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Gender & Women's Studies (PHD) 
Program Description

Gender & Women’s Studies will be accepting applications for the Fall 2020 cohort beginning November 2019.

The Ph.D. program in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona trains scholars and researchers in this dynamic, interdisciplinary field. Graduates will produce original knowledge in the field from a foundation in diverse theories of gender, critical race theory, feminism and other social movements, history, literature, critical and cultural studies, and the relation of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and transnational economic and political processes.

Through coursework and preparation for individually designed comprehensive exams, students gain understanding and skills in diverse approaches to feminist scholarship that enable them to design and complete their own innovative dissertation project. The department has particular expertise in Chicana/Latina studies, LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies, transnationalism, and representation and culture and maintains methodologically diverse approaches to scholarship. Through its affiliation with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women the department also contributes to applied community-based research on women's and adolescent health, substance abuse treatment, women and incarceration, and projects related to border issues.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Gender and Women's Studies -

The Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) Department at the University of Arizona stands at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary feminist research and curriculum. The Department was founded in 1975 and gained full departmental status in 1997. It offers BA, MA/JD, and PhD degree programs, and its renowned faculty - composed of 13 core faculty and over 60 affiliates - work in a wide range of areas including:

  • Transgender Studies; LGBTQ Studies
  • Queer Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Chican@/Latin@ Studies; Migration and Borderlands Studies 
  • Transnational Feminist Cultural Studies
  • Critical Health and Body Studies
  • Feminist Science and Technology Studies
  • Film, Literature & Media Studies; Digital Activism; Feminist Publishing
  • Feminist Theories

Our internationally prestigious Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) was established in 1979. SIROW develops collaborative research-action projects of importance to women in the southwestern U.S. and the Mexico-U.S. border regions; links researchers, community organizations, and policy makers to encourage informed policies and accessible, responsive services for diverse women's health and well-being; encourages women's contributions in knowledge and cultural production; and supports science and engineering education of, by, and for women and girls through the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program. The department also has a member-based community organization, the Women's Studies Advisory Council (WOSAC), that promotes and supports the students and faculty of GWS and its activities. The Women's Plaza of Honor is sponsored by the Women's Studies Advisory Council and is a means to fund an endowment to support GWS students in their academic achievement.

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Darcy L Roman-Felix
Graduate Program Coordinator
Darcy L Roman-Felix
Director of Graduate Studies
Eithne P Luibheid
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Guadalupe Estrella
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements
  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Persosnal Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts from all College-Level Schools you have attended
  • Official GRE Scores (Recommended). The GWS department does not require applicants to submit GRE scores in order to be considered for admission. However, we recommend that you complete the GRE (even though it will not be a factor in our consideration of your application) since it required for certain fellowships and grants for which you may be eligible.

  • Internatioanl Applicants must submit a minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 600 paper based (PB), 100 internet based (iBT), or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 7 (no subject area below 6).
Standardized Tests

Recommended test(s): GRE

Minimum TOEFL: 600
Minimum IELTS: 7

Financial Aid

Gender and Women's Studies offers highly competitive funding packages, which include healthcare and tuition waivers.  We will fund students in good academic standing for at least four years.   There are many forms of funding available to graduate students in our program. The department is able to provide some fellowship funding, especially to incoming students, with monies from the Graduate College and the Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy Endowment (which funds both the Women’s Plaza of Honor Fellowship and the Kennedy Endowed Fellowship). In addition, during their first four years, students are eligible for Teaching and Research Assistantships. Students can earn additional money by teaching online courses in summer and winter sessions. Students at the dissertation stage should apply for grants and fellowships offered by departmental, university and national sources relevant to their research topic (information on these opportunities can be researched through SBSRI). Students at all stages of the program are encouraged to apply for small one-time grants for research and for travel to conferences from SBSRI, WOSAC, the GPSC and other sources.

The University of Arizona Department of Gender & Women's Studies is a member of the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP).

About WRGP
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) allows master’s, graduate certificate, and Ph.D. students who are residents of the 15 participating WICHE states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to enroll in some 320 high-quality programs more than 55 participating institutions outside of their home state and pay resident tuition. The WICHE states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

For a full list of WRGP programs, download this PDF handout.

WRGP is a tuition-reciprocity arrangement similar to the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). Students can enroll directly in the program through WRGP; they are not dependent upon the approval of their home state to participate because the student’s home state does not provide funding for each individual student. WRGP represents a tremendous opportunity for Western states to share distinctive programs (and the faculty who teach them) and build their workforce in a variety of disciplines, particularly healthcare.

