Department of Gender Studies

Department of Gender Studies
Department of Gender Studies

MA Program

Gender Studies Graduate student in her office

The one-year Gender Studies MA program trains students in critical race, gender, and sexuality studies and social justice.
Gender Studies MA graduates may apply to be admitted with advanced standing in the Gender Studies PhD program.


Fall, Year 1
  • GNDS 801 (3.0)
  • GNDS 802 (3.0)
  • GNDS 815 (0.0)
  • Elective Course (3.0)
Winter, Year 1
  • GNDS 815 (0.0)
  • Elective Course (3.0)
  • Elective Course (3.0)
  • Elective Course (3.0)


Fall, Year 1
  • Prepare the MRP proposal in GNDS 802; submit to course instructor and the supervisor
Winter, Year 1
  • Revise proposal based on supervisor feedback; submit final version to supervisor and second reader by April 30

Supervision and Committee

January, Year 1
  • Confirm Supervisor
April, Year 1
  • Confirm Second Reader

Major Research Paper

Spring/Summer, Year 1
  • In consultation with the supervisor, assign a deadline for submitting a complete draft of MRP for review during spring, and no later than June 30. Revise as required by the supervisor.
  • Submit the final MRP to the supervisor and second reader for marking no later than August 15. 

Full-time MA students complete six courses during fall and winter terms: two required core courses, GNDS 801/3.0 “Theories in Gender Studies” and GNDS 802/3.0 “Methodologies in Gender Studies,” and four additional (3.0) elective courses.

Elective courses may be selected from Gender Studies graduate courses (both graduate-only and mixed graduate/undergraduate), graduate courses in other departments, and independently organized directed readings (GNDS 840/841/3.0) and practicum (GNDS 850/3.0). Directed reading and practicum options are subject to the availability and permission of a supervising instructor.

In spring/summer term, students enroll in GNDS 898/3.0 and complete the Major Research Paper.

Selection of Supervisor

An MA supervisor is identified at the time of admission. Students confirm their supervisor early in January. The final supervisor may change from the one assigned at admission.  

All core faculty members in Gender Studies are eligible to supervise MA students or serve as second reader of the Major Research Paper. Cross-appointed faculty in Gender Studies may co-supervise MA students or serve as second reader.

Selection of Second Reader

Students consult with the supervisor to identify an appropriate second reader for planned Major Research Paper. The Second Reader should be confirmed by the start of spring, and no later than April 1. The only required duty of the second reader is to read and mark the final MRP submitted by the student for graduation.

Preparation of the Major Research Paper

The standard and common form of the Major Research Paper is a 50-page paper, composed of two substantive chapters (20-25 pgs) and a brief introduction (5-10 pgs).

Students may present major papers written in graduate courses as chapters of the MRP. As a result, it may be possible for the MRP chapters to be written by the end of winter term, leaving spring/summer term to prepare the chapters and a brief introduction as the MRP.

If the supervisor and student agree, the MRP may be prepared as a portfolio. The portfolio option may be chosen if the student’s work requires creating multiple works that are fully distinct in form, method or application. The works may be prepared to circulate separately after the MA, but for purposes of the degree they should be presented together as a common contribution to knowledge. Examples may include:

  • writing an academic chapter for program review alongside an independent scholarly publication (i.e. a policy report; a report of original research; a peer-reviewed essay; etc.)
  • writing an academic chapter for program review alongside a major artistic work, or works.
  • Each component must demonstrate achievement by presenting a compelling theoretical framework, method and substantive content. The portfolio as a whole also should include a brief introduction (5-10 pages) explaining what the multiple works communicate together.
MRP Proposal

During fall, the student works with the GNDS 802 instructor and the supervisor to outline the contents of the MRP. The student submits a formal proposal (4-5 total pages, excluding bibliography) in GNDS 802 and to the supervisor at the end of fall term. The Proposal must include:

  • a title and description of the MRP, its contents and its argument(s)
  • a chosen format as a research paper or portfolio, with justification for this being the most appropriate format for its topic, method and/or application
  • a chapter or components outline (please title each chapter / component)
  • a bibliography of at least 10 sources
  • for Portfolios that will be published or publicly displayed: the name of the publisher or venue, and the dates when it was or will be submitted as well as when it will be publicly accessible.

After being revised with advice from the supervisor, a final proposal is given to the second reader by April 30. The proposal may be revised and shared at an earlier date with candidates who are being asked to consider serving as second reader.

MRP Submission and Grading

Students must deliver a first complete draft of the MRP to the supervisor for review during spring, with the latest possible submission date being June 30.

After incorporating revision requests from the supervisor, the final MRP should be submitted for marking as early in the summer as possible to the supervisor and second reader, and no later than August 15

Each reader grades the MRP and provides a one-paragraph report explaining their grade. The average of the two grades is the final grade of the MRP.

The MRP passes if it receives a combined, averaged grade of at least B- (minimum passing grade in the School of Graduate Studies) and if neither reader returns an individual grade below B-. If the MRP passes, the graduate assistant copies both reader reports and the final grade to the student and the graduate chair.

If either reader returns an individual grade below B- then the MRP must be revised and resubmitted. Immediately on receiving reports, the supervisor must email the student (cc’ing the graduate chair) with the reader reports and with clear directions for completing revisions that would produce a passing grade. Ideally, the student should take no more than two weeks to complete revisions and return the revised MRP to the supervisor and second reader, who should promptly review the revised document and determine if it passes (following the guidelines above).