Gender/Cultural Studies

Simmons University’s Master of Arts in 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. 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 (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.

Students sitting in class

Why study Gender/Cultural Studies?

At Simmons, the Gender/Cultural Studies program strives to prepare and inspire the next generation of scholars, educators, activists, and professional leaders. Whether you hope to pursue a PhD or enter the professional world immediately after graduation, Simmons is where you will lay your intellectual foundation.

Utilizing an intersectional approach, Gender/Cultural Studies students engage with research in feminism, poststructuralism, queer theory, race theory, cultural studies, and postcolonialism. They also practice multi-perspective, multi-factored theoretical analyses.

What will you learn?

Gender/Cultural Studies degree candidates must take our Seminar in Gender/Cultural Studies, Cultural Theory, and one additional Gender/Cultural Studies course. In addition to these courses, most students take four core elective courses and all students complete at least 4 capstone credit hours. See the list of Gender/Cultural Studies courses in Program Requirements below.

Simmons’ Gender/Cultural Studies students also gain access to the dynamic team-taught course offerings and resources of the nine member institutions in The Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality (The GCWS).

In addition to regular coursework, Gender/Cultural Studies students must 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

  • 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, M.S. 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/Cultural Studies?

Graduates of Simmons’ Gender/Cultural Studies program 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.

Drawing from coursework in the humanities and social sciences, the Gender/Cultural Studies program offers flexible paths of study to suit careers in higher education, healthcare, social services, schools, and non-profits. 

Learn more about our Master’s in Gender/Cultural Studies! 

Are you looking for more than just a gender studies degree? The Gender/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/Cultural Studies program bookletrequest more information or apply now!

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. Learn more in the Gender/Cultural Studies Program Booklet.


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 four GCS elective courses.

  • 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

Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.

Apply Now

Gender/Cultural Studies Alumnae/i

Our alumnae/i further their studies in doctoral programs and law school, and also pursue rewarding careers in a variety of fields including education, non-profits, health care, and social work.

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Our Faculty

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Diane Grossman

  • Professor and Chair; Honors Program Director, Mockler Chair, Faculty Senate President
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Cathryn Mercier

  • Professor; Children's Literature Department Chair, Children's Literature Graduate Program Director, Children's Institute Center Director
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Amy Pattee

  • Associate Professor School of Library and Information Science and Children's Literature
Denise Horn

Denise M. Horn

  • Interim Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations and Department of Women's and Gender Studies