Frequently Asked Questions

(Almost) everything you need to know about the Department of Women and Gender Studies.

Ariel shot of students sitting at tables outside the library

  • How do I add or drop a class?
  • What’s the difference between a W and WU?
  • What’s the deadline to withdraw from a class?

All these questions and more can be answered by going to the SF State Registrar’s page.

Most petitions can be completed online during the current semester. Talk to your professor(s) when you are even considering withdrawing or have other concerns regarding the course. Don’t leave it to the last minute.

We want all our students to succeed in all their classes and strive to do our best with everyone, regardless of who they are in any aspect of their lives, beliefs and expression of self.

Students wishing to declare Women and Gender Studies as their major can now do so online, via Campus Solutions. A follow-up email will be sent from the Department Chair. Students can also make an appointment with one of the undergraduate advisers and fill out an advising form before the appointment. 

Students majoring in Women and Gender Studies may enroll in WGS courses and courses focusing on women, gender and sexuality, in any other department. The choice of electives is flexible, and your advisor will assist you in devising a program appropriate to your own needs and interests. With the consent of your academic adviser, you may also use courses with a focus on women taken at other colleges and universities as part of the Women and Gender Studies major.

The major requires at least 39 units, no more than 9 of them lower division:

Required Courses:

  • WGS 200: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
  • WGS 300GW: Politics of Gender, Race and Nation
  • WGS 690: Senior Seminar
  • WGS 698: Internship

27 units of electives are required, of which 21 units must be taken within the department and 6 units may be taken outside the department.

WGS electives offer exciting interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to a wide variety of subject areas. These courses include Gender, Health and Environment; Gender, Poverty and Globalization; History of African American Women; Lesbian, Queer and Transgender Identity; Gender, Race and Sexuality in Popular Music; Gender and the Law; Gender, Globalization and Women’s Human Rights; Women Writers and the Politics of Decolonization; Women in the Muslim and Arab Worlds; Queer Literatures and Media; and many others.

General Education

Students may double-count a maximum of 12 units for both General Education and the Women and Gender Studies major.

Credit/No credit

A maximum of 9 units within the major can be taken credit/no credit, but students are strongly urged to take all courses within the major for letter grades.

Complementary Studies

"Bachelor of Arts students must complete at least twelve units of Complementary Studies outside of the primary prefix for the major. Students who complete two majors or a major and a minor automatically complete the Complementary Studies requirement. Details about Complementary Studies can be found in the Bulletin description for each B.A. degree. Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. These students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units." View the bulletin for our B.A.

WGS students in the past have used the complementary studies requirement to acquire a minor as well. Some popular minors with our students have been, but are not limited to, Ethnic Studies, BECA, Communications, and Comparative Literature. View the bulletin programs.

It is important to note that some minor programs allow students to double count WGS courses. Please make sure you check with your minor department. 

Students wishing to declare Women and Gender Studies as their minor may do so with advisement from WGS faculty. The current advisors can be found on the faculty page.

A minor in Women and Gender Studies can be useful in conjunction with many majors, (e.g. Humanities, Human Sexuality, Counseling, Psychology, Anthropology, Health Education, the Social Sciences).

The minor offers students majoring in other areas a coherent supplementary program in Women and Gender Studies.

The Minor requires a total of 18 units as follows:

  • WGS 200: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
  • WGS 300GW: Politics of Gender, Race and Nation
  • Six (6) elective units must be taken within the department
  • Three (3) units may be lower-division
  • Remaining three (3) units may be taken outside the department

In order to be admitted to the program, students must meet all general University requirements. They must also complete an academic program (major or minor) in Women and Gender Studies at an accredited institution prior to matriculation. Certificate programs or concentrations may also suffice. Please contact the WGS Graduate coordinator if you have questions. Before beginning the process, please go to the Division of Graduate Studies webpage.

Once you have chosen to apply to the Master of Arts program in Women and Gender Studies, please complete the following:

A Personal Statement. In 750 words or less, the applicant must: describe their academic background, intentions, and goals, including experience in women and gender studies; include a rationale for pursuing an M.A. degree and the relation of the M.A. degree in WGS to prior academic work and career objectives. A well-written statement of purpose exhibits academic preparedness for graduate school and articulates academic goals that can be supported by the methodological and intellectual interests and expertise of the department's faculty.

For admission to the University, potential graduate students are required to possess a cumulative GPA no lower than 3.0 in the final 60 units of their undergraduate career.

Two (2) Letters of Recommendation are required from individuals with direct knowledge of the applicant's scholarly ability. These letters should speak to the applicant's academic readiness for graduate-level studies and are usually from professors who have knowledge of the applicant's academic performance and interest in WGS. All letters are submitted via CalState Apply.

International students must have TOEFLS / IELTS.

The WGS department does not require GRE scores; however, applicants may include them.

A resume or CV is optional.

Financing a master’s degree can be challenging. And while SF State’s in-state tuition is quite low compared to other universities, the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the highest in the United States.

