What is Women's Studies and why should you study it at PG level?

With International Women’s Day literally around the corner – on Sunday 8th March – we thought it would be the ideal time to take a look at studying Women’s Studies as a masters program.

You might have heard of Women's Studies and wondered what it was all about? Or you might have wondered why you would decide to study it at the postgraduate level. Here is everything you need to know about what Women's Studies is and why you should consider studying it.

What is Women's Studies?

Put simply, Women’s Studies, which often includes Gender Studies, Feminist Studies and Sexuality Studies, looks into the lives of women and how gender influences the lives of men and women. Most research is interdisciplinary in its approach, meaning that students can use different methods to study the same subject, such as using techniques from law, the humanities, social sciences or the arts.

Why should you study PG Women's Studies?

Gaining an in-depth knowledge of how women operate and navigate around the world and the institutions they encounter can assist with many careers. There is also the knowledge and critical analysis skills that those students involved with politics or activism in the area of Women's Studies. Finally, there are transferable skills that you will gain simply by studying at postgraduate level.

What skills can you learn?

Most Women’s Studies courses will guide students to the transferable skills that they will learn such as improving report writing skills and presentation skills along with intellectual independence, research and analytical skills. The opportunity to network with those already involved in gender equality organisations or supporting women through other institutions or organisations will present itself on many postgraduate Women's Studies courses.

What topics are covered?

Different Women’s Studies programs will cover different topics – so do your research to make sure the one you choose covers the topics that you are most interested in. The University of York's MA in Women's Studies has modules on topics such as Feminism and Sexuality, Women, Citizenship and Conflict, and Gender and Violence. Georgetown University has a few Women's Studies programs and these include topics like Culture, Medicine and Gender, Women in American Politics, and Gender and Sustainability. Meanwhile the MSc in Gender at the London School of Economics focuses on topics such as Feminist Economics and Policy, Women, Peace and Security, and Anthropology of Kinship, Sex and Gender

What career paths will it help with?

Many Women's Studies students go on to academia after completing a PhD and a masters course is a pathway to this. Others will find Women's Studies assists careers in the media, especially as journalists, many students go on to work for charities supporting women or international NGOs and some go into teaching.

What sort of qualifications do you need?

Most masters programs require students to have gained an undergraduate degree with a 2.2 or a 2.1 with honours in the UK or the overseas equivalent, and most Women’s Studies masters programs will not accept students with work experience as an alternative.

Where can you study Women's Studies?

Here are the top five universities worldwide to study a Women's Studies taught masters.


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