Department of Women's Studies
Chair: Claire L. Sahlin, Professor
Location: HDB 307
Graduate Degrees Offered
The Department of Women’s Studies offers an exciting multicultural curriculum that integrates diverse perspectives and critically applies feminist/womanist scholarship on behalf of social justice. The Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Women’s Studies emphasize an understanding and appreciation of Women’s Studies as a transdisciplinary, multicultural field of study. Undergraduate and graduate courses are regularly taught by over thirty faculty from across the University. Women’s Studies uses multiple critical lenses to question, expand, and transform existing modes of knowledge and power in the service of social justice. It provides a curriculum grounded in diverse feminist theories, methodologies, and ethics; promotes interdisciplinary scholarly endeavors; and seeks to prepare leaders, particularly women, who will have the skills to negotiate change in academic and community settings.
M.A. in Women's Studies
The M.A. degree is a two-year program that prepares students for Ph.D. work in Women’s Studies or a traditional discipline with a focus in Women’s Studies, for careers in agencies and organizations that serve women, or for advanced professional training in interdisciplinary fields such as law and public policy. Students in Women’s Studies examine issues related to understanding difference, identity, and power across a variety of contexts. In addition to coursework, students may assist in teaching Women’s Studies courses, work in community agencies, participate in professional development and mentoring programs, or take part in feminist activities on campus and in the community.
Ph.D. in Women's Studies
The Ph.D. degree prepares students to revitalize academic life by producing new forms of knowledge through transdisciplinary and transformative dialogues among faculty and students in diverse disciplines. Doctoral degree recipients will emerge from this program grounded in a rigorous graduate school education and equipped with effective communication and research skills, holistic-critical thinking skills, and transformative teaching techniques. As part of the program’s unique transdisciplinary focus, students will obtain a deep understanding of scholarly production, research methodologies, and pedagogies in various academic disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. They will use this knowledge to create new dialogues among academic disciplines.
Master of Arts program in Women's Studies
In addition to the requirements for admission to the Graduate School , the Department of Women’s Studies requires the following for unconditional admission into the master’s degree program:
- A 3.0 GPA with supporting course work in the liberal arts and sciences or interdisciplinary studies.
- A written statement of the applicant’s background, interests, and goals as these relate to Women’s Studies (approximately 3-5 pages in length).
- An 8-10 page writing sample, preferably a paper from an academic course, including notes and references.
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals (preferably professors) familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or professional work.
The GRE is not required for admission to the M.A. program in Women's Studies. M.A. applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Doctor of Philosophy program in Women's Studies
In addition to the requirements for admission to the Graduate School , the Department of Women’s Studies requires the following for unconditional admission into the Ph.D. degree program:
- A completed master’s degree.
- A grade point average of 3.5 or above on prior graduate-level course work.
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can address the applicant’s past academic performance and future academic potential in the field of women's studies.
- A statement of purpose: a short essay (approximately 1,000 words) discussing the applicant’s personal and professional goals and how TWU’s Ph.D. program in Women’s Studies can assist the applicant in meeting these goals.
- A writing sample: an academic paper not to exceed twenty-five pages, including notes and references.
- A current curriculum vitae or resumé.
The GRE is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program in Women’s Studies. Ph.D. applications are only accepted for the fall semester. Specific application procedures and deadlines are available at the TWU Women's Studies website .
Prerequisite coursework for the Ph.D. degree program in Women's Studies
Ideally, the previously-earned master’s degree should include foundational courses in Women’s Studies or other feminist scholarship, with at least one course in each of the following areas: feminist/womanist theories, U.S. women of colors, feminist pedagogies, and feminist/womanist epistemologies. If comparable courses have not been part of the prerequisite master’s degree program, they must be completed as part of the doctoral degree in Women’s Studies. Applicants should have an understanding of the field of Women's Studies and familiarity with feminist and/or womanist theories.
