Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
How to Apply

How to Apply

Admission Requirements

We’re delighted that you’re interested in applying to the dual-degree program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies! Everything that you need to know for applying should be listed below but feel free to contact us with further questions.

Prospective candidates for the dual-title program in WGSS must have excellent critical reading, writing, and research skills. In addition, they should be able to demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. To engage and analyze historical and contemporary feminist scholarship;
  2. To carry out research and scholarly activities that engage and contribute to feminist scholarship;
  3. To bring a WGSS perspective effectively to their professional work and workplace, whether through teaching in an interdisciplinary WGSS Department or other professional pathways; and
  4. To represent (or the potential to represent) the Department with a high level of professionalism.

Furthermore, all dual-title applications should clearly explain:

  1. How WGSS and their partner discipline are integrated within their own work; and
  2. Why the dual-title program would enrich their graduate education and career goals.

Requirements for Applicants who are New to Penn State University

Students may apply to the dual-degree program when they apply for admission to graduate school at Penn State. Please follow the guidelines for applying established by the co-operating department and indicate clearly on your application that you are applying to the dual-degree program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Send all materials to the co-operating department but be sure your personal statement reflects your interest in this interdisciplinary degree. The co-operating department is responsible for the first years of funding and assistantships. Please note that if you are accepted into the dual-title master’s program (and not a “fast-track” PhD program where you earn a master’s along the way), you will need to reapply to the WGSS dual-title doctoral program if you stay at Penn State to pursue your PhD.

View a list of participating programs.

Requirements for Students Currently Enrolled in a Co-operating Graduate Program at Penn State University

The admissions committee meets once per semester to review internal applications. The application deadlines for current Penn State students are October 15 and February 15. Master’s degree students can apply at any point in their program, provided they are able to fulfill all requirements before graduation. PhD students must apply before taking their qualifying exams. We strongly recommend that students take one of our core required courses before applying (or during the semester they plan to apply). If this is not possible, please be sure to explain the circumstances in your personal statement.

Students already enrolled in a co-operating program at Penn State may apply by submitting the following to the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department in 345 Willard Building or via email at WGSS Grad Program

  • A CV
  • A list of completed WGSS coursework (as well as a separate confidential email from the instructor(s)—if at Penn State—providing a brief overview of the student’s performance and abilities)
  • A writing sample (ideally from a WGSS-related graduate course)
  • A personal statement that describes how your research and professional goals reflect an interest in interdisciplinary feminist research
  • 1 letter of recommendation from a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality (who may be the same person assessing the student’s performance in class)

Graduate Staff Assistant
345C Willard Building

Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor
Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and English
Graduate Program Director
339 Willard  Building