree program. Students interested in this option should discuss it with the Graduate Directors of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the second Department in which s/he is interested.

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Contact Us

Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building
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New Brunswick, NJ 08901


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E  womenstudies@womenstudies.rutgers.edu