Provisional admission to the Ph.D. degree program in Women’s Studies
Admission to the Ph.D. program in Women’s Studies may also be awarded on a provisional basis. Applicants who do not meet the unconditional criteria for admission, but who have a GPA of at least 3.0 on prior graduate-level course work, may be considered for provisional admission on an individual basis. Additional factors that may be considered in the provisional decision include the following:
- scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE ),
- scholarly activities, and/or
- professional leadership activities.
Certificate in Women's Studies
Minors Offered to Students from Other Departments
Students may minor in Women’s Studies at both the master’s and doctoral levels. Courses designed to complement the student’s major field will be selected in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. Normally a minor requires 6 semester credit hours at the master’s level and 12 semester credit hours at the doctoral level.
WS 5023. Foundations for Scholarly Inquiry in Women's Studies. Historical origins and development of Women's Studies within higher education, including critiques and contributions by women of color; relationships between theorizing and activism; the challenges of multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinarity; and emerging issues. Emphasis on development of research, writing, and communication skills. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5043. Art, Activism, and Social Justice. Investigation of history and contemporary examples of the use of artistic works by activists and social movements. Focus on feminist art, art activism, and artists who create art for political purposes. Exploration of theoretical frameworks to analyze art, aesthetics, performance, and visual culture. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5093. Law, Gender, and Sexuality. Evolution of legal rights for women and sexual minorities and theoretical issues raised in concrete legal cases. Examination of debates over equality approaches in law; ways in which law constructs gender and sexuality; and the intersecting roles of gender, sexuality, and race in legal doctrine and theory. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5193. Rights, Race, and Social Justice. Interpretations of the utility of constitutional rights in movements for social justice, with special attention to struggles for racial equality. Readings in legal studies, social sciences, critical legal studies, and critical race theory that address the relationship of legal rights and change. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5253. Transgressive Identities: Queer Theories and Critical 'Race' Theories. Feminist and womanist interventions into recent developments in queer theories and critical "race" theories; the effects of racial, sexual, and gender impersonation, passing, and masquerade on identity categories. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5263. Feminism and Religion. Women's contributions to the formation and development of religious traditions with emphasis on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; interconnections between religion, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and culture; feminist critiques and transformations of religious traditions; relationships between spirituality and social change. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5283. Ecofeminist Theorizing, Spirituality, and Activism. Ecofeminist theorizing concerning interconnections between environmental degradation, sexism, racism, and globalization; spiritual dimensions of ecofeminism; and ecofeminist approaches to social change and environmental justice. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5293. Gloria Anzaldua Seminar: Theories, Politics, and Transformation. Investigation of the theories and literature of Gloria E. Anzaldua, focusing on her contributions to feminist theory, queer theory, poststructuralism, and other contemporary theoretical movements in the social sciences and the humanities. Examination of Anzaldua's impact on Women's Studies, ethnic studies, and other academic disciplines. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5353. Feminist Pedagogies. Feminist philosophies of education and their significance to women's studies; pedagogical strategies for developing critical consciousness about social inequalities; preparation for teaching undergraduate courses in women's studies. Prerequisite: Three graduate credit hours in women's studies. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5363. Feminist/Womanist Epistemologies. Feminist, womanist, and indigenous engagements with Cartesian knowledge systems, focusing on recent developments in epistemology/ontology/metaphysics and their potential contributions to social-justice work; investigations of how social, geographical, historical, and bodily location(s) affect knowledge production, consumption, and transformation. Prerequisites: WS 5463 and three additional graduate credit hours in women's studies, or permission of instructor. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5373. Black Feminist Thought. Examination of various strands of black feminist thought from the nineteenth century to the present. Distinct methodologies of black feminist theorists and how theories may be used for political and social transformation. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5383. Women At Work: Race, Migration, Labors. Investigation of impact of race, class, and gender politics on the migration and labor experiences of women. Examination of media representations of women workers and similarities and differences in work experiences among women from diverse cultural backgrounds. