Doctor of Philosophy in Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies

The Ph.D. degree prepares students to revitalize academic life by producing new forms of knowledge and praxis through transdisciplinary, transformative dialogues in diverse disciplines. Doctoral degree recipients will be grounded in rigorous graduate 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 disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. They will use this knowledge to create new dialogues among knowledge fields inside and outside the academy. Graduates will be prepared to serve as professors of women's and gender studies and related disciplines and as leaders in nongovernmental, social service, and research agencies that address social justice issues.

Students entering the doctoral program with a bachelor's degree but without a master's degree can earn the M.A. as they complete the Ph.D. Students applying with a master’s degree can transfer in up to 30 semester credit hours with departmental approval.

Marketable Skills

Defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 Strategic Plan as, "Those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings, including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skills areas. These skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities."

  1. Apply womanist/feminist and multicultural theories to social-justice issues, research questions, and teaching techniques.
  2. Engage in critical, analytical, and intuitive reasoning about social/political problems or theoretical issues.
  3. Produce effective, well-written prose that adopts an appropriate tone; precise and rich language; and careful, thoughtful organization.
  4. Systematically research, review, and evaluate research and scholarship in a range of areas of inquiry.


All students must meet the University requirements as outlined in the Admission to the TWU Graduate School section of the catalog.

The academic program may have additional admission criteria that must also be completed as outlined on the program's website.

Degree Requirements

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

A minimum of 72 semester credit hours (SCH) beyond the baccalaureate, consisting of 18 SCH of required program courses, 12 SCH of WS electives, 30 SCH in a Transdisciplinary Concentration, and 12 SCH for dissertation. Students entering with a master’s degree may transfer in up to 30 SCH with departmental approval.

The doctoral degree is flexible and individually-tailored in order to most effectively meet each student’s research interests and career goals. In addition to a set of required program courses, each student will develop an individualized degree plan composed of a transdisciplinary concentration, research tools, a qualifying examination, a dissertation, and a dissertation presentation/defense. Students will select specific courses under the guidance of their graduate committee. See the Ph.D. in Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies webpage for additional information about guidelines and contact information.

Required Courses
WS 5023Foundations for Scholarly Inquiry in Women's and Gender Studies3
WS 5463U.S. Women of Colors3
WS 5843Feminist/Womanist Theories3
WS 6103New Directions in Feminist/Womanist Theories3
WS 6303Transdisciplinary Feminist Research Methods3
WS 6403The Politics of Publication and Writing3
MWGS Electives (choose 4 of the following)12
Art, Activism, and Social Justice
Law, Gender, and Sexuality
Rights, Race, and Social Justice
Transgressive Identities: Queer Theories and Critical 'Race' Theories
Feminism and Religion
Ecofeminist Theorizing, Spirituality, and Activism
Gloria Anzaldua Seminar: Theories, Politics, and Transformation
Feminist Pedagogies
Feminist/Womanist Epistemologies
Black Feminist Thought
Women At Work: Race, Migration, Labors
Qualitative Research Methods
Spiritual Activism: Social Justice Theories for Holistic Transformation
Special Topics
Internship in Women's and Gender Studies
Transdisciplinary Concentration30
Coursework to be selected in consultation with and approved by a student's graduate committee.
A student who enters with a master's degree may receive up to 30 SCH applied coursework from this degree to fulfill the concentration requirement with committee approval.
A student entering with a bachelor's degree will select courses designed to support their research and career plans. Recommended concentrations include Multicultural Studies, English/Rhetoric, Educational Leadership, Sociology, or Nonprofit Work.
Research Tools
Tool #1 - Transdisciplinary Methods: WS 6303 & WS 6403 (part of the core coursework.)
Tool #2 - Select 6 SCH from the options listed below in consultation with committee. Courses can be selected from departments across the university or consortium. May also fulfill the transdisciplinary concentration or elective requirements.
Research Methods (qualitative and/or quantitative)
Information Retrieval
Foreign Language
American Sign Language
Rhetorical Criticism & Discourse Analysis
WS 6983Dissertation (2 semesters)6
WS 6993Dissertation (2 semesters)6
Total SCHs72

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying exam consists of a digital portfolio compiled during the student's doctoral coursework. Students are expected to submit their qualifying examination portfolio within one calendar year of completing the coursework.

Dissertation Defense

An oral presentation of the dissertation is required.