Accessibility statement

MPhil and PhD


MPhil Women's Studies

PhD Women's Studies 

Funding options

We provide an interdisciplinary environment for research and supervision in a wide range of Women's Studies issues to both full- and part-time students.

Our MPhil is 2 years in length (or part-time equivalent), with a thesis of 50-60,000 words.

Our PhD programme is 3 years in length (or part-time equivalent), with a thesis of 70-90,000 words. 

Each year there are approximately 35 students studying for research degrees. Throughout their registration period, 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.

If you are interested in applying to undertake research at the centre, please consult the list of staff interests to see whether the appropriate supervision is likely to be available for your proposed research.

For further information please contact the Centre’s Administrator

Key specialities of CWS Core staff are:

  • Dr Rachel Alsop Contemporary developments in feminist theory; issues of body image (particularly in relation to aesthetic surgery); gender based violence and refugee and migrant women; and girls’ rights.
  • Dr Boriana Alexandrova Medical humanities; disability theory; modern and contemporary global literatures; contemporary women’s writing and performance; trauma theory and survivors’ narratives; embodiment; feminist and queer art-activism; ethics; literary multilingualism and translation; postcoloniality.
  • Dr Clare Bielby: Violence, representation and gender; violence, subjectivity and affect/emotion; terrorism and gender; the field of perpetrator studies. History of feminism, particularly German feminisms; queer studies and feminist queer theory; subjectivity and narratives of the self; gender, sexuality and representation.
  • Dr Asha Abeyasekera: Marriage and kinship; the everyday practices of intimacy and care; and the gendered impacts of global capitalism on women’s homemaking in contemporary South Asia.  The gendered dimensions of urban poverty and precarity; the materiality and emotional dimensions of intimate relations and domestic violence; and the creative strategies women use to survive, resist, and flourish even as they claim ethical lives. 

Alongside four core members of staff, the Centre draws on the expertise of many staff from contributing departments.

Degree components

Research: The main focus of the MPhil and PhD degrees is in research and the writing of a thesis.

Taught modules: 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 offer sessions 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, and 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.

Space for research students is in the form of a shared space with desks, computers, printing, photocopying and other key facilities. This space is LMB/158 in the Law and Managment Building on the first floor. There is also a kitchen space available for student use, with chairs, a kettle, microwave, fridge and toaster.