The academic discipline of Women’s Studies, which first began to gain prominence during the 1970s during the Women’s Movement, has become a firm part of the academy. Students who choose to pursue a doctoral degree in this field have a wide variety of schools to choose from. The following programs offer a strong and rigorous curriculum, extensive faculty advising, and financial aid opportunities.
Ohio State University
The Women’s Studies doctoral program at the Ohio State University is rigorous, with a strong theoretical focus, and it works to prepare students for careers in a variety of fields and areas, including government and academia. Students choose to focus on one of four key theoretical areas, which are Global and Transnational Feminisms; Race, Sexualities, and Identities; Narrative, Culture, and Representation; and Power, Institutions, and Economies. Almost all students admitted to the doctoral program receive funding for the entire four years, with a fifth year possible with application.
As one of the oldest Women’s Studies doctoral programs in the country, the doctoral program at the University of Emory offers students extensive training in both feminist teaching and scholarship. Students entering the program have a wide variety of fields and areas to choose from, due to the program’s intensively interdisciplinary nature; fields represented include literature, cultural studies, political science, philosophy, and history. All students that are admitted to the program receive financial aid, typically in the form of fellowships, and those who remain in the program also receive a great deal of hands-on teaching experience in the department.
Indiana University at Bloomington
As a transdisciplinary department, the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington allows students to pursue a study of gender and culture through various different programs and departments. Doctoral students are required to take the three core courses that form the heart of the program, which are Concepts of Gender; Feminist Theories; and Researching Gender Issues. In addition to these core courses, students also choose an area of focus out of the following three areas: Medicine, Science, and Technologies of the Body; Sexualities, Desires, and Identities; and Cultural Representations and Media Practices. Most students accepted into the doctoral program receive a funding package that covers four years of study.
The doctoral program in Women’s Studies at Rutgers University requires students to examine issues related to gender from a number of perspectives and seeks to understand the ways in which gender is constructed in a global context and how such identities interact with and mesh with other identity categories such as race. A number of core courses are required, including Contemporary Feminist Theories, Feminist Genealogies, Feminist Knowledge Production, and several others. Students in the program can focus on one of three areas of concentration: Agency, Subjectivity, and Social Change; Technologies and Poetics of Gender and Sexuality; and Gendered Borders/Changing Boundaries. A number of financial aid opportunities are also available.
Regardless of the program chosen, gaining a doctoral degree in Women’s Studies is an exciting but also challenging experience. Those who pursue such a degree will find themselves well-prepared for a wide variety of careers, as well as an improved understanding and appreciation of the role of gender and representation in American culture.