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Master of Arts

Please read the most recent Center Graduate Handbook (PDF), the Graduate School Handbook (PDF), and the Graduate Catalog for important details and links to more information!

Thesis and Non-Thesis


A master’s degree with thesis requires at least 30 credits including up to 6 credits of Research for Master’s Thesis (6971). All thesis students must register for an appropriate number of credits in 6971 in their final term (3 for Fall/spring graduation; 2 for summer graduation).

Master’s thesis requirements

Each master’s thesis candidate must prepare and present a thesis, typically 50-100 pages, that shows independent investigation.  It must be acceptable, in form and content, to the supervisory committee and to the Graduate School. The work must be of publishable quality and must be in a form suitable for publication, guided by the Graduate School’s format requirements.


A non-thesis Master of Arts degree requires at least 30 credits. No more than 6 of those credits can be from S/U courses. Non-thesis students cannot use Research for Master’s Thesis (6971).

Master’s non-thesis requirements

Each master’s non-thesis candidate must determine with their advisor by early in their second year whether they will write a paper (1) or present a project (2) in their final semester. While the University requires only one member to serve on the non-thesis committee (the advisor), GSW encourages students to identify a second committee member by this time.  For the non-thesis MA, advisor and committee members may be selected from core or affiliated faculty in Women’s Studies.

  1. Students electing to write a paper should identify a suitable topic in the area of gender and women’s studies for a journal article-length work of high quality, possibly with a view toward future publication.  This paper is generally shorter than a thesis and does not need to be submitted to the Graduate College, but it must be judged as a substantive and well-presented work by the student’s committee.
  2. Students who elect to carry out a project must submit a proposal to their advisor for approval before undertaking the project.  Suitable projects might include, but are not limited to, the writing of a grant proposal, development of a community-based organization, or production of a creative work.  In addition to the project, students typically write an essay of approximately 15 pages detailing the project’s significance to gender and women’s studies.

Both options for the non-thesis MA require an oral defense/presentation, which will be open to faculty and students in GSW.  As in the cases of theses, papers and projects should be available or on view ten working days before the scheduled defense.

Students who are on GSW/University scholarships and assistantships must register for the appropriate number of credits/term as outlined in your award letter.

For more information:

Required Women’s Studies Courses

  • WST 5933 Proseminar in Women’s Studies (Offered in Fall)
  • WST 6508 Advanced Feminist Theory (Offered in Fall)
  • WST 6935 Special Interdisciplinary Topics in Women’s Studies

The remaining 21 credits can be for courses numbered 5000 and above. At least half of the required credits (not counting 6971) must be in the major.The program of course work for a master’s degree must be approved by the student’s adviser, supervisory committee, or faculty representative of the academic unit.