Prospective Students

The Feminist Studies Department admits a small cohort of Ph.D. students every year.  The department does not offer a Master's program, and only admits students who intend to pursue the Ph.D.

PLEASE NOTE: Feminist Studies Graduate Admissions are currently suspended. We are not admitting any students for the 2024-25 academic year.

Program Learning Outcomes

Admitted students who complete the Ph.D. program will graduate with command of the following:

  1. Feminist Theory and Epistemology
  2. Interdisciplinary Methods
  3. Research and Scholarly Writing
  4. Feminist Pedagogy
  5. Professional Competencies (ex. second language, grant writing, public speaking)

Program Overview

Feminist Studies Ph.D. students typically complete the majority of their coursework in the first two years of the program.  In their third year, students focus their research agenda in preparation for the Qualifying Exam.  After passing the Qualifying Exam, students dedicate the remainder of their time to writing the dissertation, with normative time to completion of six years.

Prospective students are encouraged to browse course offerings by the department as a preview into possible areas of study.


The primary advisor plays an important role in the graduate student's preparation.  Before applying, applicants should familiarize themselves with the work and interests of our faculty. Upon admission to the program, each student will be assigned a first-year faculty mentor whose field of expertise most closely matches the student's research interests.  The first-year mentor will work with the student to guide their program of study and provide an annual review of progress at the end of the academic year.  At the end of the first year, the faculty mentor will advise the student on selecting a primary advisor. 

Financial Support

The Feminist Studies Department offers students 5-year funding guarantees with support from fellowships and employment opportunities (Teaching Assistantships, Teaching Fellowships, and Graduate Student Researcher positions). In addition to providing a salary and in-state tuition remission (including health insurance), the employment opportunities also provide valuable experience and training for the job market. Fellowship stipends and salaries are typically in the range of $7,000-$8,000 per quarter. Since international students are also charged non-resident tuition, the university offers two-year fellowships or waivers to off-set the cost.

The department, Division of Humanities, and Graduate Division also provide quarterly, year-long, and multi-year fellowships on a competitive basis.  In addition to dissertation fellowships, the university offers the following at the time of admission:

Regents Fellowships

The department typically offers one or two quarters of Regents Fellowships to incoming students for their first year.  This allows students time to adjust to graduate-level study and life in Santa Cruz before assuming teaching responsibility.  These fellowships are available to US citizens, permanent residents, and international students.

Chancellor's Fellowship

The Chancellor's Fellowship provides a competitive stipend plus in-state and out-of-state tuition for one year to the most prestigious applicants.  Upon conclusion of the Chancellor's Fellowship, the department offers support through employment or fellowship.  This fellowship is available to US citizens, permanent residents, and international students.

Cota-Robles Fellowship

This merit-based fellowship is offered to students who have overcome significant social or educational obstacles in their pursuit of higher education, and who contribute to the university's mission of intellectual diversity.  The Cota-Robles provides 5 years of funding, 3 of which are fellowship-supported, and 2 of which are employment-supported.  In addition, the fellowship provides 3 years of summer fellowship.  This fellowship is available to US citizens and permanent residents.

Other Funding

We also offer competitive quarterly fellowships for Qualifying Exam preparation and dissertation writing. The department provides occasional summer research funding, pending resources, and an annual fund for conference travel. More broadly, The Humanities Institute offers several opportunities for competitive funding, including dissertation fellowships, research fellowships, and Teaching Fellowships. You can learn more about these opportunities here:

Our students' work embrace a range of disciplines and geographic/geopolitical areas, which expands the funding sources available to them.  External funding sources include the American Association for University Women (AAUW), Ford Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Mellon, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Social Sciences Research Council, UC ACCORD, UC Critical Race Studies Initiative, UC MEXUS, UC Pacific Rim Research Program, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Cost of Living Considerations

While the department will cover most tuition-related expenses and will provide stipends/salaries during the first 5 years, prospective students are encouraged to consider the cost of living in Santa Cruz.  A team of UCSC faculty and graduate students have created a tool which calculates the cost of attendance and living:

Undergraduate Preparation for Admissions

Candidates for admission must possess a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited institution or equivalent before enrolling. Previous experience in more than one academic discipline, including some background in feminist approaches, is desirable. Candidates should also have at least a 3.0 grade point average.     

International Applicants

The department seeks and encourages international students to apply for admission to our graduate program. UCSC Graduate Admissions requires that international students take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS. For information on applying for admission as an international student please visit the Graduate Division's international applicant webpage.

Application Information

Application Deadlines

Applications for each Fall open on October 1. The application deadline is in early December. For the exact date, please refer to the Graduate Admissions Application Website Application Deadlines page.

Apply here:

Application Fee Waiver

All applicants are eligible to apply for a fee waiver. Applicants who do not qualify for a fee waiver through the application portal (including International Students) may apply directly to the Department of Feminist Studies. The department has a limited number of waivers available and will evaluate requests on a case by case basis.

Requirements and Instructions:

  • At minimum, have completed, uploaded, and submitted the following items to your application: statement of purpose, personal history statement, statement of financial need (see below), and your resume.
    • The Statement of Financial Need should not exceed one page and should fully explain, in your own words, your need for financial assistance. Please also address personal resources and other fellowships or grant opportunities that you will pursue to help cover your graduate education expenses. 
  • Have not yet paid for your application to the University.

Requesting the fee waiver:

  • Domestic Students: In the application portal, follow the directions for requesting a fee waiver. If you are denied a fee waiver, please contact the FMST Graduate Coordinator <> to state why you are requesting a fee waiver and attach your statement of need. If you are granted a fee waiver by the department, we will provide additional directions for how to complete the fee waiver section in the application portal.
  • International Students: International students are not eligible to request a fee waiver in the application portal. Instead, please contact the FMST Graduate Coordinator <> and state why you are requesting a fee waiver and attach your statement of need. If you are granted a fee waiver, we will provide additional directions for how to complete the fee waiver section in the application portal.

NOTE: The Department is unlikely to grant a fee waiver to individuals for more than one application cycle.

See Also