WGSS Graduate Student Handbook

Unit Directory

Department Chair 

Dr. Katie Batza



Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Aimee Wilson



COGA Program Coordinator

Jess Wagner



Administrative Associate

Krystofer Meadows



Key Offices at KU

Your unit’s Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator is your first stop for any questions related to graduate study or requirements. If you would like to research an issue in advance of speaking with your department or if you still have questions, the following offices can provide assistance.

Key Offices at KU

COGA oversees graduate affairs and administers University policy for programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The COGA website contains comprehensive information on requirements and processes pertaining to graduate education at KU. Most common questions can be answered with the information provided there, including questions regarding enrollment changes or forms, University policies regarding exams and committee requirements, and University graduation requirements. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences' Master’s Hooding Ceremony is coordinated by COGA.

COGA reviews all student petitions of University and College policy, issuing decisions on behalf of the College or referring as required to a faculty committee and/or the Office of Graduate Studies. The more common student petitions relate to Enrollment, Graduate Credit, Leave of Absence, and Time Limit Extensions. COGA is a resource if you have questions about petitions or graduation requirements that your department is unable to answer. Refer to the COGA website for current staff contact information.

Graduate Studies is the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies at KU. The Executive Council of Graduate Studies sets policies and regulations governing graduate study, and offers various programs for graduate students throughout the year. While COGA should be your first stop for any questions your department cannot answer, you may be referred to Graduate Studies for certain matters, especially for questions about GTA/GRA/GA appointments and policies. The University's Doctoral Hooding Ceremony is coordinated by Graduate Studies.

Contact Graduate Admissions for questions regarding KU Online Application for Graduate Study,SLATE system, English proficiency requirements, and official transcripts.

Contact OUR for questions related to enrollment (if the question cannot be resolved via the enrollment changes link provided above under COGA), tuition, campus fees, the Academic Calendar, and fee petitions.

Contact Financial Aid for questions related to the disbursement of scholarships, fellowship award, loans, and FAFSA.

Contact ISS for questions related to international students, including enrollment requirements, international student insurance, obtaining a social security card, I-20 questions, and any issue related to student visas. While other offices on campus such as the AEC, Human Resources, or the Registrar may also handle related matters, because the students’ legal status in the country may be affected, it is recommended that students contact ISS first.

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is a University office dedicated to assisting instructors, including GTAs, to develop effective instructional techniques. The expert staff of CTE can introduce instructors to the pedagogical technology available at the University and help instructors develop new approaches to teaching. CTE specialists work with instructors individually, and also offer a diverse array of workshops and discussions. They also can guide instructors to useful scholarly literature on the subject of college teaching and learning.

General Department Policies & Procedures



Applications for the fall semester are due no later than December 15. All applicants will be considered for departmental funding in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) or Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) appointments. The Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies does not admit students for the spring or summer semesters.

Application Materials & Procedures

The following components should be included in your online application:

  • A statement of academic objectives describing your intellectual development, previous academic training, and areas of academic interest, and identify the faculty member(s) you are interested working with based on your subject area of interest. The quality of this statement is an especially important factor in the decisions of our admissions committee. The statement should be a maximum of two pages, single spaced.
  • A resume/curriculum vitae
  • Copy of an official transcript from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • A sample of your written academic work (not to exceed 30 pages)

Proof of English Proficiency

The Office of Graduate Studies requires all applicants who self-identify as non-native English speakers to demonstrate proof of English proficiency. See “Admissions” under the University Policies & Degree Requirements section of this document for more information regarding the University’s requirements for providing proof of English Proficiency.

Admissions Contact Information

If you have questions about the academic program or curriculum, contact the Director of Graduate Studies. If you have questions about the application process or required materials, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

General Guidelines


See “Grading” under the University Policies & Degree Requirements section for further information regarding University minimum grading requirements.

Academic Integrity & Misconduct

In the Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, we consider academic integrity essential to our work, and we expect students to adhere to its principles in conducting research. This means that students acknowledge the sources they use in their academic work and cite them fully and correctly; not acknowledging a source constitutes plagiarism. Students should consult with faculty well before due dates if they are not sure how to handle a source. Academic integrity also means that work on examinations and assignments must be carried out by authorized means. Students are subject to sanctions by the University of Academic Misconduct if they violate these principles. Definitions are provided in the University Senate Rules and Regulations.

