Women make up more than half of the globe’s population, and while some progress has been made, they still remain underrepresented in history, culture, politics, and other key areas of society. First created in the 1960s, women’s studies programs were a call to action to include women in the higher education narrative by designing courses and curriculum through a feminist perspective. If you’re interested in learning about different fields of study through the lens of gender (women in particular), then advancing your education with a masters in women’s studies may be the right step for you.
What is a masters in women’s studies?
Women’s studies is rooted in the feminist movement of the 1960s and was a response to the lack of women’s stories, perspectives, and contributions to the curriculums in colleges and universities at the time. The field has evolved over the years, and while programs at each institution are different, they generally fall into these categories:
- Intersectional: Women and gender are the main focus of the courses, but now most programs consider how these experiences intersect with experiences and identities based on race, class, ethnicity, sexual identity, gender expression, nationality, age, religion, and ability.
- Interdisciplinary: Programs pull from multiple fields of studies and disciplines and focus on how gender, experiences, and identity affect areas such as history, English, law, political science, sociology, and more.
Top 5 Masters in Women’s Studies Programs
|1||University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida|
|2||Stony Brook University||Stony Brook, New York|
|3||Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton, Florida|
|4||University of Wisconsin||Madison, Wisconsin|
|5||Rutgers University||New Brunswick, New Jersey|
Ready to begin exploring your options in the field of women’s studies? Explore the 14 best master’s in women studies programs that we’ve selected for our ranking below!
What can I do with a masters in women’s studies?
Women’s studies is surprisingly broad due to its interdisciplinary nature, meaning it exposes you to a number of disciplines – such as history, English, science, political science, and more – all during the course of your degree program. You’ll develop a set of skills that many employers find valuable, including:
- Critical thinking
Corporations, non-profits, and government agencies may also seek candidates who have deep knowledge of contemporary social issues around gender, race, ethnicity, and other identities and experience. They may seek to hire someone who can implement policies or change with expertise in these key areas.
A few examples of careers you could pursue with a master’s of women’s studies include:
- Social justice advocate
- Congressional aide
- Executive director of a foundation
- Coordinator of a women’s health clinic
- Communications consultant
- Director of a human rights organization
- Advocate for victims of abuse or hate crimes
- Public health educator
- Social worker
- Union organizer
If you’re ready to start thinking about the program that’s right for you, take a look at our list below. We’ve ranked the best master’s in women’s studies programs based on tuition cost per credit (least expensive is best) and graduate enrollment (highest number of students is best). Explore our list of top schools below!
Best 14 Masters in Women’s Studies
University of Florida
University of Florida offers an M.A. in Women’s Studies degree program through its Center for Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies Research. This program prepares students to pursue further careers in English, law, history, medicine, psychology, and more through the lens of women’s and gender studies. Courses focus on looking at how the roles of gender, sexualities, race, and ethnicity affect current society, and how students can work to transform these systems. The program is offered with both thesis and non-thesis options.
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University offers an M.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies degree program through its College of Arts and Sciences that examines how gender, race, nation, disability, sexuality, and nation have shaped experiences across different cultures, historical periods, and political contexts. The program is renowned for four key areas: gender and health; critical analysis of sexuality; politics of representation and media analysis; and transnational social movements and globalization. Core courses include Feminist Theories and Feminist Interdisciplinary Histories and Methods.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University offers an M.A. in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies degree program through its Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters. This program is offered in three formats, including thesis, non-thesis, and internship. This program is interdisciplinary and students will receive credit for courses in a wide variety of additional fields, including English, Criminal Justice, Communication, History, Literature, Nursing, Political Science, Sociology, and more.
University of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Gender and Women Studies, M.A. degree program that’s designed for students with a variety of academic background and career ambitions. Students will learn how to perform gender analysis through advanced feminist training. Courses also teach a wide variety of related studies, including race and ethnicity, disability, transgender, queer, cultural, postcolonial, area and global, race and ethnicity, and more. Theories and methodologies are taught from the local, regional, national, and global levels, providing well-rounded perspectives on a number of interdisciplinary studies.
Rutgers University offers an M.A. in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies degree program through its Department of Gender & Race Studies at the College of Arts & Sciences. This program is designed to help students deepen their perspectives on feminism, gender, and sexuality related to activism, policy, advocacy, and research. Students can choose between two tracks. The first is a Master’s Degree with Thesis, which is best for students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree. The Master’s Track in Feminist Practices for Social Change is ideal for students who want to careers in activism for social work and human rights and does not require a thesis.
University of Alabama
University of Alabama offers an M.A. in Women’s Studies degree program through its Department of Gender & Race Studies at the College of Arts & Sciences. This program is designed to help students build knowledge about women’s role in society and how it impacts other areas of study. The curriculum focuses on several different areas of concentration, including feminist theory, women in the civil rights movement, the culture of southern women, and other interdisciplinary and feminist areas of research. Students can choose between a thesis track or non-thesis track, which requires a comprehensive exam.
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University offers an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies degree program that enables students to create a personalized and highly flexible program of study that meets their educational goals. Students learn about the roles of women and gender in a global context through conceptual, analytical, and practical methods, and prepare for careers in non-profit, government, or business where they can use their research and debate skills.
Towson University offers an M.S. in Women’s & Gender Studies degree program through its college of Liberal Arts that emphasizes research and provides internship opportunities in Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, and the surrounding region. Students can choose from three concentrations: Women, Health and Sexuality; Women in an International Context Concentration; and Women, Leadership & Social Change Concentration. Courses feature small class sizes that enable students to interact closely with experienced faculty and classmates.
George Washington University
George Washington University offers an M.A. in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies degree program through their Columbian College of Arts and Science. Launched in 1972, this program was one of the first of its kind in the United States and specifically prepares students for practical work opportunities at top organizations and agencies in the nation’s capital. Graduates leave as experts in either a specific topical area, such as women and health or LGBT sexuality, or discipline, such as anthropology or sociology.
University of North Texas
University of North Texas offers an M.A. in Women’s & Gender Studies degree program that focuses on how gender-related identities and associated stereotypes affect class, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and nationality. Graduates of this program have gone on to hold positions at UNICEF Dallas, the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, The Texas Equal Access Fund, and other non-profit and non-governmental organizations. The program’s curriculum helps students broaden their knowledge about cultural diversity, social changes, and gender differences while improving their critical thinking and communication skills.
Simmons University offers an M.A. in Gender and Cultural Studies degree program that examines how different institutions, including power and privilege, affect race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, class, ability, and other aspects of society in America and abroad. Students are encouraged to take part in scholarly research and critical debates within feminist and race studies while also offering solutions to complex social and cultural problems. Courses include Introduction to Gender and Cultural Studies: Theory into Practice and Race, Gender, and Empire.
Brandeis University offers an M.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies degree program that provides several areas of specific focus. Students can choose from Black feminist studies, gender and race, trans and non-binary studies, postcolonial and cross-cultural feminisms, representations and experiences of women in contemporary and historical global contexts, sexualities and society and literature, and more. There are also opportunities for joint master’s degree programs or pursuing the master’s degree in conjunction with a PhD.
Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College offers a Master of Arts in Women’s History degree program that was one of the first of its kind in the country. This program emphasizes strong reading, analytical, and writing skills so graduates can be experts in today’s most critical areas of social justice and political activism related to women and gender. Students get the opportunity to do individualized research working with a nationally recognized faculty member while preparing for either top PhD programs or careers in education, law, public policy, and more.
Claremont Graduate University
Claremont Graduate University offers an MA in Applied Gender Studies degree program that is centered on an internship experience allowing students to make an impact on their local community before graduation. Students work in places like women’s centers, prisons, shelters, schools, and community organizations to apply the theories they’ve learned in the classroom in creative, practical ways. There are also opportunities to pursue a dual master’s degree with another field of study, including Psychology, Public Policy, or Education.
Are you ready to take a look at some more masters in women’s studies programs? Use our Degree Finder tool and we’ll help you find the school that’s right for your goals, interests, and schedule.
Our Ranking Methodology
We rank our schools based on two factors: per-credit tuition rates (in-state where applicable) and graduate enrollment rates. We first sort by the per-credit tuition rates and then by graduate enrollment rates. Points are assigned to each school and then added together to get a final ranking score.
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