Explore intersectionality and cutting-edge theory.

Our Gender/Cultural Studies program examines intersecting systems of power and privilege, and the ways in which race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation are constructed within the United States and in international contexts. We foster a supportive, stimulating environment with small class sizes, diverse student cohorts, faculty mentors and a flexible curriculum.

Utilizing an intersectional approach, students master theory and engage with research in feminism, poststructuralism, queer theory, race theory, cultural studies and postcolonialism, and practice multi-perspective, multi-factored theoretical analyses.

With access to an interdisciplinary curriculum, you'll choose from a wide range of courses based on your academic interests and professional goals. Our students draw insight and inspiration from Africana Studies, Children's Literature, Economics, Education, English, History, Philosophy, Public Policy, Sociology, and Women's and Gender Studies. Students also gain access to the dynamic team-taught course offerings and resources of the nine member institutions in the The Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality (The GCWS).

Drawing from coursework in the humanities and social sciences, the GCS program offers flexible paths of study to suit careers in higher education, healthcare, social services, schools, and non-profits. Our students are prepared to pursue doctoral studies across a range of disciplines, including Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, English, Gender Studies, Race Studies, Sexuality Studies, Sociology, and Women's Studies.

Program Requirements

Candidates for the Gender/Cultural Studies master's degree must complete 32 credits (8 courses). Most students complete the degree in four semesters of study over two years. Part-time students may take up to five years to complete the degree.


GCS required courses (8 credits)

Students must take both of the following courses:

  • GCS 403 Seminar in Gender/Cultural Studies
  • GCS 430 Cultural Theory
GCS core elective course (4 credits)

Most students will take four GCS elective courses:

  • GCS 406 Feminism and Literature
  • GCS 410 Issues in International Studies
  • GCS 412 Theoretical Approaches to Cultural Narratives
  • GCS 415 Feminism and Economic Difference
  • GCS 417 Race Theory
Capstone (4-8 credits)

All students must complete at least 4 capstone credit hours and present their work at the GCS colloquium. The capstone options are list below:

  • GCS 455 Thesis [two semesters; 4 credit hours each semester]
  • GCS 460 Project
  • GCS 470 Internship
  • GCS 480 Gender/Cultural Fieldwork
GCS electives (12-16 credits)

Most students will take three GCS elective courses. Students who select GCS 455, a two-semester capstone, take three electives.

  • AST 513 The Black Struggle for Schooling in America
  • AST 529 Race, Culture, Identity and Achievement
  • AST 536 Black Narratives of Oppression, Resistance, and Resiliency
  • AST/SOC/WST 540 Intimate Family Violence: A Multicultural Perspective
  • AST 588 Black Popular Culture and the Education of Black Youth
  • CHL 401 Criticism of Literature for Children
  • ENGL 506 Victorian Literature and Culture
  • ENGL 507 Jane Austen and Her Contemporaries
  • ENGL 508 The Postcolonial Novel
  • ENGL 517 Toni Morrison and American Literature
  • ENGL 520 American Women's Poetry
  • ENGL 527 Race and Gender in Psychoanalytic Discourse
  • ENGL 528 American Ghosts: the Cultural Politics of Haunting
  • ENGL 554 Studies in Film Genre: Melodrama
  • ENGL 598 Feminist Media Studies
  • HIST 527 Archives, History, and Collective Memory
  • HIST 529 Seminar: Film and Historical Representation
  • HIST 560 Seminar in the History of Women and Gender
  • HIST 561 Cross Cultural Encounters: Contacts, Connection and Conflict
  • HIST 564 Rape of Nanjing
  • HIST 565 9/11 Narratives
  • HIST 567 Memory and the Holocaust
  • HIST 571 Seminar in Early American History
  • HIST 573 Seminar in 19th-Century U.S. History
  • HIST 574 Modern U.S. History Seminar
  • HIST 575 Cold War Culture
  • HIST 577 Seminar in Modern European History
  • HIST 597 Historical Methods and Research
  • INRL 590 Seminar in International Relations
  • PHIL 532 Law and Philosophy
  • SOCI 500 Special Topics
  • SOCI 500 Gender and Islam
  • SOCI/AST 511 Critical Race Legal Theory
  • SOCI 521 Sociology of Food
  • SOCI 538 (TC) Cross-Cultural Alliance Building
  • SOCI 539 Qualitative Research Workshop
  • SOCI 544 Sociology of Poetry and Prose
  • SOCI 545 Health Systems and Policy
  • SOCI 547 Antiracism and Justice Work
  • WGST 554 Feminist Theories
  • WGST 580 Gender and Queer Theory
Customize Your Program

Each student completes a final capstone project that capstone project that furthers their individual academic and professional interests. Capstone projects may take the form of an internship, a research project, or a thesis.

Recent Capstone Projects

Selective Visibilities: Navigating Identity as an Asian-Indian American Woman through Body and Beauty

'Strong Women Strong Girls': Mutual Empowerment in the Age of Postfeminist Girl Culture

Color of Her Skin, Content of Her Character: The Media vs. Michelle Obama.

Theorizing a Contemporary Queer Femme/ininity: Reflections on The Real L Word

Hades Sings Torch Songs: A Queer Reading of Villain Characters in Disney Renaissance Films

Made Visible: Analyzing News Coverage of Transgender Students at Women's Colleges

Active Minds, Docile Bodies, and the Freedom to Read: How U.S. Prison Libraries Function as Instruments of State Power

Students may further tailor their studies by completing a dual degree with our Master in Public Policy, MS in Education, or Master of Arts in Teaching (leads to initial teaching licensure for Elementary Education).

    Jo Trigilio
    • Jo Trigilio
    • Senior Lecturer, Program Director of Gender/Cultural Studies
    • Phone: 617-521-2247
    • Office: C205F
    Carole Biewener
    • Carole Biewener
    • ProfessorEconomics and Women's and Gender Studies
    • Phone: 617-521-2583
    • Office: L315
    Pamela Bromberg
    Sheldon George
    • Sheldon George
    • Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in English
    • Phone: 617-521-2211
    • Office: C310G
    Diane Grossman
    • Diane Grossman
    • Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Director Honors Program
    • Phone: 617-521-2212
    • Office: C310A
    Valerie Leiter
    • Valerie Leiter
    • Department Chair and Professor of Sociology, Affiliate Faculty of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2217
    Sarah Leonard
    • Sarah Leonard
    • Associate Professor of History
    • Phone: 617-521-2254
    • Office: C319D
    Suzanne Leonard
    • Suzanne Leonard
    • Associate Professor of English
    • Phone: 617-521-2544
    • Office: C301D
    Cathryn Mercier
    • Cathryn Mercier
    • Professor, Director of the Children’s Literature Program, Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature
    • Phone: 617-521-2541
    • Office: C313
    Amy Pattee
    • Amy Pattee
    • Associate Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2853
    • Office: P310B
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