Good Standing

To be considered in “good standing” in any graduate program, the University requires graduate students to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or “B” average) and be making timely progress toward meeting their degree requirements. For additional information on good standing, as well as probation and dismissal procedures for those students who do not meet the requirements for good standing, see the University Policies & Degree Requirements section of this document.

Advising & Mentorship

The Director of Graduate Studies advises entering graduate students. New students are also assigned a faculty mentor for their first year of study. By the end of the first year of graduate study leading toward the Ph.D., students should ask a faculty member to serve as their advisor. The faculty advisor must be a core WGSS faculty member or affiliated faculty member. The faculty advisor will work closely with the student to develop a coherent plan of study, which should be in writing and included in the student’s file as early as possible in the student's graduate career. Each graduate student will meet with their faculty advisor a minimum of once a year to discuss their course performance and timely progress toward the degree.

Change of Faculty Advisor

Under some circumstances, it is beneficial for a graduate student to be paired with a new faculty advisor. These situations may come about for varied reasons, including changes in thematic focus, need for additional expertise, incompatibility of student and advisor, or leave, departure, or retirement of the faculty advisor. Successful change in advisor will be contingent upon the identification of an appropriate new advisor and the willingness of the prospective new advisor to assume the responsibilities. If necessary, the Director of Graduate Studies can serve as an advisor on an interim basis for up to three months while the student identifies a permanent advisor.

To initiate this process students should take the following actions:

  1. Notify your current advisor that you would like to change advisors.
  2. Contact the potential new advisor to see if they are willing to serve as your advisor.
  3. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and Program Coordinator and communicate your plans to them; provide a reason for pursuing a change in advisor.
  4. If your current advisor is the DGS, communicate your plans to the department chair and the Program Coordinator.
  5. The DGS and Program Coordinator will assist in the transition by verifying the change in advisor with the former and new advisor and communicating the change in advisor to the student's dissertation committee members.

Students are free to communicate independently with their committee members outside of the official communications documented in the steps above. In addition, students can also consult extra-departmental resources such as the Ombuds Office, who can provide support in the process.

Change of First Year Mentor

Under some circumstances, it is beneficial for a graduate student to be paired with a new first-year faculty mentor. These situations may come about for varied reasons, including changes in thematic focus, need for additional expertise, incompatibility of student and mentor, or leave, departure, or retirement of the faculty mentor. Successful change in mentorship will be contingent upon the identification of an appropriate new mentor and the willingness of the prospective new mentor to assume the responsibilities. If necessary, the Director of Graduate Studies can serve as a first-year mentor on an interim basis for up to three months while the student identifies a permanent first-year mentor. Students can initiate this process at any time by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator. They can also consult extra-departmental resources such as the Ombuds Office, who can provide support in the process. The Department Chair and Director of Graduate Studies are available to help guide the student through the change, which can include help in identifying a new first-year mentor, communicating with the original first-year mentor, and assisting in the transition. Proposed changes in first-year mentorship assignments will be communicated to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Annual Review

The WGSS Department engages in a process of annual evaluations for each graduate student in the program. These reviews are intended to give students helpful guidance as they progress through the program. Advisors should be giving students ongoing advice and support that both identifies challenges and helps identify sources of support. The annual review, in slight contrast, is intended to provide a concise evaluation of students’ progress in the program from a departmental-level viewpoint. The annual review focuses on student development in areas of research and professional development.

Students’ annual evaluations will be developed based on feedback from their advisor as well as relevant evaluation documents and information from WGSS professors about their performance in four main categories:

1. Student Performance in Graduate Course Work:

  • Preparedness for class (readings and assignments completed)
  • Engagement in class (actively engaged in discussion, interacting with peers and instructor in a manner that is conducive to maintaining an inclusive classroom learning environment)
  • Intellectual development in courses (improvement in critical analysis skills, writing, oral communication of ideas, presentations)

2. Student Performance Feedback based on their Funding Source (GTA, GRA, External or internal fellowships):

  • Student evaluations
  • Teaching observations
  • Teaching practices (activities to improve teaching such as workshops offered by CTE, participation in WGSS 803)
  • Contribution to research activities in accordance with a student’s funding source, if applicable

