A group of WGSS Master's graduates in Commencement regalia.

Master of Arts

Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Program of Study

(32 credits minimum)

The curriculum provides a strong foundation in feminist theories and perspectives on topics such as reproductive rights and motherhood, sexual harassment and assault, racism and sexism in public policy, and the politics of oppression in different nations. 

The program emphasizes the value of diversity and inclusion and investigates issues of racial injustice, trans-nationalism, and globalism alongside historic and current topics in women's studies and theories of gender and sexual identity.


Foundation Courses

  • Graduate Orientation in Women’s Studies
  • Feminist Theory
  • Research Seminar in Women’s Studies


Elective Courses

  • Three courses in a coherent area of study (must be approved by the graduate director)
  • One course related to intersections of race, class, sexuality, and/or nationality
  • One course in an unfamiliar area of study that broadens your interdisciplinary perspective

Final Master's Project

To fulfill this requirement, you complete interdisciplinary inquiry through off-campus activities, and then report your observations, analysis, and recommendations.

The Capital Region provides many opportunities for you to complete real projects with nonprofits, NGOs, social advocacy groups, state agencies, or political offices.

Sample areas of inquiry: women in media, citizen participation in politics, LBGTQ inclusion in the workplace, gender violence recovery, and public policy making. More details available on the Graduate Student Resources page. 

Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Interim Director of Graduate Studies Rajani Bhatia at [email protected].

MA with JD Option through Albany Law School
About the Program

If you're interested in putting your skills, talents and academic interests to work in the legal profession, you can apply for admission to the master's/JD program offered through UAlbany's collaborative agreement with Albany Law School.

You must apply to and be accepted by both programs. If accepted, you'll spend your first year full-time at Albany Law School and your second year full-time at the University at Albany. After that, you can complete coursework for both programs in whatever combination of campus-based classes you wish.

The total requirements for both degrees can be reduced by up to 21 credits by applying up to 12 credits from the master's program to the JD program, and up to 9 credits of the JD program to the master's program.

Earning the juris doctorate qualifies you to take the bar exam required to become a licensed attorney in New York State. As a lawyer, you can effect social change by advising government agencies, mission-driven organizations, and community organizers about the legislative issues you care about most.

Curriculum Map for MA/JD
MA/JD Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1

Law School Courses
Torts (4)
Contracts I (3)
Civil Procedure (4)
Intro to Lawyering I (3)
Property (2)
Law School Success Seminar (1)

TOTAL credits = 17

Law School Courses
Criminal Law (3)
Contracts II (2)
Constitutional Law I (4)
Intro to Lawyering II (3)
Property II (3)

TOTAL credits = 16

Year 2

WGSS Courses
Graduate Orientation in Women’s Studies (1-2)
Feminist Theory (4)*
A WSS course (intersections or interdisciplinary) (3 or 4)

TOTAL credits = 8-10

WGSS Courses
Research Seminar in WGSS (4)
A WSS course (intersections or interdisciplinary) (3-4)
Cohesive Cluster course (3-4)*

TOTAL credits = 10-12

Year 3

WGSS Courses
2 more Cohesive Cluster courses (6-8)*
Independent Study (1-4)

Law School Courses
Constitutional Law II (2)
Evidence (4)

TOTAL credits = 13-18

Law School Courses
(11-13 credits)

WGSS Courses
Final Project (3-4)**
Clinic placement to satisfy Final Project (4-6)

TOTAL credits = 15-19

Additional Year
or Semester
Law School Courses
(13-17 credits)

*Courses that may double-count for both WGSS and Law School

**A WSS 690 – Final Project accepts written work and community-based work as a thesis-based project, which could apply to Law School’s Upper Level Writing Requirement or Clinic Requirement

Career Paths

This master's program will prepare you to pursue advanced degrees and careers in law, social welfare, public administration, teaching, and public health. 

Common alumni employers include LBGTQ community centers, counseling centers, violence survivor support organizations, rape crisis centers, public health clinics, and women's shelters.

WGSS students tour the Louvre in Paris
WGSS students tour the Louvre in Paris during Professor Hobson’s faculty-led tour in London and Paris on “Women, Multicultural Europe, and the African Diaspora”

"I'm amazed how well the master's program in women's, gender and sexuality studies prepared me for my current role as the program coordinator for the Center of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania."

– Shantala Thompson, MA '11

Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Option

If you’re a current UAlbany undergraduate student with at least a 3.2 GPA, you can save time and money by beginning your graduate degree coursework as early as your junior year. Up to 12 academic credits, billed at the undergraduate rate, will count towards both degrees – so you can complete your combined program in only 5 years and spend less than you would if you completed each program separately.

Contact your undergraduate advisor to see if you’re eligible and learn about your combined graduate program options.

UAlbany graduate with confetti at Commencement.

Admissions Requirements


Departmental Assistantship Consideration

Fall: February 15
Spring: See Special Notes
Summer: Not Available

No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

Fall: June 15
Spring: November 1
Summer: Not Available

Required Application Materials
Special Notes

Applicants for the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Master's program can apply for the Joan E. Schulz Graduate Assistantship in Feminist Pedagogy.  There is only one round of review regarding the assistantship regardless of admit term and the deadline for all assistantship applications will be February 15th. For more information concerning the assistantship and the application please click here.

This program offers an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Master of Arts
  • Be able to produce original feminist scholarly work, including research, pedagogy, community or creative projects; or synthesize the breadth of an advanced body of knowledge in one particular area within Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
  • Apply feminist and related theories at an advanced level, addressing intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, nation and/or other axes of difference and inequality.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as an interdisciplinary field of study and research, developing skills in at least one field new to individual students.