center for women and gender studies
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About Our Programs

Summer/Fall 2020

Dear Potential Applicant,

We would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at The University of Texas at Austin!  We are excited to offer a distinctive graduate school experience through our Master’s Programs.

Who We Are:

The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies offers a unique, interdisciplinary program that focuses on understanding women’s experiences from a variety of perspectives and on the role gender plays in shaping society. The program's large and diverse faculty draws on the scholarship of over 100 distinguished faculty from 29 departments and 14 colleges and schools. The wide array of graduate courses we offer provides access to cutting edge scholarship from multiple perspectives and allows our students an unusual opportunity for cross-disciplinary inquiry at the graduate level.

We are pleased to have several award-winning professors and nationally recognized scholars affiliated with our center. Our faculty teach many bright and gifted students, who go on to become political leaders, legal advocates, socially oriented writers, teachers, and artists, as well as scientists and engineers dedicated to addressing the problems faced by our communities.

At CWGS our leadership and support staff is comprised of Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman (Director of CWGS and Interim Graduate Advisor), Patricia Heisler (Office Manager), Nancy Ewert (Events Program Coordinator), and Alma Jackie Salcedo (Graduate Program Coordinator). 

Interdisciplinary Learning:

At the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, we actively encourage our students to pursue their varied academic interests, and our interdisciplinary program allows them the flexibility to study their passions – provided it is through the lens of Women’s and Gender Studies.  A complete listing of all Thesis projects created in our MA program is available online. Follow the links to read through the abstracts and even view entire papers online.

Alumni News:

Since establishing our Master’s Program in 2001, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies has granted degrees to over seventy students; and we remain interested and invested in their post-graduate endeavors.  Recently we contacted some of our former graduates to find out where they are now.  The following are a few of their responses:


Katy Goudarzi (MA 2008) is a research associate at the UT Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory directed by Dr. Andreana Haley.

Lea Susan Engle (MA/MSIS 2009) worked as a Learning and Outreach Librarian at Texas A&M University, a tenure-track position.

Prudence Komujinya (MA 2008) is working for Care International in Uganda as the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for their Women’s Empowerment for Peace in Northern Uganda.

Suzanne Freyjadis Chuberka (MA 2005) is currently a Director at Game Path LLC and the Conference Director of the Game Education Summit (

Noel Betzner (MA 2007) started a new job after doing a brief internship in public affairs with Sarah Wheat at Planned Parenthood. Noel is now working for Corinthian College, an allied health college in Austin, as a Medical Assistant program coordinator.

Kyle Brillante (MA 2007) is living in New York City and is teaching 7th grade science at The Leadership and Community Service Academy of The Bronx (CIS 303) via the Teach For America program.

Stephanie Volkoff Green (MA 2007) is working for Mother Jones magazine and the Foundation for National Progress.


Gretchen Voter Abbott (MA 2010) is a PhD student in Women’s and Gender History at Rutgers University.

Kritika Agarwal (MA 2008) is a PhD candidate in the Department of American Studies at the State University of New York, Buffalo (UB).

Starr Corbin (MA 2010) has been accepted to the LBJ School of Public Affairs Master’s program.

Patricia Nelson (MA 2010) is a doctoral student at the University of Southern California in English. Her research    interests include 20th and 21st-century American literature, film, and visual culture; gender and queer studies; and autobiography across media.

Rawan Arar (MA 2010) is living in Belfast, Northern Ireland and interning with Trinity College Dublin’s Irish School of Economics. Rawan will start a PhD program in Sociology in the fall.

Ganiva Reyes (MA 2010) is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies in Education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UT Austin.

Pengli Huang (MA 2010) received an offer from the University of Hong Kong, for the PhD program in the department of Social Work and Social Administration.

Michelle Mott (MA 2011) is continuing in the PhD program in Sociology at UT Austin.

For more news on what our alumni our doing, please browse our latest issue of the CWGS Newsletter.

What We Look For:

An institution of world-class caliber, The University of Texas at Austin is distinguished by more than a century of intellectual accomplishments.  The university places a premium on outstanding instruction. Its academic programs and professional schools rank largely among the top 20 programs and schools in the country. The faculty includes members of the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as winners of Pulitzer and Nobel prizes.

Now in its 15th year, the Women’s and Gender Studies Masters Program is still one of the university’s youngest programs.  Every January we sort through dozens of applications to find the right students for next fall’s cohort. We see this as an opportunity to admit a dynamic group of students who will make a difference in the community, both in and out of academia.  Each year CWGS accepts about 4-10 students.  The intimate size of the incoming cohort allows us to provide each student with personal attention, opportunities for professional development and funding, and fosters a sense of community amongst our students and faculty.

The Admissions Committee looks for complete applications from a diverse range of students who are committed to Women’s and Gender Studies.  They look for a clear sense of academic goals or drive in the Statement of Purpose, a Scholarly Writing Sample that shows strong verbal and analytical skills, an exciting resume that communicates the student's background, letters of recommendation that can speak to academic performance, and a good GPA. The University of Texas requires a 3.0 GPA in upper-division (junior- and senior-level) coursework and in any graduate work already completed.  The average GPA of students admitted to the WGS program is 3.5.  They also look for competitive GRE scores.  Last year, our top 15% students' Verbal scores were 170 to 160.  Our admissions committee puts an emphasis on the Verbal section and the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. 