3. Progress Toward Degree (Please refer to the Program Requirements Checklist):

  • Timely completion of course work
    • Completion of required core courses
    • Completion of concentration area course
    • Completion of WGSS electives
  • Timely completion of qualifying exam
  • Timely completion of prospectus defense
  • Timely completion of research for dissertation
  • Timely completion of dissertation

4. Professional Development (Please refer to the sample plan of study timeline in Appendix B):

  • Attendance at Gender Seminars
  • Participation in WGSS professionalization seminars
  • Completion of WGSS 804
  • Participation in KU professionalization seminars/workshops/activities
  • Conference participation
  • Publication of research
  • Applied research/engaged scholarship
  • Service to the department, university or profession

As part of the annual evaluation, students should submit a current curriculum vitae and a written assessment of their performance in the categories identified above to the Director of Graduate Studies by April 15. This self-assessment should not exceed one page (single spaced). Please note that expectations vary from year to year; a student’s evaluation will correspond to those expectations applicable to their stage in the PhD program.

Students are encouraged to complete a mentoring agreement with their advisor and to revisit that agreement with their advisor annually. A student’s advisor is responsible for providing the student with the mentoring agreement. Students and their advisor also should meet regularly to determine an appropriate degree timeline in accordance with the expectations of the WGSS PhD program and the University time limits for completion.

The advisor and Director of Graduate Studies will consult about any possible changes in a student’s timeline for degree completion based upon the feedback in the annual evaluation. These annual reviews are internal documents. Students should feel free to meet with the DGS and their advisor to discuss the annual reviews within 30 days of receipt.

Graduate Student Committee Roles

Second Year Duties

Historically, second year student select one member of their cohort to attend departmental faculty meetings. Some cohorts have also decided to rotate which member attends the meeting each month so that every member is able to participate. After attending, the graduate student is responsible for compiling minutes from the meeting and sharing with the entirety of the department’s graduate students, either electronically or in person. The representative is also responsible for collecting and sharing graduate student questions and concerns with faculty at these meetings.

Graduate Studies Committee

The Graduate Studies Committee is a standing committee within the Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) that oversees graduate studies, including but limited to PhD and MA admissions, qualifying and comprehensive exams, funding for graduate students, and advisor-advisee relationships. Graduate students will nominate one graduate representative to the committee annually by majority vote, typically at the beginning of the academic calendar. The graduate representative will help committee members understand graduate student experiences in all decisions related to graduate studies, perform tasks required by committee membership (including admissions), and communicate any changes or decisions made by the collective committee to the graduate student community. Where necessary, the representative may present graduate student concerns to department faculty and/or coordinate with the PhD second year cohort to raise concerns directly to Department leadership. Graduate student representation, usually through the graduate representative, is required at all Graduate Studies Committee meetings.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is a standing committee within the Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and comprises at least one undergraduate student, at least one graduate student (PhD or MA), and at least one faculty member. The DEI committee addresses concerns relating to intersectional inequality, including but not limited to discrimination based on race, gender, sex/uality, and class, within the Department. The committee serves as the liaison and safe space for marginalized and minority members of the Department to communicate with Department leadership. Historically members of the committee identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color), international students, and trans* students, though DEI Committee members may identify otherwise. Graduate students will select and appoint a DEI graduate representative to the committee annually by majority vote. This representative will raise both micro- and macro-level DEI-related issues affecting graduate students to the DEI committee, such as syllabus reform, course availability, and misgendering. Members of the committee will discuss DEI issues and communicate possible solutions to all members of the Department (undergraduate, graduate, and faculty) when appropriate, at the committee’s discretion.

Professional Development Options & Expectations

Human Experimentation

Students are reminded that research involving human experimentation (e.g., questionnaires, interviews, etc.) is subject to legal and ethical consideration and to review by the Advisory Committee on Human Experimentation (ACHE). It is expected that students proposing such research will discuss the implications of their work with the appropriate professor, submit a proposal to the ACHE, and work closely with their professors during the research. Review the University policy.

