Women and Gender Studies Department {College of Liberal & Creative Arts}

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Master of Arts in Women and Gender Studies

Department Chair: Deborah Cohler

Graduate Advisor: Jillian Sandell


The Women and Gender Studies Department offers a Master of Arts degree. The program focuses on women, gender, and feminism in transnational and multicultural contexts, preparing students to engage critically with analytical categories such as gender, race, sexuality, nation, class, labor, and able-bodiedness. Students study how bodies, families, communities, and nations are gendered in specific cultural and historical locations; and investigate connections to their own lives, roles, and contributions.

The expertise of the department lies in interdisciplinary, multicultural, and transnational studies of inequality. Students are taught to draw from a range of theoretical and methodological approaches such as women of color feminism, post-structuralism, transgender studies, dialectical materialism, and intersectional feminisms to examine, research, and discuss the ways how, why, and who we study as “women.” Courses consider global structures of power and histories of racism in relation to local, regional, national, and transnational feminist practices. The Department provides analysis and debate of activist scholarship by feminists who confront and transform various institutions and arenas, including academia, politics, law, sexuality, non-profit groups, global non-governmental organizations, communities, labor struggles, and cultural productions.

The goals of the department include the development of conceptual, analytic, and critical thinking skills in relation to gender and feminism in a transnational framework; the ability to integrate academic studies in women and gender studies into personal and professional goals; the development of skills to formulate and implement theoretically-informed political, cultural, and community action; the ability to analyze gender from an interdisciplinary perspective, using a range of methodological tools; an historical understanding of gender in relation to structural inequality, social movements, and labor struggles; and the ability to critically examine representation and cultural production through a feminist lens.

The program is interdisciplinary, enabling students to combine core and elective courses in Women and Gender Studies with electives in other departments and programs across the campus. Students complete their Master’s degree with a culminating project of their own design working closely an adviser.

Core Requirements = 15 units

WGS 700: Introduction to Graduate Studies (3)
WGS 710: Feminist Social Movements (3)
WGS 712: Queer Theories (3)
WGS 713: Intellectual Genealogies(3)
WGS 820: Feminist Research Methods (3

Total Units for core = 15

3 units selected from the following on advisement

WGS 894: Creative Work Project
WGS 895: Field Study Project
WGS 898: Master's Thesis

12 Related Field Units (upon approval of adviser) = 12

Minimum Total Units = 30

Written English Proficiency

First Level: Satisfactory performance in the final research paper for WGS 700

Second Level: Successful completion of WGS 894, 895, or 898
Courses and course descriptions in Women and Gender Studies are listed in the San Francisco State University Bulletin and online A current schedule of classes is available online on the SFSU Class Schedule page.

Advancement to Candidacy

Filing Advancement to Candidacy

The Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) is filed after the student has completed a minimum of 12 units, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and before completing 27 units of work applicable to the M.A. degree. Once ATC form is approved, the student is advanced to candidacy.

Further information may also be found at the San Francisco State University Graduate Division home page.http://www.sfsu.edu/~gradstdy/


Career Options

The M.A. in Women and Gender Studies provides a base of knowledge for students wishing to pursue doctoral work on women, gender, and feminism in the humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary fields such as Cultural Studies, American Studies, Global Studies, and Ethnic Studies. The program also provides a foundation for future graduate work in professional degree programs such as Education, Social Work, Law, Public Administration, and Public Health. The M.A. enhances students’ abilities to participate professionally in a range of organizations and businesses in the public and private sector, particularly those addressing issues concerning gender, race, citizenship, equity, and justice
Community Work
Health Care
Non-Governmental Organization Administration
Political Organizing
Social Work


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