Admission application materials should illustrate the following:
* An understanding of the field of Women's & Gender Studies;
* An understanding of and commitment to resisting interlocking oppressions;
* A commitment to antiracist feminist practice;
* Scholarly connection with the work of one or more CWGS Core faculty members, including connections with the Embrey Women's Human Rights Initiative; and
* A description of the research to be undertaken during the two-year program for thesis or report

CWGS depends on our students to be activists and leaders in our community.  The Admissions Committee looks for students who will do more than just attend class.  They look for students who will attend workshops, conferences, form organizations, volunteer, and participate in extra-curricular activities.  More importantly, the Admissions Committee is seeking students who possess an understanding of the field of Women's & Gender Studies, understanding of and commitment to resisting interlocking oppressions, are committed to antiracist feminist practice,  and can create a scholarly connection with the work of one or more CWGS affiliate faculty members with ideas for a thesis research project in mind.
Due to the size and cohort nature of the program, we only offer fall admission.  The application deadline for the next fall admission is December 1st of the previous year.  This timeline allows us to review applications during the winter break and contact applicants for admission in mid-March, for registration and enrollment in August.

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DEADLINE!  The online application's requests for letters of recommendation do not go out until you submit the online application.  If you wait until the deadline, your letters of recommendation will be submitted after the deadline - and therefore LATE.  Our recommendation is to submit your application 2-3 weeks before the deadline, so that your references will have plenty of time to write.  Late applications will not be considered.

Detailed application instructions are on the WGS MA Admissions page and the Help page.

MA Degree Requirements:

(Previous Edition: UT Austin Graduate Catalog, 2011-2013 (6.3MB PDF):  Women's and Gender Studies is located on page 381 of this PDF.)

The UT Austin Graduate Catalog, 2015-2017 contains degree requirements for all graduate programs, rules that affect graduate students, descriptions of graduate courses, and a list of Graduate Studies Committee members. Information on the Women's and Gender Studies MA Program is included, as well as a summary of the WGS MA degree requirements.

The requirement for the MA in Women's and Gender Studies is divided into two options: The MA thesis and the MA report.

In addition to these course requirements, students are also required to present at the Annual WGS Student Conference at least once during their course of study.

The MA thesis route requires successful completion of 36 course hours to be divided as follows:
•    9 hrs of WGS Required Courses (WGS 390, WGS 391, WGS 392)
•    6 hrs of Minor Courses (2 courses)
•    15 hrs of Elective Courses (5 courses)*
•    6 Thesis hrs

The MA report option requires successful completion of 36 course hours to be divided as follows:
•    9 hrs of WGS Required Courses (WGS 390, WGS 391, WGS 392)
•    6 hrs of Minor Courses (2 courses)
•    18 hrs of Elective Courses (6 courses)*
•    3 Report hrs

*at least 4 of these Elective Courses must be WGS, or contain women/gender content and recieve approval from the Graduate Adviser

New Dual Degree Programs:

The Center for Women's and Gender Studies and the School of Information offer a dual degree program combining training in information studies with study of the role that gender plays in shaping society.  Graduates of the program are awarded a Master of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies and a Master of Science in Information Studies.

This Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) and the LBJ School (LBJ) offer a dual degree program that  responds to an increased need in the public, nonprofit and private sectors for specialists who have advanced training in policy analysis and leadership and management skills, as well a comprehensive understanding of women’s and gender issues.

Students seeking admission to the dual degree program must apply through the Graduate and International Admissions Center. Students apply to each individual program's graduate offices in order to be admitted to the dual program.  Potential students may apply to the Dual Degree program using the dual degree code on the online (Apply) Texas Common Application website.  

Applicants must be accepted by both admissions committees in order to attempt the dual degree.  (Students could potentially apply to the School of Information or the School of Public Policy for Spring admission - and then later change their major to the dual degree with WGS.  If accepted - students could begin MSIS or MPAff coursework in January, but would have to wait until the next fall to begin WGS MA coursework with the new cohort.)

There is not a special application for the dual degree program (besides marking the appropriate program/major code on the Apply Texas website). Like all other graduate applicants, the student is responsible for submitting any additional information required by the Graduate Studies Committee for each program.

Each program (MSIS, MPAff, and WGS) has its own separate requirements in addition to the (Apply) Texas Online Application.  Each program needs to be individually sent all the information for its own program.  Since the MSIS, MPAff and WGS programs all have separate admissions committees, they cannot accept only one application with all the materials. Please keep them separate.

We apologize if this requires additional attention to detail and effort, but the School of Information, the LBJ School of Public Policy, and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies are housed in separate offices across campus, and our timelines are different as well.

Destination: Austin, Texas!

Austin is a vibrant, varied city, with numerous educational, business and leisure resources.  In 2007, Austin numbered amongst the top ten U.S. cities for business vitality, including being ranked as one of the hottest job markets for young adults and one of the best cities for relocating singles. Austin is also considered one of the cleanest and healthiest cities in the U.S.  Prevention magazine named Austin as the second best city in the country for fitness, citing the city’s good air quality, mild weather, beautiful parks and safe streets; and with Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program, Austin leads the nation in renewable energy usage.  In addition to being the Capital of Texas, Austin has a justified reputation as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”  So what’s not to love about Austin?

More information:

To learn more about UT’s Graduate School: Graduate School Brochure, UT Grad Student News, Graduate Student Organizations, and About the Grad School.

If you would like more information about our programs, please read through our publications on the web.  Our newsletters are available online as PDFs here. 

If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me.  I wish you the best of luck in your academic endeavors.


Alma Jackie Salcedo, M.Ed. (pronouns: she/her/hers)
Graduate Coordinator
University of Texas at Austin

512.475.7858;; Burdine 536

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    Burdine Hall 536
    2505 University Avenue, A4900
    Austin, Texas 78712