We at the Department of Gender and Women's Studies stand with UA’s Institute for LGBT Studies to “vehemently oppose the continued attack on transgender rights. We stand in solidarity with our trans* family, friends, colleagues, and community and are committed to support movement toward inclusive education in Arizona, which encompasses trans* peoples’ right to participate in sports and athletic teams.”

Ph.D. Program

Gender & Women’s Studies accepts Ph.D. students every two years. In Fall 2023, we will begin accepting applications for students to be admitted for Fall 2024

The application deadline will be December 15, 2023.

The Ph.D. program in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona trains scholars and researchers in this dynamic, interdisciplinary field. Graduates will produce original knowledge in the field from a foundation in diverse theories of gender, critical race theory, feminism and other social movements, history, literature, critical and cultural studies, and the relation of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and transnational economic and political processes.

Through coursework and preparation for individually designed comprehensive exams, students gain understanding and skills in diverse approaches to feminist scholarship that enable them to design and complete their own innovative dissertation project. The department has particular expertise in Chicana/Latina studies, LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies, transnationalism, and representation and culture and maintains methodologically diverse approaches to scholarship. Through its affiliation with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women the department also contributes to applied community-based research on women's and adolescent health, substance abuse treatment, women and incarceration, and projects related to border issues.


Gender & Women’s Studies will be accepting applications for Fall 2024, the application deadline will be December 15, 2023.



Gender and Women's Studies offers highly competitive funding packages, which include healthcare and tuition waivers.  We will fund students in good academic standing for at least four years.   There are many forms of funding available to graduate students in our program. The department is able to provide some fellowship funding, especially to incoming students, with monies from the Graduate College and the Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy Endowment (which funds both the Women’s Plaza of Honor Fellowship and the Kennedy Endowed Fellowship). In addition, during their first four years, students are eligible for Teaching and Research Assistantships. Students can earn additional money by teaching online courses in summer and winter sessions. Students at the dissertation stage should apply for grants and fellowships offered by departmental, university and national sources relevant to their research topic (information on these opportunities can be researched through SBSRI). Students at all stages of the program are encouraged to apply for small one-time grants for research and for travel to conferences from SBSRI, WOSAC, the GPSC and other sources.

The University of Arizona Department of Gender & Women's Studies is a member of the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP).

About WRGP

The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) allows master’s, graduate certificate, and Ph.D. students who are residents of the 15 participating WICHE states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to enroll in some 320 high-quality programs more than 55 participating institutions outside of their home state and pay resident tuition. The WICHE states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

For a full list of WRGP programs, download this PDF handout.

WRGP is a tuition-reciprocity arrangement similar to the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). Students can enroll directly in the program through WRGP; they are not dependent upon the approval of their home state to participate because the student’s home state does not provide funding for each individual student. WRGP represents a tremendous opportunity for Western states to share distinctive programs (and the faculty who teach them) and build their workforce in a variety of disciplines, particularly healthcare.

In fall 2012, more than 1,000 students enrolled through WRGP and saved an estimated $15.2 million dollars in tuition, and each student saved an estimated average of $15,000.

For Graduate Students

To be considered for the WRGP resident tuition rate, apply directly to the department or graduate studies department of the institution where you want to enroll, and identify yourself as WICHE WRGP applicant. WGRP students must fulfill all the usual requirements of the department and institution concerned, and meet all admission deadlines. Contact information for each participating program is listed in our WRGP online directory.




Gender & Women’s Studies will be accepting applications for Fall 2024, the application deadline will be December 15, 2023.

Deadline for all applicants: December 15

No Spring admission

Ph.D. Program - Application Requirements
Students applying to The University of Arizona's Ph.D. in Gender and Women's Studies degree program should hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent by the date of entry into the program. An undergraduate major or minor in Women's Studies or a strong background in feminist theory within the undergraduate major is strongly recommended. To be competitive for admissions, applicants must achieve a GPA of at least 3.0.

1. Three Letters of Recommendation. The Department requires each applicant to have a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf.  The letters of recommendation should be written by faculty that can speak about your academic and research ability.

2. Statement of Purpose.  Please provide a statement of up to 1000 words outlining your purpose in undertaking graduate study in Gender & Women’s Studies, and at the UA in particular, including your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Include information that documents your preparation for advanced study in this field, such as research projects, internships, or other relevant experiences. If there are particular faculty member with whom you wish to study, please give their names and explain why you want to study with them. Please include your last name and page number in the header section of each page.

3. Personal Statement. Please write a statement of no more than 500 words that identifies the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences that contribute to your decision to pursue graduate education in Gender & Women’s Studies. You may wish to include examples that illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or your commitment to social transformation.  Please include your last name and page number in the header section of each page.

4. Writing Sample. This may be a term paper, a published article or essay, or a substantive research report. Your sample should demonstrate your ability to write clearly, develop a reasoned argument, and engage in innovative thinking. Please limit your writing sample to 25 pages.  Please include your last name and page number in the header section of each page.

