MPhil and PhD Degrees in Women's Studies


The postgraduate Centre for Women's Studies at York provides a flourishing interdisciplinary environment for research and is able to offer supervision in a wide range of Women's Studies issues to both full- and part-time students. Each year there are approximately 35 students studying for research degrees. Throughout their period of registration, students are given specialised research supervision in their main area of study. This is supported by an academic thesis panel, designed to offer additional help and guidance. You may commence your research degree in either the month of October, January or April.

Current PhD students and their topics

Shahnaz, a PhD student writes;

'I chose CWS York, based on the programme and its reputation in the UK. Everyone I asked, I kept being told that CWS was the best Women’s Study Centre in the UK.

Regarding my experience and observation at the CWS, I can say a lot about fantastic lectures, amazing provided material, vibrant sensational open classroom debates/discussions, unconventional marvellous emotional support, friendly module choice, brilliant program assistance along with great, comprehensive and extensive research techniques, methods and supervising exposure but the most amazing aspect of the department is that you feel yourself somewhere. You come to know, where you are and what you are. Your intellectual curiosity doesn’t remain feeling unsatisfied.

Before joining the thriving institute, I had very holistic and somehow confusing ideas about feminist thought and feminist approach but now so much fog is over and intellectual dilemmas are getting new horizon. I can say now that without studying and understanding feminism one cannot understand what humanism is.'

Intending applicants are encouraged to consult the list of staff interests to see whether the appropriate supervision is likely to be available for their proposed research. Alongside three core members of staff, the Centre draws on the expertise of many staff from contributing departments. If in doubt, please contact the Centre’s Administrator Harriet Badger,

Key specialities of CWS Core staff are:

Prof Victoria Robinson: Feminist theroy, gender and sexualities (especially heterosexualities), men and masculinities, fashion and footwear cultures; risk sports; debates in women’s, gender and masculinity studies in the academy; feminist sociology of everyday life.

Prof Stevi Jackson: Feminist theory, theories of gender and sexuality, women's and family relationships, sociology of childhood.

Dr Clare Bielby: Violence, representation and gender; violence, subjectivity and affect/emotion; terrorism and gender; the field of perpetrator studies. History of feminisms, particularly German feminisms; queer studies and feminist queer theory; subjectivity and narratives of the self; gender, sexuality and representation.

Dr Ann Kaloski-Naylor: feminist cultural production and activism; popular and digital cultures; contemporary women’s writing.

Degree Organisation

Research: The main focus of the MPhil and PhD degrees is on research and the writing of a thesis, and there are no compulsory taught classes attached to these degrees.

Taught modules: Nevertheless, all students will audit one or more modules to support their research and to develop their research skills. To ‘audit’ a module means to fully participate in the seminar reading, preparatory exercises, and class discussion, but to omit the assessment. The choice of modules is decided in consultation with a student’s supervisor. Most students new to CWS will take some core modules in year one (see the MA Programme for details).

Transferable Skills Programme: The University and CWS take the future careers of our students very seriously, and to this end a programme of ‘Transferable Skills’ is available to help professionalise the degree. Many sessions are optional, and can be chosen as appropriate, while some CWS sessions are compulsory and designed to help facilitate the supportive research culture among the MPhil/ PhD group. The women’s studies programme is responsive to students needs, and includes sessions on writing skills, producing an academic CV, Conference participation, teaching and writing for journals.

Research Seminars: CWS offers a regular programme of research seminars where academics from other institutions offer papers on their research. These seminars, and similar ones offered by sister departments, are invaluable for extending students’ knowledge, and frequent attendance is highly recommended.

Office accommodation for research students is in the form of shared offices, with desks, shelving, filing cabinets and access to telephone, computer terminals, photo-copying and mailing facilities. These offices are in the Centre for Women's Studies on the third floor of Grimston House (adjacent to the University Information Centre). Here, there is also a common-room available for student use, with easy chairs, kettle, microwave, fridge and toaster.

Last Updated: July 17, 2017 |

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