In fall 2012, more than 1,000 students enrolled through WRGP and saved an estimated $15.2 million dollars in tuition, and each student saved an estimated average of $15,000.

To be considered for the WRGP resident tuition rate, apply directly to the department or graduate studies department of the institution where you want to enroll, and identify yourself as WICHE WRGP applicant. WGRP students must fulfill all the usual requirements of the department and institution concerned, and meet all admission deadlines. Contact information for each participating program is listed in our WRGP online directory.



Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: December 15

International Applicants:

  • Fall: December 15
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

For a full explanation of the requirements see our Graduate Handbook

Course work for the PhD includes:

9 UNITS of required courses.
•    GWS 539A Feminist Theories I  (Semester I)
•    GWS 539B Feminist Theories II  (Semester II)
•    GWS 639 History/Social Movements 

27 ADDITIONAL UNITS in Major field.

These may be classes in and outside of the department. They should be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Students may fulfill up to 10 units by enrolling in the Certificate in College Teaching. For more information see:

9 UNITS (minimum) in Minor field



Other requirements include:

Transfer Coursework
Graduate credit earned at approved institutions, if accepted by the Gender and Women’s Studies Department and the Graduate College, may be counted toward the requirements. Click here to view complete details.

For students with an MA in gender and women’s studies or a related field, a total of fifteen units may be fulfilled through approved transferred credit.

For students without an MA in gender and women’s studies or a related field, a total of twelve units may be fulfilled through approved transferred credit.  

Critical Race/Ethnic Studies Course Requirement
Our faculty are committed to critical race and ethnic studies for feminist training and research.  Doctoral students must complete one 3-unit course in critical race or ethnic studies, either in the major or minor.  GWS 539A, 539B, and 639 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.  Consult with your adviser or the DGS to select a course that meets this requirement.

Qualifying Process (QP)
All students entering the Ph.D. program are required to complete a Qualifying Process. 

Comprehensive Examination for Doctoral Candidacy
This Examination is intended to test the student’s comprehensive knowledge of the major and minor subjects of study, both in breadth across the general field of study, and in depth within the area of specialization.  There are two portions to the Comprehensive Examination:  the written exam and the oral exam.  They must be taken sequentially.  Students should normally take the Comprehensive Exams upon or near completion of their coursework.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense
The proposal must describe original, substantive research in Gender and Women’s Studies.  It should explain how the dissertation will contribute new knowledge to the field(s) and it should display fluency with existing scholarship related to the topic.  All members of the Dissertation Committee must approve the Dissertation Proposal at a Proposal Defense.

The dissertation is a substantial piece of original research in Gender and Women’s Studies.  Great care should be taken with your dissertation.  For those students who go on to become professors, the dissertation will be a key component in job interviews.  Hiring committees will want to see that the dissertation topic, research, and writing indicate that the dissertation can be revised into a publishable book in a timely fashion.

Language Competencies
The Gender & Women’s Studies Ph.D. does not require the demonstration of second-language competency, but pursuing fluency in languages other than English is strongly encouraged as part of our commitment to U.S. ethnic studies, and international and transnational scholarship, teaching, and activism.

Students undertaking dissertation research in a language other than English and in which they are not native speakers will be expected to demonstrate proficiency to their Dissertation Committee.  Proficiency is achieved when the student acquires the expertise to read widely in secondary literature and undertake original research in another language.  Students who expect that they will undertake dissertation research in a non-native language should discuss this with their Major Advisor early in their doctoral program and work with their Advisor to develop a plan to achieve language proficiency.  These students will be expected to demonstrate language proficiency as part of their Dissertation Prospectus defense.

Minor Requirements

The student may fulfill the Minor requirement in two ways. a)Undertake a Minor in a department (e.g. History or Anthropology). Some departments require as many as 15 units for their minors. Consult with departmental graduate advisors for clarification of extra-departmental minors. b)Creating an individualized minor composed of a coherent set of courses in an area or field (e.g. social theory or Chicana/Latina studies) in consultation with the faculty advisor and Director of Graduate Studies. It is the student's responsibility to keep track of their minor requirements. If a student chooses two supporting minor subjects, each minor must have at least six units of coursework. Although the minor subject or subjects will usually be taken outside the major department, minors within the major department may be permitted with the approval of the department.

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 22%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 6.50
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 40%
Enrollment Percent Female 60%
Enrollment Percent International 5%
Enrollment Percent URM 30%

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Last revised 16 Oct 2019