5. Curriculum Vitae.  Upload your CV.  Please include your last name and page number in the header section of each page.

Your CV should include:

  • Education (degrees you have received or anticipate);
  • Academic employment (such as teaching or research positions), whether paid or unpaid;
  • Non-academic employment (including internships);
  • Honors, prizes, awards, scholarships, and memberships in honor societies and professional organizations.
  • Published articles, papers presented at professional meetings, screenings or other public presentations of your creative work;
  • Any other activities or accomplishments that you feel are relevant to this application (e.g. extra-curricular activities during college or graduate school or substantial engagement with a non-profit or activist organizations not already listed under employment).

6. Transcript.  All transcripts uploaded into your application are considered unofficial.  If recommended for admission, then sealed, official paper transcripts or official electronic versions sent from your university or clearing house are acceptable.  Degree certificates, diplomas, and transcripts for international documents will require official English translations.

If you are recommended for admission to our program and you accept, the Graduate College Admissions Office will then and only then require you to submit official transcripts. If you fail to submit those official transcripts or if the official transcripts reveal negative information not previously disclosed to us, we reserve the right to revoke the recommendation for admission and any funding that may have been offered.

7. Official GRE Scores (Recommended). The GWS department does not require applicants to submit GRE scores in order to be considered for admission. However, we recommend that you complete the GRE (even though it will not be a factor in our consideration of your application) since it required for certain fellowships and grants for which you may be eligible. 

The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832.

8. English Proficiency is one of the conditions for admission for all applicants whose native language is not English. Acceptable English Proficiency credentials: 

  Please visit the Graduate College website for more information regarding English Proficieny.


For a full explanation of the requirements see our Graduate Handbook

Course work for the PhD includes:

9 UNITS of required courses.
•    GWS 539A Feminist Theories I  (Semester I)
•    GWS 539B Feminist Theories II  (Semester II)
•    GWS 639 History/Social Movements (should be taken at first opportunity

27 ADDITIONAL UNITS in Major field.

These may be classes in and outside of the department. They should be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Students may fulfill up to 10 units by enrolling in the Certificate in College Teaching. For more information see: http://cct.oia.arizona.edu/

12 UNITS in Minor field



Other requirements include:

Transfer Coursework
Graduate credit earned at approved institutions, if accepted by the Gender and Women’s Studies Department and the Graduate College, may be counted toward the requirements. Click here to view complete details.

For students with an MA in gender and women’s studies or a related field, a total of fifteen units may be fulfilled through approved transferred credit.

For students without an MA in gender and women’s studies or a related field, a total of twelve units may be fulfilled through approved transferred credit.  

Critical Race/Ethnic Studies Course Requirement
Our faculty are committed to critical race and ethnic studies for feminist training and research.  Doctoral students must complete one 3-unit course in critical race or ethnic studies, either in the major or minor.  GWS 539A, 539B, and 639 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.  Consult with your adviser or the DGS to select a course that meets this requirement.

Qualifying Process (QP)
All students entering the Ph.D. program are required to complete a Qualifying Process. 

Comprehensive Examination for Doctoral Candidacy
This Examination is intended to test the student’s comprehensive knowledge of the major and minor subjects of study, both in breadth across the general field of study, and in depth within the area of specialization.  There are two portions to the Comprehensive Examination:  the written exam and the oral exam.  They must be taken sequentially.  Students should normally take the Comprehensive Exams upon or near completion of their coursework.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense
The proposal must describe original, substantive research in Gender and Women’s Studies.  It should explain how the dissertation will contribute new knowledge to the field(s) and it should display fluency with existing scholarship related to the topic.  All members of the Dissertation Committee must approve the Dissertation Proposal at a Proposal Defense.

The dissertation is a substantial piece of original research in Gender and Women’s Studies.  Great care should be taken with your dissertation.  For those students who go on to become professors, the dissertation will be a key component in job interviews.  Hiring committees will want to see that the dissertation topic, research, and writing indicate that the dissertation can be revised into a publishable book in a timely fashion.

Language Competencies
The Gender & Women’s Studies Ph.D. does not require the demonstration of second-language competency, but pursuing fluency in languages other than English is strongly encouraged as part of our commitment to U.S. ethnic studies, and international and transnational scholarship, teaching, and activism.

Students undertaking dissertation research in a language other than English and in which they are not native speakers will be expected to demonstrate proficiency to their Dissertation Committee.  Proficiency is achieved when the student acquires the expertise to read widely in secondary literature and undertake original research in another language.  Students who expect that they will undertake dissertation research in a non-native language should discuss this with their Major Advisor early in their doctoral program and work with their Advisor to develop a plan to achieve language proficiency.  These students will be expected to demonstrate language proficiency as part of their Dissertation Prospectus defense.

Key Word(s) of the Page: