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.

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:

  • Professor Victoria Robinson: Feminist theory, gender and sexualities (especially heterosexuality), 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.
  • Professor Stevi Jackson: Feminist theory, theories of gender and sexuality, women's and family relationships, sociology of childhood.
  • 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 Evangeline Tsao: Visual methodologies; theories of gender and sexuality; popular culture and representation

Alongside five 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.

Office accommodation for research students is in the form of shared offices, with desks, shelving, filing cabinets and access to telephone, computers, printing, photocopying 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). There is also a common-room available for student use, with chairs, a kettle, microwave, fridge and toaster.