Simmons University's Master of Arts in Gender and Cultural Studies (GCS) program examines intersecting systems of power and privilege and the ways in which race, ethnicity, nationality, class, ability, gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation are constructed within the United States and in international contexts. Simmons fosters a supportive, stimulating environment with small class sizes, diverse student cohorts, faculty mentors, and a flexible curriculum. The master’s degree consists of 32 credit hours. 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
Why study Gender and Cultural Studies?
At Simmons, the Gender and Cultural Studies program strives to prepare and inspire the next generation of scholars, educators, activists, entrepreneurs, and professional leaders. We place special emphasis on research-based, action-oriented inquiry. Our students locate themselves in key debates within the fields of feminist studies and critical race studies, take a stand on issues and problems, and publicly offer solutions.
At Simmons, you will learn how to:
Engage with research in feminism, critical race studies, queer theory, and cultural studies.
Situate current realities of gender, sexuality, race, ability, class, and culture within broader, intersectional, historical and geopolitical contexts
Translate those insights into public settings, and make broadly significant, culturally impactful interventions
What courses will you take?
Gender and Cultural Studies degree candidates take two required courses:
Introduction to Gender and Cultural Studies: Theory into Practice
Race, Gender, and Empire.
In addition to these courses, most students take five core elective courses and at least 4 credit hours of capstone work. View a sample list of Gender and Cultural Studies elective courses in the Program Requirements section below.
In addition to their coursework, all Gender and Cultural Studies students complete a final capstone project—consisting of at least 4 credit hours —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
"Self-Care": The Continued Production and Protection of White Femininity
Racial Politics, Data Collection, and the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry
Who's Got Rights: The Failures of Homonationalism in the Trump Era
"You Can't Be What You Can't See": Queering the Canon and Reconstructing Representation in the Secondary Classroom
Incriminating Women of Circumstance: The Gendered and Material Implications of the War on Drugs
White Noise: How the Media Amplified and Drowned Out Black Political Protest "Post Ferguson"
Constructing the Queer Muslim: The Necropolitics of Racialization and Western Exceptionalism in the Lives of LGBTQ Muslims
What a Perfect Monster: Gone Girl's Destabilization of Feminine Archetypes in Popular Media
Sites of Resistance: Black Femme Sexuality and Alternative Spaces in Sex Work
Subversive Masculinity: Cultivating Men's Engagement in Gender Equality
Making Time for Social Change: Toward an LGBTQ-Inclusive Care Model for Rape and Domestic Violence Crisis Centers
Theorizing Breastfeeding, Conceiving a Coalitional Project of Queer Politics
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, which leads to initial teaching licensure for elementary education.
What can you do with a Master's Degree in Gender and Cultural Studies?
96% of graduates surveyed in early 2019 reported that they were employed.
Drawing from coursework in the humanities and social sciences, the Gender and Cultural Studies program offers flexible paths of study to prepare graduates to pursue career interests across a variety of sectors. The majority of recent survey respondents work in higher education teaching, higher education administration, social services, and non-profit roles, while others work in secondary education, technology, consulting, and as business owners.
Following graduation, 32% of our alumni/ae enrolled in PhD programs. GCS provides rigorous intellectual preparation and training for students who wish 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 and Gender Studies.
Learn more about our Master's in Gender and Cultural Studies!
Are you looking for more than just a gender studies degree? The Gender and Cultural Studies program at Simmons University takes a culture-centric approach to women and gender studies. We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you on your way. Learn more about our program in our Gender and Cultural Studies program booklet, request more information or apply now!
Candidates for the Gender and 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. Learn more in the Gender and Cultural Studies Program Booklet.
GCS required courses (8 credits)
Students must take both of the following courses:
GCS 403 Introduction to Gender and Cultural Studies: Theory Into Practice
This course studies contemporary theories of gender, race, indigeneity, class, ability, and sexuality, with a focus on theorists whose works have practical applicability. Scholarly readings drawn from critical race, postcolonial and decolonial, queer and trans, and feminist studies are juxtaposed with a range of concerns, including the killing of Black, Brown and Indigenous bodies, fat activism, reproductive politics, struggles to ensure legal protections for queer and trans people, among other topics. The course will stress understandings of the practical applications of theoretical innovations.
GCS 420 Race, Gender, and Empire
The history of race and racism begins with the history of imperialism and colonialism. Often, scholars of race and racism ignore this history and study race within a specific nation state without making global connections. In this class, we will explore the history of racism that is deeply gendered and a project of empire building. We will examine how race was historically constructed as a result of empire building and how it continues today.
GCS electives (20 credits)
AST 529 Race, Culture, Identity and Achievement
AST 536 Black Narratives of Oppression, Resistance, and Resiliency
AST/SOC/WST 565 Intimate Family Violence: A Multicultural Perspective
AST 588 Black Popular Culture and the Education of Black Youth
ENGL 508 The Global Novel
ENGL 517 Toni Morrison and American Literature
ENGL 527 Race and Gender in Psychoanalytic Discourse
ENGL 354 Studies in Film Genre: Melodrama
ENGL 598 Feminist Media Studies
GCS 406 Feminism and Literature
GCS 410 Issues in International Studies
GCS 415 Feminism and Economic Difference
HIST 560 Seminar in the History of Women and Gender
HIST 561 Cross Cultural Encounters: Contacts, Connection and Conflict
HIST 565 9/11 Narratives
HIST 567 Memory and the Holocaust
LIS 532Q Museum Studies
MPP 501 Policy Analysis and Theory
MPP 502 Social Policy
POLS 435 Transgender Politics & Freedom
POLS/WGST 556 Feminist International Relations
POLS 590 Black Political Thought
SOCI 521 Sociology of Food
SOCI 530 Transnational Studies
SOCI 539 Applied Community Research
SOCI 547 Antiracism and Justice Work
SW 409 Dynamics of Racism & Oppression
SW 523 Advocacy & Social Action
WGST 554 Feminist Theories
WGST 580 Gender and Queer Theory
Capstone (4 credits)
All students must complete at least 4 credit hours of capstone work and will present their work at the GCS colloquium. The capstone options are listed below:
GCS 455 Thesis
GCS 460 Project
GCS 470 Internship
GCS 480 Gender and Cultural Fieldwork
Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.