Department of Gender Studies

Department of Gender Studies
Department of Gender Studies

MA Program of Study

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.

View the Grad Map for the Gender Studies MA

MA Progress Checklist

  • Courses
    • FALL
      1. GNDS 801 (3.0)
      2. GNDS 802 (3.0)
      3. Elective Course  (3.0)
    • WINTER
      1. Elective Course (3.0)
      2. Elective Course (3.0)
      3. Elective Course  (3.0)
  • Supervision and Committee
      1. Select, contact and agree upon Supervisor
    • by APRIL
      1. Select, contact and agree upon Second Reader
  • Proposal
    • WINTER
      1. Plan the MRP proposal with the Supervisor; submit complete proposal to the supervisor by March 30
    • APRIL
      1. Submit final, approved proposal to Supervisor and Second Reader by April 30
  • MRP
      1. Submit full draft of MRP to Supervisor for review; revise as required
    • SUMMER
      1. Submit final MRP to Supervisor and Second Reader for marking at any time during summer, and no later than August 15


Full-time MA students complete required coursework by taking six courses: 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.

Electives may be selected from among the following: graduate courses in Gender Studies; graduate courses in other departments; GNDS 850/3.0 “MA Practicum”; independent GNDS 840/841/3.0 Directed Readings; and GNDS 840/841/3.0 Directed Readings based on participation in a GNDS 400-level course. Directed Readings and the MA Practicum are subject to the availability and permission of the instructor / supervisor. 

Selection of Supervisor

The Gender Studies Graduate Committee generally identifies a preliminary academic advisor, or “First Term Advisor” at the application stage. With the Graduate Director, the First Term Advisor assists the student in planning the first semester of courses and investigating and deciding on a Supervisor.

During fall term, and continuing into winter term, students should approach one or more core faculty members to discuss their potential availability or interest to serve as Supervisor. Students must confirm their Supervisor early in winter semester, no later than Reading Week (mid-February).

All core faculty members in Gender Studies are eligible to supervise students. Co-supervision is possible in exceptional cases: i.e. if, in consultation with the Graduate Director, it is decided that the student’s MA project can be completed successfully only with two Supervisors.

Selection of Second Reader

Students should consult with their Supervisor to identify an appropriate Second Reader for the planned Major Research Paper. The Second Reader should be confirmed by the start of spring, and no later than April 30.

Second Readers generally are drawn from core faculty in Gender Studies, but faculty from other departments who are cross-appointed in Gender Studies also may take this role.

The only required duty of the Second Reader of a Major Research Paper is to read and mark the final document submitted by the student to the Supervisor.

Preparation of the Major Research Paper

The MRP should be composed of two parts: (1) an existing paper written in one of the student’s fall or winter term graduate courses; and (2) a new work prepared during spring and summer.

The standard and common form of the MRP is a single 50-page paper. The existing seminar paper and the new work become two chapters (20-25 pages each) of a major research paper, which is cohered by preparing a brief (5-10 page) Introduction to the work as a whole. 

If the Supervisor and student decide that the project demands it, an MRP may be prepared as a Portfolio. The Portfolio option may be chosen if the student’s preferred topic, method or application for the work requires the creation of two fully-distinct major works. The two works may be prepared to circulate separately, in principle, but for purposes of completing the MA they should be created to communicate deeper knowledge when read together, in Portfolio form. Examples may include:

  • preparing an academic paper for MA review alongside a scholarly publication (i.e. a policy report; a report of original research; a peer-reviewed essay; etc.)
  • preparing an academic paper for MA review alongside a major artistic work or works.

Each component must demonstrate major achievement by presenting a compelling theoretical framework, method and substantive content. The Portfolio as a whole also must include a brief Introduction (5-10 pages) explaining what the two works communicate when encountered together.

MRP Proposal

During winter term, the Supervisor and student should work together to outline the contents of the MRP. The student should finish a formal proposal (4-5 total pages, excluding bibliography) for the Supervisor to review no later than March 30. 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 incorporating revision advice from the Supervisor, the final, approved version of the Proposal must be submitted to the Second Reader by April 30.

MRP Submission and Grading

Students should prepare and deliver a first complete draft of the MRP to the Supervisor for review by June 30.

After receiving and incorporating revision requests from the Supervisor, the final MRP should be submitted for marking as early as possible in the summer to the Supervisory Committee -- Supervisor and Second Reader -- or no later than August 15. 

Each member of the Supervisory Committee reads and grades the MRP and provides a one-paragraph report explaining their grade. The average of the two readers’ 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 neither reader returns an individual grade below B-. If the MRP passes, the Supervisor sends copies of both reader reports and the final grade to the student and to the Graduate Director.

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 Director) 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 guideline above).