PhD Program

Graduate Symposium

NOTICE: Admissions to the Feminist Studies Ph.D. program is suspended for the 2021-2022 year.

Located in the Humanities, Feminist Studies Ph.D. program offers students the opportunities to engage in contemporary debates that interrogate the nature of gender. The department encourages students to reconceive of power, justice, and social relations in innovative ways. The program places great emphasis on interdisciplinary exploration and feminist modes of inquiry that can restructure both theoretical and practical models. Approaching feminist engagement as relevant to the broadening and reassessment of a full range of areas of academic inquiry, the program’s focus is on challenging existing disciplinary boundaries and fostering a reconsideration of the relationships between knowledge, power, and expertise. We work with problem-based research methodologies that acknowledge and go beyond conventional notions of international and comparative studies.  An ongoing concern with epistemology is balanced with an emphasis on problem-based research areas that nourish both intellectual and social transformation. 

Conceived as a collaborative, cross-divisional enterprise, the Department's inaugural cohort started in Fall 2013 and currently enrolls ~20 students. The Feminist Studies Ph.D. draws on the strengths of a range of feminist scholars, departments, and programs across the University. The department maintains close relationships with the departments of Anthropology, Art, History, History of Art and Visual Culture, History of Consciousness, Latin American and Latino Studies, Literature, Politics, Psychology, and Sociology. We are also closely affiliated with the Critical Race & Ethnic Studies program (CRES) and the Science and Justice Research Center (SJRC), which provides a critical forum for emerging scholarship that bridges disciplines from biology and engineering to medicine and law. 

The course of study has two objectives: first, to train scholars and teachers; and second, to serve the needs of professionals for careers in areas such as public policy and human rights research and advocacy.  This approach to graduate training is designed to attract students with various types of career goals who will benefit from exposure to and collaboration with each other in a vigorous intellectual environment.

The curriculum of the Ph.D. in Feminist Studies is designed to facilitate the production of new knowledge clustered around a larger issue or problem that is epistemological, methodological, and conceptual in nature. The program builds on a longstanding history of structurally-integrated interdisciplinarity and multi-departmental participation. 

Ph.D. students will complete most of their coursework during their first two years, including the three required courses on Feminist Theories, Feminist Methodologies, and Disciplining Knowledge.  Students focus on preparing their problem-based areas of research and their dissertation prospectus during their third year. Students normally take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination in their third or fourth year; at this time, they also must demonstrate proficiency in a second language. Six years is the normative time toward completion of the degree.

Social Justice | Sexuality Studies | Postcolonial Theory | Transnational Feminism | Science & Technology Studies | Critical Race Theory | Feminist Critical Race Studies | Film Studies | Cultural Studies | Transgender Studies | Critical Prison Studies | Post-Socialism 

See Also