University of Minnesota
Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

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Ph.D. in Feminist Studies and Graduate Minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies

Admissions Critiera

We admit 2-3 new students into the Feminist Studies Ph.D. program annually. Students submitting an application must have:Students

  • a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or a comparable foreign institution
  • at least the equivalent of an under graduate minor degree in Women’s, Feminist, or Gender Studies

All applicants must forward GRE results (dept. code 5199), and non-native speakers of English are required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language, MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery), or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). When evaluating submitted application materials, our concern is a successful match between students’ academic goals and the particular strengths of our faculty. Thus, we recommend that students survey our course offerings, carefully review our faculty’s areas of expertise, and consider visiting our program at the University of Minnesota.

Although the Ph.D. program in Feminist Studies includes an M.A. component, we only admit students who are pursuing a Ph.D. Accepted students already possessing an M.A. degree or who have completed graduate work at other institutions will be able to transfer coursework contingent upon the extent to which Feminist Studies Ph.D. course requirements are satisfied.


The deadline for applications if December 4, 2015 by 12pm CST. Detailed application instructions may be found under the Applying section of our page.

We encourage letters of reference that reflect upon the student’s previous work and promise of productive scholarship in the field of Feminist and/or Critical Sexuality Studies. Considerable emphasis is placed on the applicant’s writing sample (max. 20 pages). The writing sample can be either a full piece or an excerpt that demonstrates the student’s writing, analytical, organizational, and research skills on a given feminist topic. We also look closely at the applicant’s personal statements.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. program consists of 34-40 credits of course work and 24 doctoral thesis credits. All doctoral students must maintain a GPA of 3.5 and take at least two-thirds of the total course work on an A-F grade scale. Up to two courses (6 credits) can have the same course number (e.g. a topics course number such as 8910), but taught on different topics may be used toward fulfilling coursework. Similarly, a course may be used to fulfill two separate course work requirements in Methods and/or External Supporting Program (i.e. you can cross-designate the same course for Methods and External Supporting Program requirements), up to a 6 credit limit. As a result, the required 40 course credits can, through cross-designation, be satisfied by taking only 34 credits.

The Formal Minor/External Supporting Program is a requirement of all doctoral students in the University. Twelve credits must be completed in a field related to, but different from, the student's primary course of study. The minor/external program complements the interdisciplinary breadth of the core requirements and is designed to address your particular course of study.

For an interdisciplinary scholar, pursuing a formal minor in another department or interdisciplinary program is highly recommended for a competitive academic profile and a more in depth interdisciplinary course of study. Ph.D. students have taken on minors/external programs in many fields, including: anthropology; critical race theory; communication and media studies; American studies; history; literary theory; sexuality studies; global studies; environmental science; political science; immigration and human rights; and U.S. ethnic studies.


  • Required Core Courses (12 credits)
    • GWSS 8107 Feminist Pedagogies (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8108 Genealogies of Feminist Theory (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8109 Feminist Knowledge Production (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8997 Feminist Research and Writing ( 3 cr)
  • Colloquia Credits (4 credits)
    • Feminist Studies Colloquium (1 cr, 4 semesters)
  • GWSS Seminars (6 credits, choose from two)
    • GWSS 8210 Feminist Theory and Praxis (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8220 Science, Technology, and Environmental Justice (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8230 Cultural Criticism and Media Studies (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8240 Transnational, Postcolonial, Diaspora (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8250 Nation, State, Citizenship (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8260 Race, Representation, and Resistance (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8270 Theories of Body (3 cr)
    • GWSS 8280 Critical Sexuality Studies (3 cr)
  • Research Methods and Tools (6 credits)
  • Minor/External Supporting Program (12 credits taken in other departments or as part of a minor in another graduate program)
    • Up to two courses (6 cr) can have the same course number (e.g., a topics course number such as 8910), but taught on different topics may be used toward fulfilling coursework
  • Doctoral Thesis Credits (24 credits taken to support progress towards degree milestones)