two female students walking on campus

Graduate Program


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. This 2-year program offers our MA students many opportunities including collaborative research and community involvement. 

Why choose our program?

  • World-renowned faculty.
  • Preparation for students to become both scholars and activists.
  • Funding for most first-year students.
  • Opportunities to teach in your second year.
  • Choice of thesis, exam, or project.
  • Opportunity to enroll part-time.

In consultation with the graduate advisor, students must complete a graduate program of 30 units to include

  • Required Courses: Women’s Studies 601, 602, 609

  • Women's Studies Coursework: Six units selected from Women’s Studies 603, 604, 605, 606, 607, 608, 610, 611, 612, 696

  • Electives: Nine units selected from 500-level, 600-level, and 700-level WMNST courses 

  • Women’s Studies 797 and 799A (for Plan A Thesis) or 797 and 798 (for Plan B Exam).

Students may also choose an international specialization consisting of nine units of graduate courses selected from Women’s Studies 512, 530, 560, 570, 580, 581, 605, 607, 609, 611 and taken as part of their coursework and electives. Other graduate-level courses may be included in the international specialization with the approval of the graduate advisor.

Language Requirement

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.

Thesis, Project or Exam
  • Thesis: A master's thesis is a piece of original scholarship written under the direction of a faculty advisor. A master's thesis is similar to a doctoral dissertation, but it is generally shorter and more narrowly focused. 

  • Exam: The examination consists of three 20-page take-home essays written over a six-week period, each in response to questions from one member of a faculty committee.

  • Project: This can take the form of a videotaped production, a children’s book, a creative body of work, curriculum development intended for a specific level of students, or a plan for the implementation of an activist program.

View recent MA theses, exams, and projects.  

For additional requirements, see the Graduate Bulletin.

The majority of our first-year graduate students will receive a Graduate Assistantship (GA). This typically involves working for a professor or on an ongoing project for ten hours a week. The Department aims to provide financial support to students in their first year of graduate study, and encourages students to seek employment as they get closer to completing their MA. Individual professors may occasionally secure limited grant monies for student assistants to work on a specific project, and there are often positions as graders in larger classes as well.

Toward the end of the first year of study, students may apply to teach their own section of WMNST 101 or 102 courses as second year Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs). Some teaching experience as a graduate assistant (GA), tutor, or elsewhere is desirable for applicants for this position

Some competitive fellowships and scholarships are available to students. Money for graduate student research and travel is also available. Twice a year, the Department invites students to apply for funds either to defray the costs of presenting a conference paper or to support thesis research.

For more information, please visit our Scholarships and Financial Support page.

Part-time enrollment is available to students whose work and/or domestic obligations make full-time pursuit of the MA degree undesirable Part-time students are expected to acquire the MA within four years, proceeding at approximately half the pace of full-time students, who generally finish their studies in 2 years. Students should plan to take no fewer than six courses in the first two years of pursuing the degree, and preferably four courses in the first year. Progress toward the degree will be evaluated each year by the graduate advisor.

Complete information about the part-time option can be found in our Part-time MA Option Program Guidelines.

Our faculty teach a wide range of courses at the graduate level. In addition to our distinguished 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. Please see our courses page for more information.

Publications are a large part of academia and can help students with professional advancement and personal satisfaction. It can boost job prospects, especially in fields outside of academia. The publishing field is often difficult for students to navigate. The department offers students publishing opportunities through book reviews and other types of publications.

The department hosts a monthly Feminist Research Colloquium that 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. The Department is also home to the Bread and Roses Center for Feminist Research and Activism, which offers opportunities for community engagement. 
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 relating to Women's Studies, including one of the largest holdings of zines in the country.


Amira Jarmakani
Graduate Advisor
Office: AL 311
Email: [email protected]