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5463. U.S. Women of Colors. Histories, theories, cultures, consciousness, and lives of U.S. women of colors from a variety of perspectives; issues related to conflict, agency, survival, resistance, intervention, and transformation. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5773. Qualitative Research Methods. Qualitative research philosophies including phenomenological, critical, and feminist perspectives. Research design, data collection, analysis, and writing. Strategies for studying women's lives and developing culturally sensitive models. Responsible research and professional ethics including IRB process. Hands-on research. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5843. Feminist/Womanist Theories. Exploration of feminist/womanist critical inquiry, focusing on particular theoretical issues, historical writings, and/or disciplinary contexts within the diverse body of scholarship of feminist/womanist theories. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5853. Spiritual Activism: Social Justice Theories for Holistic Transformation. Exploration of issues related to spirituality, political activism, personal changes, and social transformation, focusing on multicultural approaches to social change. Investigates the roles of the imagination, creativity, and the arts in struggles for social justice. Examines indigenous contributions to holistic forms of activism. Prerequisites: WS 5463 and six additional hours of graduate credit in Women's Studies or permission of instructor. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5903. Special Topics. Seminars on topics related to womanist/feminist theories or current areas of inquiry in multicultural-women's studies. Three lecture hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5911. Independent Study. Individual study of topics in women's studies. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Credit: One hour.
WS 5913. Independent Study. Individual study of topics in feminist theory, scholarship, or student's interests and needs. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5933. Internship in Women's Studies. Supervised practical experience in an agency or organization related to the intellectual and career interests of students. Ten practicum hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5983. Thesis. Credit: Three hours.
WS 5993. Thesis. Credit: Three hours.
WS 6103. New Directions in Feminist/Womanist Theories. Recent controversies, significant research questions, and new directions in feminist/womanist theorizing. Investigation of recent interventions in Women's Studies and feminist/womanist theories and theorizing. May be repeated for additional credit when content varies. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 6203. Women's Studies Disciplinary /Interdisciplinary Knowledges. History of academic disciplines and knowledge production, the challenge of Women's Studies to conventional academic divisions, and the potential of Women's Studies to transform academic disciplines. Prerequisite: WS 5363 or instructor approval. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 6303. Transdisciplinary Feminist Research Methods. Relational exploration of feminist, womanist, and multicultural research methods from a variety of disciplines including those in the social sciences and humanities, focusing especially on Women's Studies' impact on research methods. Overview of research tools and techniques, including qualitative, quantitative, historical, and literary research methods. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 6403. The Politics of Publication and Writing. Issues related to academic writing and publishing, especially focusing on the fields of Women's Studies and multicultural-feminist scholarship. Submission of at least one article to a peer-review journal and one abstract for a conference presentation. Three seminar hours a week. Credit: Three hours.
WS 6501. Holistic Pedagogies Colloquium. Explorations of holistic pedagogies, multicultural theory, and practical strategies for teaching Women's Studies courses, including face-to-face, hybrid, and exclusively online formats. Prerequisite: WS 5353 or instructor approval. May be repeated for credit. One lecture hour a week. Credit: One hour.
WS 6601. Transdisciplinary Studies Colloquium. Application of theories of intersectionality and difference to critical issues and research methods in diverse academic disciplines including those in the social sciences and humanities, with the goal of creating new knowledges. Similarities and difference among multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary forms of scholarship and pedagogies. May be repeated for credit. One seminar hour a week. Credit: One hour.
WS 6911. Independent Study. Individual study of topics in womanist/feminist theory, scholarship, or student's interests and needs. Credit: One hour.
WS 6912. Independent Study. Individual study of topics in womanist/feminist theory, scholarship, or student's interests and needs. Credit: Two hours.
WS 6913. Independent Study. Individual study of topics in womanist/feminist theory, scholarship, or student's interests and needs. Credit: Three hours.
WS 6983. Dissertation. May be repeated for additional credit. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the qualifying examinations. Credit: Three hours.
WS 6993. Dissertation. May be repeated for additional credit. Prerequisite: WS 6983. Credit: Three hours.