Most WGS graduate students who complete the program in two years work part-time while they are enrolled as full-time students. Other students who maintain a full-time job usually complete their M.A. degree in three years. Many students take out student loans and apply for a range of scholarships.

WGS does not offer “admissions packages” with funding outlined at the onset of your degree. Each student has unique financial and personal circumstances. Instead, each semester the department offers GA teaching positions as well as various scholarships. We try to make your M.A. as affordable as possible and support individual paths towards the degree. 

For important information about current fees and tuitions, visit the Bursar webpage.

For the most updated information about financial aid, housing and tuition, you can also contact the SF State Graduate Division and the Office of Financial Aid.

Career Options for the Major and Minor

  • Administrator of Nonprofit Women’s Groups
  • Administrator of Women’s Health Clinic
  • Advocate for Women and Gender Issues
  • Affirmative Action Officer, Government, Business and Industry, Educational Institutions
  • Career Counselor for Women
  • Community Organizer/Outreach Consultant
  • Coordinator of Re-entry or Adult Education Programs
  • Coordinator of Women's Programs in Government and Business
  • Counselor, Social Services for Women
  • Criminal Justice Advocate for Women
  • Director of Women's Center
  • Editor/Writer
  • Educator
  • Health-care Provider
  • Lawyer
  • Lobbyist for Women’s Issues
  • Media Analyst
  • Policy Analyst on Women and Gender Issues
  • Researcher on Women's Projects
  • Union Organizer

Career Options for the M.A.

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.

  • Advocacy
  • Activism
  • Counseling
  • Community Work
  • Consultancy
  • Editing
  • Health Care
  • Nongovernmental Organization Administration
  • Publishing
  • Political Organizing
  • Research
  • Social Work
  • Teaching
  • Writing

The current advisors can be found on the faculty page.

Bring your unofficial transcripts and/or Academic Progress report, both available through your Student Center, to your first meeting. Also bring your advising form, found on the advising page.

How do I contact a professor?

All faculty can be found on the faculty page. Each professor’s office hours and courses are updated each semester.

In Spring 2018 all applications were submitted via CalState Apply. The department began receiving completed applications well before the established deadline, yet those applications were not reviewed until the deadline along with all other completed applications. The department will now have two review blocks and deadlines.

Review and Notification Block 1  

Application deadline January 15: committee will make decisions by Feb. 15

Review and Notification Block 2

Application deadline March 15: committee will make decisions by April 30

YES. The WGS department has between five to eight graduate student teaching assistant positions each semester (they are called GA - graduate assistant, not teaching assistant, at SFSU). In August and January, the chair of the WGS department calls for applications for GA positions. WGS graduate students have priority for these positions. The GA positions carry a monthly stipend: $460.60/month for eight hours work per week for five months (total $2,303 based on spring 2018 rates).

WGS students have also often been GAs for other departments such as Ethnic Studies, Sexuality Studies, Humanities, Journalism, etc. if other departments have needs for GAs with gender studies expertise.

When WGS faculty receive grants for research assistants, they can hire WGS graduate students. These are paid hourly, usually between $15-$20/hour, depending on the grant.

What other on-campus jobs are available to me?

WGS students have often worked as cross-campus tutors at both the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) and the Campus Academic Resource Program (CARP).

WGS students have also worked in student services, as program coordinators for student groups such as the Queer and Trans Resource Center, and elsewhere on campus.

SF State Scholarships and Grants

WGS graduate students are also often very successful in applying for other SF State scholarships and grants: these follow the same calendar and are usually $500-$1,000 awards.

Some SF State scholarships that WGS students have won in the past include the following:

  • CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program
  • Judith Anne Ott Scholarship
  • Evans, Hsu, Kauffman Scholarship
  • Edward B. Kaufmann College of Liberal & Creative Arts Scholarship

Visit our scholarship page for more WGS scholarships. For more information about SFSU scholarships, please visit AcademicWorks. You can search by scholarship name or by keywords (such as “gender” or other words that relate to your own identity, history, research interests, etc.)

Other Scholarships and Grants

WGS M.A. students have been successful in applying to a range of non-SF State funds as well. Here are some suggestions

Conference Travel

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts offers graduate students up to $400 to attend a professional conference related to their areas of study. These funds are allotted each Fall on a first come, first served basis for students presenting work at qualifying conferences. See the Marcus Undergraduate Student Virtual Travel Grant for learn more.

Is there SF State campus housing for graduate students?

YES. There is on-campus graduate housing. The university also facilitates roommate referrals and housing information for graduate students. For more information, visit the Graduate Division’s Housing Information page.

Students have until September 14 in Fall semesters and February 14 in Spring semesters to ADD or DROP classes. Instructors can DROP students at any time if there is an approved justification.

Students taking courses for CR/NC — make sure you talk to the instructor in the first nine weeks of class (two months) regarding the advisability of doing so. Remember: a letter grade of "C" or better is required for CR; sometimes it's better to take the letter grade instead of the NC. 

WITHDRAWALS: You must request a withdrawal from your instructor and justifications must fall within acceptable reasons in LCA policy: Withdrawal Policy