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Master of Arts

Master of Arts

Flexible and Personalized

Recent Capstone Projects

Selective Visibilities: Navigating Identity as an Asian-Indian American Woman through Body and Beauty

'Strong Women Strong Girls': Mutual Empowerment in the Age of Postfeminist Girl Culture

Color of Her Skin, Content of Her Character: The Media vs. Michelle Obama.

Theorizing a Contemporary Queer Femme/ininity: Reflections on The Real L Word

Hades Sings Torch Songs: A Queer Reading of Villain Characters in Disney Renaissance Films

Made Visible: Analyzing News Coverage of Transgender Students at Women's Colleges

Active Minds, Docile Bodies, and the Freedom to Read: How U.S. Prison Libraries Function as Instruments of State Power

Simmons's Gender/Cultural Studies (GCS) program examines constructions of gender, race, class, and nation in the United States and in international contexts. The innovative GCS program offers a supportive, stimulating environment with small classes, faculty mentors, and a flexible curriculum.

With guidance from the program director, each student designs a personalized plan of study. In addition to three required GCS seminars, students choose electives from Africana studies, education, English, sociology, modern languages, history, economics, political science, and women's studies. Course topics range from issues of nation and identity, to material culture, film and literary criticism, pedagogy, economics, and queer theory.

Each student completes a final capstone project that capstone project that furthers their individual academic and professional interests. Capstone projects may take the form of an internship, a research project, or a thesis.

Students may further tailor their studies by completing a dual degree (link to dual degree page).

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Gender/Cultural Studies degree must complete eight courses (32 semester hours). Students are able to complete the degree in four semesters (two years). Part-time students may take up to five years to complete the degree.


All students take the following three courses in interdisciplinary studies and cultural theory, design their own programs from advanced courses offered throughout the College, and finish with a capstone project that furthers their individual academic and professional interests.

GCS required courses

Students must take both of the following courses:

  • GCS 403 Seminar in Gender/Cultural Studies
  • GCS 430 Cultural Theory

GCS core elective course

Students must take one of the following courses:

  • GCS 406 Feminism and Literature
  • GCS 410 Issues in International Studies
  • GCS 412 Theoretical Approaches to Cultural Narratives
  • GCS 415 Feminism and Economic Difference


All students must complete at least 4 capstone credit hours and present their work at the GCS colloquium. The capstone options are list below:

  • GCS-455 Thesis [two semesters; 4 credit hours each semester]
  • GCS-460 Project
  • GCS-470 Internship
  • GCS-480 Gender/Cultural Fieldwork

GCS electives

Students must take at least three courses from the GCS electives list below.

  • AST 513 The Black Struggle for Schooling in America
  • AST 529 Race, Culture, Identity and Achievement
  • AST 536 Black Narratives of Oppression, Resistance, and Resiliency
  • AST/SOC/WST 540 Intimate Family Violence: A Multicultural Perspective
  • AST 588 Black Popular Culture and the Education of Black Youth
  • CHL 401 Criticism of Literature for Children
  • ENGL 506 Victorian Literature and Culture
  • ENGL 507 Jane Austen and Her Contemporaries
  • ENGL 508 the Postcolonial Novel
  • ENGL 517 Toni Morrison and American Literature
  • ENGL 520 American Women's Poetry
  • ENGL 527 Race and Gender in Psychoanalytic Discourse
  • ENGL 528 American Ghosts: the Cultural Politics of Haunting
  • ENGL 554 Studies in Film Genre: Melodrama
  • ENGL 598 Feminist Media Studies
  • HIST 527 Archives, History, and Collective Memory
  • HIST 529 Seminar: Film and Historical Representation
  • HIST 560 Seminar in the History of Women and Gender
  • HIST 561 Cross Cultural Encounters: Contacts, Connection and Conflict
  • HIST 564 Rape of Nanjing
  • HIST 565 9/11 Narratives
  • HIST 567 Memory and the Holocaust
  • HIST 571 Seminar in Early American History
  • HIST 573 Seminar in 19th-Century U.S. History
  • HIST 574 Modern U.S. History Seminar
  • HIST 575 Cold War Culture
  • HIST 577 Seminar in Modern European History
  • HIST 597 Historical Methods and Research
  • INRL 590 Seminar in International Relations
  • PHIL 532 Law and Philosophy
  • SOCI 500 Special Topics
  • SOCI 500 Gender and Islam
  • SOCI/AST 511 Critical Race Legal Theory
  • SOCI 521 Sociology of Food
  • SOCI 538 (TC) Cross-Cultural Alliance Building
  • SOCI 539 Qualitative Research Workshop
  • SOCI 544 Sociology of Poetry and Prose
  • SOCI 545 Health Systems and Policy
  • SOCI 547 Antiracism and Justice Work
  • WGST 554 Feminist Theories
  • WGST 580 Gender and Queer Theory