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Women's Studies: Pioneering in Scholarship, Activism, and Internationalization since 1970

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Master's Program

Program Description

The MA in Women's Studies is a liberal arts degree providing students with an opportunity to pursue advanced interdisciplinary work in Women's Studies, enabling them to become active practitioners in this unique field of study. The program prepares students to become both scholars and activists. According to our most recent survey of MA alumnae, our former graduate students are engaged in a wide variety of careers that span academia and community activism. These careers include, for example, violence prevention programming, social justice activism, youth art programming, philanthropy, feminist book publishing, law enforcement, diversity programming, Title IX programming, and many others. Alumnae are in doctoral programs and/or in faculty positions in the disciplines of Africana studies, American studies, anthropology, communications, Comparative Literature, English, ethnic studies, feminist studies, gender studies, geography, history, leadership studies, philosophy/religion, political science, psychology, social science, sociology, and women’s studies.

Requirements for the Degree

In addition to meeting the requirements for classified graduate standing and the basic requirements for the master’s degree, the student, in consultation with the graduate adviser, must complete a graduate program of 30 units to include Women’s Studies 601, 602; nine units selected from Women’s Studies 603, 604, 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, 610, 611, 612, 701; Women’s Studies 797 and 799A (for Plan A Thesis); and a theme of study composed of nine units of graduate electives, selected with the approval of the graduate adviser.

Students will either be expected to pursue a thesis or project (Plan A), or a comprehensive exam (plan B). When Plan B is chosen, or a comprehensive exam.When Plan B is chosen, three additional graduate units in women’s studies shall be selected in lieu of 799A. Other substitutes may be approved where the skills involved are directly related to the student’s research interests. Course selection and programs must be approved by the graduate adviser. Students may choose an international specialization consisting of nine units of graduate courses selected from Women’s Studies 512, 530, 560, 580, 581, 605, 607, 609, 611. Other graduate level courses may be included in the international specialization with the approval of the graduate adviser.

Candidates for the degree must demonstrate knowledge of either a relevant foreign language or an approved substitute in computer language, statistical methods, or American Sign Language.

For additional requirements, see the Graduate Bulletin.

The Writing Center offers help with all student writing needs:
Free help with wiring, Writing Center

Graduate Course Offerings

  • 512: Latinas in the Americas
  • 515: Women: Myth, Ritual and the Sacred
  • 520: Reproductive Rights and Justice
  • 522: Women: Madness and Sanity
  • 530: Women's Movements and Activism
  • 535: Lesbian Lives and Cultures
  • 536: Gender, Race, and Class
  • 540: Women and the Environment
  • 545: Women and Sports
  • 553: Women and the Creative Arts
  • 560: Women in Muslim Societies
  • 565: Women: Health, Healing and Medicine
  • 570: Gender, War and Peace
  • 572: Women and Violence
  • 580: Women, Development and the Global Economy
  • 581: Women's Experiences of Migration
  • 582: Feminist Science Studies
  • 590: Feminist Thought
  • 595: Seminar in Women's Studies
  • 601: Foundations of Feminist Scholarship
  • 602: Methods of Inquiry in Women's Studies
  • 603: Advanced Feminist Theory
  • 604: Gender, Culture and Representation
  • 605: Women, Relationships, and Social Policy
  • 606: Narrating Women's Lives
  • 607: Privilege and Oppression
  • 608: Body Politics
  • 609: Transnational Economics and Gender
  • 610: Seminar in Sexuality
  • 611: Gender and Diaspora
  • 612: Feminist Pedagogies
  • 701: Seminar in Women's Studies
  • 797: Research
  • 799: Thesis or Project

For current course offerings, see the Class Schedule.


Please see our Internships page for more information.


Our department has a wide range of courses at the graduate level. In addition to our distinguished core faculty, we have a large number of faculty associates who are available to serve as thesis advisors and/or who will be teaching graduate Women's Studies courses in our department or related courses in their home departments.

Fellowships and Employment

The majority of our first-year graduate students will receive a Graduate Assistantship. A limited number of second-year graduate students can teach courses as Graduate Teaching Associates. For further information, please visit our Application Procedures page.

Additional assistantships may be available through the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. Employment possibilities also exist for students with the appropriate background in local businesses and social service agencies.

The Region

SDSU is located in a city that combines the advantages of a large, ethnically-diverse cosmopolitan center with those of a comfortable, neighborhood-oriented community. Its location on the U.S. border with Mexico and the Pacific Rim makes it an ideal location for multicultural research and scholarship. San Diego has a strong women's community, boasting a diverse array of cultural activities and several feminist institutions, including the Center for Community Solutions and the Women's Museum of California, among others.   Other university campuses in the region include the San Diego, Irvine, Riverside, and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California, the University of San Diego, and the Claremont Colleges. Many people find San Diego an ideal place for pursuing advanced work in Women's Studies.

Public Programs and Special Events

The department hosts a monthly Feminist Research Colloquium which provides a platform for discussion of ongoing research in Women's Studies scholarship. Offered each semester, the Colloquium brings together scholars from SDSU and visiting faculty from across the US and abroad. Guest lectures and conferences focusing on Women's Studies are also offered periodically at the University of San Diego (USD) and at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). 

Library Collections and Research Resources

Love Library at SDSU holds an extensive collection of books and journals relevant to Women's Studies. The library receives a basic group of periodicals in Women's Studies and subscribes to an extensive collection of periodical indexes and abstracting services which provide broad access to the body of periodical literature relating to Women's Studies. A comprehensive interdisciplinary guide to Women's Studies resources at SDSU including information on periodical holdings at UCSD is also available. A cooperative acquisition agreement between SDSU and UCSD offers students at SDSU a wide range of resources. Holdings in the Special Collections at Love Library include records on the League of Women Voters (1939-1988), the San Diego City Advisory Board on Women (1972-1982) and the papers of Tish Sommers. The University Archives house the records of the SDSU Women's Studies Department (1966-1990).

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact our Graduate Advisor, Professor Esther Rothblum (email address:, phone: (619) 594-6662.

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