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WGS Specialization

The Women's & Gender Studies (WGS) graduate specialization is available as an elective for students who are enrolled in master's and doctoral degree programs at Michigan State University. The specialization is sponsored jointly by the Colleges of Social Science, Arts & Letters, and Education.

Contact the GenCen grad programs advisor, Pat Arnold, for more information.

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The WGS Graduate Specialization is designed to foster the study of women, gender, sexuality, and feminist theory across disciplines and national borders, provide professionalization opportunities for graduate students focusing on women, gender, and/or feminist studies, and to foster the growth of interdisciplinary research and teaching on women, gender, and sexualities. Emphasis is given to understanding the diversity of gender and sexuality—cross-culturally and globally. The specialization is open to graduate students with adequate undergraduate preparation in gender studies and currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at MSU.

The specialization should complement advanced, discipline-based degrees by providing an interdisciplinary, feminist component. Students are encouraged to develop competence in the foreign language most relevant to their field of work and area of interest.

Download the program brochure for the WGS specialization here [pdf].

Course Requirements


The WGS Specialization is designed to provide interdisciplinary training in gender studies with a focus on the intersections of gender with race, class, and ethnicity from a global perspective. Students can select elective courses tailored to their interests.

With approval of the advisor, courses that are used to satisfy requirements in the student's graduate degree program may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the Graduate Specialization in Women's & Gender Studies.  

Core Course (3 credits)

WS 897: Seminar in Feminist Theories, Epistomologies & Pedagogy

Elective Courses (9 credits)

Elective courses must focus on women's and gender issues and should complement the student's major interests. At least one of these courses must be at the 800-level. A complete list of applicable courses is maintained by the GenCen Advisor, and is available on the Office of the Registrar site.

Sample elective courses include:

  • ANP 859: Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change
  • CJ 823: Globalization of Crime
  • CEP 956: Mind, Media, and Learning
  • CSUS 858: Gender, Justice & Environmental Change: Issues and Concepts
  • FLM 452: Studies in Film, Gender, and Sexuality 
  • HRLR 401: Income Inequality
  • HST 860: Women's and Gender History
  • LIN 871: Advanced Studies in Sociolinguistics
  • MC 482: Gender and Violent Conflict
  • PHL 456: Topics in Feminist Philosophy
  • SOC 831: Intersections of Class, Race, and Gender
  • SOC 833: Gender and Power
  • SPN 876: Seminar in Gender Studies in the Hispanic World
  • UP 844: Planning Theory and Ethics

WGS Dissertation Fellowships

The WGS Program offers Dissertation Fellowships on an annual basis. For more information on the Fellowships and how to apply, visit our graduate student funding page.

Current 2020-2021 Awardees

Dissertation Research Awards

Lalaki Awudu (Sociology)
“Transregional Migration: Understanding Belonging and Gendered Relations in the Global South” 

Kyla Cary (Human Development and Family Studies)
“Women’s Online Experiences of Sexual Objectification: Measurement Development and Associations with Behavior and Mental Health“ 

Nerli Paredes Ruvalcaba (Anthropology)
“An intersectional approach to motherhood and infant development in Mexico: The role of biomedicine, infant feeding, and human milk“  

Edith Gondwe (Fisheries and Wildlife)
“Women Empowerment, Capital Assets, and Small-Scale Fish Food Systems: Contribution to Food and Nutrition Security” 

Cara Jacob (Anthropology)
"Water Security Down the Drain: Shifting Understandings of Water In/security Among Women in A Rustbelt City" 

Dissertation Completion Awards

Rebekah Gordon (Education – Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education)
“Laboring for the Motherland: Mobilizing Maternal Perspectives to Reconceptualize the Curriculum of State-sponsored Transnational Teachers”  

2020-2021 Awardees

Dissertation Research Awards

Elizabeth Brannon (Political Science)
"The Electoral Support of Former Rebel Women in Post-Conflict Africa"

Inna Mirzoyan (Sociology)
"Who is Armenia’s Second Army and Can It Help the Country Succeed?

Judith Namanya (Geography)
"Gender and HIV/AIDS: Investigating Uganda’s High HIV Infections among Young Women in an Era of Widespread Gains in HIV Prevention and treatment"
Chioma Uchefuna (History)
"Undressed Soldiers, Embodied Dualities: Igbo Women, and the Making of Communities During the Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967-1970"

Dissertation Completion Awards

Briona Simone Jones (English)
"Black Lesbian Aesthetics"
Rachel Robinson (Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures)
"'I’ve Fooled Them All!': Imposter Syndrome and the Woman-Identified WPA" Learn more about Rachel's project

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Center for Gender in Global Context
International Center
427 N. Shaw Lane, Room 206
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-353-5040
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