The MA in Women’s and Gender Studies is designed for students who intend to pursue additional academic degrees and students who seek graduate credentials to further their career goals. The degree combines advanced Women’s and Gender Studies courses in feminist theory, research methods, global feminisms, and selected topics with graduate-level courses in many disciplines. Over forty faculty members at UWM are Women’s and Gender Studies affiliates and offer graduate courses that are cross-listed with Women’s and Gender Studies.

Students completing an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies will:

  • Gain an understanding of Women’s and Gender Studies as an interdisciplinary field of study and research.
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of feminist theory and research methods.
  • Develop critical thinking skills that will enable them to analyze competing perspectives and integrate various bodies of knowledge across academic boundaries, paying particular attention to gender-based assumptions and their consequences on individuals, social and cultural groups, and institutions.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of women’s diverse experiences based on factors such as age, race, sexuality, gender identity, class, religion, and ability status.
  • Acquire the background necessary for entry into PhD programs in Women’s and Gender Studies. The MA also prepares students for further graduate studies in many fields of the humanities, social sciences or professions, as well as career fields that require an advanced degree.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

The Women's and Gender Studies MA Program accepts fall admission only. Applications received by January 15 will be given full consideration.


In addition to satisfying Graduate School requirements for admission, applicants must apply online via the UWM Panthera Graduate Admission Application. Additionally, the following materials must be submitted to be considered for admission:

  • Official or unofficial transcripts for all work done at higher education/post-secondary institutions
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic or professional work
  • A sample of the applicant’s written work that demonstrates the applicant’s critical thinking, research, and writing skills
  • A letter of intent explaining the applicant’s reasons for graduate study (the Graduate School Reasons Statement may be used)

GRE scores are not required for application to the WGS MA Program. However, UWM may require GRE scores for fellowships or awards. 

Applicants may be admitted with course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses. Students are expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the program. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted toward the degree.

Financial Aid

Women’s and Gender Studies offers a graduate teaching assistantship. Women’s and Gender Studies also has two need-based scholarships for which graduate students are eligible. Scholarship decisions are made each spring. Contact the program for applications.

The UWM Graduate School offers the AOP (Advanced Opportunity Program) and Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowships.


Graduate advising is the responsibility of the Women’s and Gender Studies Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who provides initial advising for students until they choose an advisor.

Credits and Courses

To earn an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies, students must complete 30 credits. Fifteen credits are in required Women’s and Gender Studies courses (15 with thesis option):

WGS 700Feminist Issues and Scholarship3
WGS 701Feminisms in Global Context3
WGS 710Advanced Feminist Theory3
WGS 711Feminist Epistemologies and Research Practices3
WGS 740Advanced Queer Theory3
Select one G or U/G WGS course 13
Select 12 credits in graduate-level courses in consultation with the WGS Director of Graduate Studies.12
Total Credits30

Excluding WGS 497,WGS 700, WGS 990, and WGS 999

No more than six credits may be in undergraduate/graduate (U/G) courses, and no more than six transfer credits may apply. Students may not count more than three credits of WGS 999 toward the degree.

Additional Requirements

Thesis, Paper or Project, or Examination

Students complete the degree with a written thesis, paper or project, or comprehensive examination. All options include an oral defense.

The thesis is an academic research paper that demonstrates the student’s ability to carry out an independent investigation, to analyze data (qualitative and/or quantitative), and to present the results in a clear, systematic form. The thesis includes a review of relevant scholarship and makes a contribution to the field.

The master’s paper is a more limited, shorter scholarly product that often takes the form of a scholarly essay of publishable quality. The master’s paper demonstrates the student’s ability to formulate an argument, analyze data, present results in a clear, systematic form, and show familiarity with relevant scholarship.

The master’s project may be a creative or artistic project that is research-based or a research-based practical project.

The examination is a comprehensive written examination that addresses central texts and issues in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Time Limit

Students must complete the MA within five years of enrollment, in compliance with Graduate School time-to-degree requirements.