Graduate Specialization and Graduate Minor Requirements

UNL’s Women’s & Gender Studies program offers two options to complement your graduate studies in your chosen degree-granting discipline, a specialization and a minor. Both options provide you with a challenging opportunity to extend your graduate education in gender and diversity by drawing on the innovative interdisciplinary perspectives of Women’s & Gender Studies.

Who Should Apply?

Students admitted to graduate programs in any department are welcome to apply. We especially encourage students to apply who have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research and teaching in areas such as feminist and gender theory, women, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, disability studies, or international women's issues.

WGS Graduate Specialization

The following departments have been approved for the Specialization: Anthropology, Art and Art History, Communication Studies, English, History, Political Science, and Sociology. However, we welcome qualified applicants from other departments and colleges. Contact the WGS Program Associate, Deb McWilliams, to determine whether your department qualifies.

WGS Graduate Minor

If a student is unable to pursue the Specialization, they can apply to do the Minor. This includes students who are enrolled in graduate programs that are not approved for the Specialization. Application process and requirements for the Specialization and the Minor are the same.

How to Apply

Admission to a department with a graduate program at UNL is required for participation in the Graduate Specialization or Graduate Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Application to the Specialization or Minor is normally made when completing the Memorandum of Courses for the MA or filing the Program of Study for the PhD, but applications must be received at least one semester prior to the semester of graduation. To apply, submit the following materials to the WGS Program Chair, Shari Stenberg, sstenberg2@unl.edu; WGS Program Associate, Deb McWilliams; and student’s home department:

  1. A letter of application addressed to the graduate chair of the student’s home department and to the director of Women’s and Gender Studies. This letter (2 pages maximum) should include: a) a statement describing how the graduate specialization or graduate minor will help the student meet their goals and how it fits the individual program of study and; b) a bullet-point list of courses the student will take for the graduate specialization or graduate minor.
  2. A copy of the student’s Memorandum of Courses for the MA or Program of Study for the PhD.

The WGS director (in consultation with the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Board) will approve the list of courses for the specialization or minor and course substitutions in consultation with the chair of the student’s supervisory committee.

Applications must be submitted between September 1 and May 1.

Master’s Specialization/Minor Requirements

  • A master’s degree in another UNL department.
  • Nine credit hours of graduate courses on women, gender, and/or sexuality. Of these, six (6) must be outside the student’s major department.#
  • Important note: Crosslisted courses count towards the home department, not WMNS. Therefore, keep this in mind when choosing the required coursework outside your home discipline.
  • The WGS minor or specialization may be gained through any combination of 800 or 900 level courses. Under Graduate College rules, both Options I and II offer possibilities for completing the graduate specialization or minor without adding additional hours of course work.
  • If option I (thesis) is chosen, the thesis must address some issue(s) relevant to Women’s and Gender Studies. The student must deposit an electronic copy of the thesis with Women’s and Gender Studies.
  • Confirmation to the Women’s and Gender Studies office that all requirements for the specialization or minor have been met by the middle of the final semester.

Successful completion of the specialization will be indicated on the student’s official transcript in parentheses following the name of the academic discipline.

PhD Specialization/Minor Requirements

  • A doctoral degree in another UNL department.
  • Twelve* credit hours of courses on women, gender, and/or sexuality. Of these, nine (9) hours must be outside the student’s major department.# 
  • Important note: Crosslisted courses count towards the home department, not WMNS. Therefore, keep this in mind when choosing the required coursework outside your home discipline.
  • The WGS minor or specialization may be gained through any combination of 800 or 900 level courses.** Under Graduate College rules, both Options I and II offer possibilities for completing the graduate specialization or minor without adding additional hours of course work.
  • Transfer Courses: Transferred courses accepted by the major department may be used toward this total upon approval of the WGS Director and Advisory Board. Contact the Director for information on the documentation required for this approval. Transferred courses may count for up to three hours of the total twelve.
  • A PhD student who has already done an MA graduate specialization in WGS at UNL is required to take only six credits (two additional classes) outside her/his department in addition to the nine hours already completed in pursuit of the MA.
  • The dissertation should address some issue(s) relevant to Women’s and Gender Studies. The student must deposit an electronic copy of the dissertation with Women’s and Gender Studies.
  • Confirmation to the Women’s and Gender Studies office that all requirements for the specialization or minor have been met by the middle of the final semester.

# This will be effective starting Fall 2016. It cannot be applied retroactively.

* Although most PhD minors require 15 credit hours, the WGS minor, like the specialization, requires only 12.
** In those departments which already have internal specializations, students will pursue the Women’s and Gender Studies minor. Requirements are the same for both. Successful completion of the specialization will be indicated on the student’s official transcript in parentheses following the name of the academic discipline.