Women & Gender Studies Institute

Requirements

Program Requirements

Program requirements are designed to ensure that Ph.D. students receive a shared, advanced overview of some crucial questions in interdisciplinary feminist studies, and to develop a rigorous and in-depth background in the theories, methods and themes chosen by the individual student. The program requirements include: (1) coursework, (2) comprehensive exams, (3) a dissertation proposal, (4) a dissertation, and (5) active participation in WGSI seminars. Each student’s program of study must be approved by the graduate coordinator. The normal program length is 4 years (full-time Ph.D.) or 5 years (full-time, direct-entry Ph.D.). No more than 1.0 FCE in courses in which undergraduates are also enrolled may be applied towards graduate degree requirements.

For students admitted from a Master’s degree:

Students admitted to the program from an M.A. must complete a total of 3.0 full course equivalents (FCES) as follows:

  • 1.0 FCEs required courses: WGS5000H (Feminist Theories, Histories, Movements I) and WGS5001H (Feminist Theories, Histories, Movements II). Students who have already taken WGS5000H will be required to enroll in alternate course selections, with Institute approval.
  •  0.5 FCE elective in Women and Gender Studies.
  • 1.5 FCEs offered in Women and Gender Studies or by other departments and chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor.

Students must also complete WGS 2000H, a credit/noncredit course, requiring participation in the WGS Research Seminar Series. Normally, students will enroll in WGS 2000H during the coursework years of their PhD program. The seminar is a crucial part of graduate education in the program, and 80% of regular attendance at this seminar is required.

All coursework should normally be completed in the first year of Ph.D. study.

For students admitted from a Bachelor’s degree (“direct-entry” students):

Students admitted to the program from a Bachelor’s degree must complete a total of 5.0 full course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

  • 1.0 FCEs required courses: WGS5000H (Feminist Theories, Histories, Movements I) and WGS5001H (Feminist Theories, Histories, Movements II).
  • 2.0 FCEs elective courses in Women and Gender Studies.
  • 2.0 FCEs elective courses offered in Women and Gender Studies or by other departments and chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor.

Students must also complete WGS 2000H, a credit/noncredit course, requiring participation in the WGS Research Seminar Series. Normally, students will enroll in WGS 2000H during the coursework years of their PhD program. The seminar is a crucial part of graduate education in the program, and 80% of regular attendance at this seminar is required.

All coursework should be completed by the end of the second year of Ph.D. study.

The Ph.D. Program is only offered full time. The program is not offered on a part-time basis.

Advising/Supervising Process:

The potential student’s initial contacts with WGSI are usually with the Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate Administrator. Opening conversations and e-mails focus on whether the student is prepared for the Ph.D. program and whether supervision can be provided for the intended area of study. During the application process the conversation continues, usually expanding to involve professors whose research interests are similar to those of the applicant. Incoming students will be provisionally assigned an Academic Advisor, or Co-Advisors, chosen on the basis of supervisory expertise in the student’s stated area of scholarly interest. Normally, students study with the Advisor(s) throughout the year: either students or Advisor(s) may initiate a change, if they believe this is in the students’ best interests. Normally, the student and Advisor(s) would have the first conversation about effecting a change. One or both may then approach the Graduate Coordinator for assistance in effecting this change.

In the first weeks of the first year, the student will meet with the Academic Advisor(s) to work out the student’s program of study. The Advisor(s) must sign off on this program of study. At the end of each year, the doctoral student will meet with the Advisor(s) and other members of a Mentoring Committee to complete an annual mentoring report. The student will have a committee for examining complete comprehensive examinations in one major field and one minor field, which are defined in consultation with the Advisor(s) and up to three other faculty members. The Dissertation Committee is struck after the completion of comprehensive exams. The student’s doctoral dissertation will be read and evaluated by this Committee, which will be constructed by agreement of the Supervisor(s) and student. We recommend that students submit earlier drafts of their dissertation to the Supervisor(s) and potentially to other committee members for comments, before officially submitting the final version to the Defense Committee.