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Women's Studies

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.), Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview


GW’s Women’s Studies program emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches to the study of gender and sexuality. Graduate students in Women’s Studies' courses are encouraged to explore how gender and sexuality are constructed alongside other social categories, including class, race, ethnicity, nationality, and dis/ability; to develop and cultivate local, national, transnational, and global feminist frameworks; and to critically challenge inequalities. The program provides students unique access to resources and internship opportunities in Washington, DC. Many Women’s Studies graduates go on to professional and graduate schools in law, humanities, social sciences, and other fields. Others secure jobs business, law, government, public interest and social service organizations, the arts, and elsewhere. Women’s Studies offers two interdisciplinary programs leading to the degree of Master of Arts: The MA in Women’s Studies and the MA in Public Policy with a Concentration in Women’s Studies. Both programs are administered by the Women’s Studies Program, drawing upon faculty and courses from various departments across the University. Both programs are also available as part of J.D.–M.A. and LL.M.–M.A. joint degrees with the GW Law School. A graduate certificate in Women’s Studies is offered as well.

The MA in Women’s Studies was established at GW in 1972, and was the first of its kind in the United States. Today, students in the MA in Women’s Studies program are introduced to key debates in gender and sexuality studies, while receiving a rigorous interdisciplinary training that enables them to conduct scholarly research and analysis.  Students in the MA in Women’s Studies program develop a focused specialization in a disciplinary or topical area of their choice. Students have designed concentrations in gender and history, sociology, anthropology, international development, media studies, health, and the intersection of race class and gender, to name a few.  A number of graduates go on to PhD programs; others apply their interests and training in a wide range of professional settings including gender-focused research, advocacy, and service organizations.

The MA in Public Policy with a concentration in Women’s Studies trains students to critically analyze contemporary policy issues concerning gender and sexuality, and to apply a gender lens to a broad range of policy questions. Along with required and elective courses in women’s and gender studies, students take at least four policy courses in the GW Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. Graduates typically find jobs in policy or advocacy oriented non-profit organizations and public agencies.  Coursework for this degree may be applied to the GW Ph.D. program in Public Policy and Public Administration.

Both MA programs require 36 credits and offer thesis or practicum (directed internship) choices for completing the degree.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – April 1 (February 1 for applicants applying for assistantships/fellowships)

Standardized test scores: 

GRE general test required for M.A. applicants (institutional code 5246). Waived for applicants who hold a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.

Recommendations required:

One (1) recommendation for admission; Two (2) for those applying for assistantships/fellowships.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application. If you are applying for an assistantship or fellowship, you should also describe any teaching experience you have had.

International applicants only: 

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions: ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday