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MA Women Studies (Humanities)

Think about gender and feminism alongside cultural production

2018/19 entry

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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The MA in Women’s Studies (Humanities) is a tailored programme for those with a particular interest in humanities-informed approaches to interdisciplinary women’s and gender studies.

You'll address a diverse range of theoretical and methodological approaches to women's and gender studies, developing a critical awareness of the gendered aspects of cultural life, representation and textual enquiry.

You will have the opportunity to focus on a variety of cultural perspectives and practices – literary, visual, and artistic – from both contemporary and historical cultures and across a range of geographical and societal spaces. The emphasis on humanities-informed feminist methodologies and practical research skills will enable you to conduct a substantial piece of independent research.

Founded in 1984, the Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS) at York is home to a thriving international community where you’ll study alongside prominent academics in an array of related fields, from queer studies to gendered citizenship, activism, and masculinity. You’ll benefit from interdisciplinary teaching and research which is supported by the departments of English and Related Literature and Sociology.

Ranked 1st in the UK

for research quality in Sociology in the Times Higher Education's ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Interdisciplinary learning

Explore perspectives across disciplines, led by academics actively engaged in a variety of fields.

Extracurricular events

Forge deeper connections with alumni at the CWS and cultivate your learning at our Feminist Research and Careers Skills (FRACS) workshops.

Course content

This MA is taught for one year full-time or two years part-time.

The MA's modules help you to interrogate key issues and concerns within women's studies. Particular attention is paid to the category 'women' and the concept 'gender', interpreted through an intersectional lens. You will also develop the practical, advanced research skills to undertake your own humanities-informed research project within an area, adopting a reflexive practice and a critical awareness of the politics of research.

The course is designed to challenge preconceptions, broaden understanding and encourage reflection on the wider ethical implications of feminist research, including power relations and your own positionality as a researcher.

The programme's interdisciplinary and cross-cultural scope is inclusive to all students, regardless of background, culture or existing knowledge and competencies. We foster a diverse and engaging learning experience for all.

Modules

You'll take a total of 180 credits across the four core modules, two option modules and a dissertation module (60 credits). 

Core modules:

Option modules:

You will also take a compulsory IT session and Academic Integrity Module to ensure you have a basic knowledge of academic requirements and the digital literacy skills to optimise your learning and engagement with the course’s resources.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

The final stage of the MA is the completion of a 15,000 to 20,000-word dissertation worth 60 credits. 

This is an opportunity to further develop and apply your skills to a research question and specialism in a particular area of research using humanities-informed methodologies.

Past dissertation research projects have included:

  • "Black Features Look Better on White Skin": A Critical Exploration of Racialized Representations of "Black Female Body Features" in Mainstream Media'
  • "I don't like our room a bit": Exploring Space in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"'
  • Wilful Love (On creating a feminist ethic of love in a patriarchal culture of abuse.)

You will be supported by your allocated dissertation supervisor who will provide supervisions and read drafts of your work. You'll be invited to attend the ‘Sisterhood in Action’ conference to discuss your provisional dissertation topic and research with staff and PhD students.

Dissertation workshops run in the Summer Term and are tailored to students' needs.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Interrogate and explain complex issues and debates within Women’s Studies, including the problematics of the concept ‘gender’ and the differences amongst women with regard to categories such as race, ethnicity, class, age, dis/ability, sexuality.
  • Analyse gendered lives and wider socio-political and cultural issues through the application of interdisciplinary feminist approaches to knowledge, with a nuanced understanding of the intersections between feminist thought and wider social and cultural debates.
  • Recognise the complexity of power relations and how these inform one’s critical practice by demonstrating reflexive insight into the ethical and political issues inherent in scholarship.
  • Assess and utilise appropriate established and innovative humanities-informed methods/methodologies in the context of feminist theoretical debates.
  • Plan, design and undertake a substantial independent research project, through the application of humanities-informed theories and methodologies.
  • Independently locate, manage, synthesise and present complex ideas from multiple sources through the use of digital skills.
  • Communicate complex arguments cogently and with nuance in written form to a standard expected of professionals and scholars. 
One of the most valuable aspects of being an MA student is having the opportunity to develop your own particular areas of interest in a creative and empowering environment. I felt like part of a wonderful international family where my ideas were always encouraged and supported.
Gilly, Women's Studies (Humanities) student

Fees and funding

Additional costs

You may wish to buy any textbooks used in your modules, although this is not compulsory.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

Teaching is usually in the form of two-hour seminars which include group work and full class discussion. Seminars are led by a single tutor or run collaboratively by a team of academics.

You will be assigned a personal supervisor and you'll regularly meet with tutors, in seminars and during arranged meetings.

Facilities

As a student at the CWS you will have access to a common room shared by students, academics, visitors and other University staff. The common room houses a small library of general interest women's studies books, as well as course resources.

All of our module materials are available in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Teaching location

You will be based in the Centre for Women’s Studies on Campus West, where most of your teaching will take place.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You’ll be assessed in a number of different ways, depending on the modules you study.

Forms of assessment include:

  • presentations
  • reflexive journals
  • portfolio work
  • essays
  • dissertation.

We pride ourselves on delivering detailed written and verbal feedback to all of our students. Whenever you complete an assessment you are encouraged to discuss your work with the tutors to improve your learning.

You’ll also receive feedback on assignments that don’t count towards your final grade, helping you to understand your strengths and identify areas for improvement.

Careers and skills

Our programmes emphasise a feminist sensitivity to difference and power relations, advocating transferable skills applicable in the realms of public engagement and career development. You will learn to analyse your own preconceptions and engage with a wide variety of social/political issues, facilitating your development into responsible global citizens.

Fostering enhanced analytical and critical thinking skills, and the ability to communicate complex ideas with nuance and awareness of difference and diversity, this MA in Women's Studies (Humanities) also offers a suitable foundation for graduates wishing to pursue doctoral research.

Career opportunities

Our graduates have gone on to work in industries such as:

  • Academia
  • Journalism
  • Public sector
  • Charity
  • NGO

Transferable skills

  • Reflexive independent learning
  • The ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly
  • The capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments
  • Excellent written and oral skills
  • Intellectual independence and autonomy
  • Teamwork
  • A flexible and open-minded approach to work

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
Degree

Candidates are normally required to have an upper second class degree or its equivalent, however, applications from those with other qualifications may be considered on their merits. Applications are also welcomed from mature students and those returning to education.

English language

If English is not your native language you must provide evidence of your English language ability:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
  • PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all requirement

See more detailed information on the University's English language requirements.

 

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Centre for Women's Studies

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