Hall Center Seminars

The Hall Center sponsors seminars that should interest WGSS graduate students: Gender, Early Modern, Latin America, Modernities, Nature and Culture, Digital Humanities, Peace, War & Global Change. Faculty in WGSS co-host the Hall Center's Gender Seminar, and the department expects its graduate students to attend these. The seminar provides a forum for faculty, graduate students, and visitors to present work in progress as well as to discuss issues of mutual interest.


Students may wish to integrate internships or service learning into their graduate program. The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program will seek to ensure that such experiences are relevant to an individual’s formal training and examination structure. A student wishing to pursue an internship should write a proposal and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. The proposal must outline the goals to be achieved through the internship and must describe the agreed-upon academic and work activities that will be undertaken to complete the internship. The student is responsible for identifying an appropriate faculty sponsor, who will help determine the necessary reading and writing requirements for the academic component. In addition, the student must negotiate with an on-site internship supervisor the actual work activities to be performed at the internship site. In evaluating the work component at the end of the internship, the student’s onsite supervisor will submit an evaluation of the student’s performance to the faculty sponsor. If the internship has been taken for credit, the faculty member will then use this evaluation, in conjunction with the student’s academic work related to the internship, as the basis for an appropriate grade. Above all, the internship experience should be a critical component of the student’s total program and be incorporated into the student’s definition of program concentration.

Nomination for University and College Funding and Awards

The University and College have several competitive research and travel funding awards for which students can either be nominated for by the DGS or for which the DGS applies on behalf of the department. These funding opportunities have their own priorities for student applicants. We nominate students based on: eligibility, match to funding priorities, distribution of existing funds, and progress in the degree. International students will receive a higher need priority for awards that provide summer funding due to the limitations placed on their ability to work outside of the university per federal regulations. 

Graduate students may nominate themselves for any award where they fit the eligibility requirements outlined in the award description. First-year graduate students are not eligible for teaching awards.

Assignment of Departmental Research and Travel Funding

The department uses the following guidelines to help determine which students should be nominated or awarded funding that is administered through the WGSS Department:

  1. The student must submit to the DGS a 1-2 page double spaced proposal for the project to be funded that explains the project, its academic merit, and shows a realistic timeline and goals for the funding period.
  2. The student must solicit a faculty endorsement for the project of no more than a paragraph in length that should be submitted by the faculty member to the DGS.
  3. Students who have sought (successfully or not) external funding.
  4. Students will only be nominated or awarded funding sources that they have not previously won. No student will be nominated or awarded any single funding source more than once in their matriculation.

While the DGS, Chair, and other related University offices will announce and share funding as it becomes available to the best of their ability, it is the responsibility of each graduate student to seek out funds and submit to the DGS the materials required for consideration for each award at least two weeks before the deadline for each award.

Grievance Procedures

The Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies advises that graduate students make an attempt to resolve issues, especially matters concerning grades, directly with the instructor or party involved, or with the department chair. If a grievance arises that cannot be resolved directly, or if the student does not feel comfortable attempting to resolve the issue with the department chair, the student should then follow the department’s official grievance procedure, which has been approved by the University and may be found at the following link: Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Grievance Procedure


If a graduate student has a compelling reason to seek exemption from a program requirement or University policy, they may submit a petition to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Petitioners should write a letter, addressed to the Director of Graduate Study, explaining the reasons why the student is seeking exemption from specific rules, as well as how the educational goals of the rules reflect will still be fulfilled. Where applicable, this petition should be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s advisor and/or the appropriate supporting materials. The letter should be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies, who will consider the petition and make a decision.

In cases where the policy or requirement is a departmental requirement (for example, a course requirement for a degree), the Director of Graduate Studies will issue a final decision (for example, that the student may be exempt from a doctoral course requirement based on coursework taken at the master’s level at a previous institution).

In cases where the policy or requirement being petition is a University policy, the Director of Graduate Studies will decide whether to support the student’s petition. If the Director of Graduate Studies is in support, the Graduate Program Coordinator will submit a petition form to the College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA) accompanied by supporting materials as required. The petition form specifies the supporting material needed for each kind of petition. These materials must accompany the petition sent to COGA. COGA’s petitions webpage provides additional information regarding University petitions, including supplemental documentation that may be required by the University. Additional information regarding the more common University petitions, such as leaves of absence, enrollment requirements, and time limit extensions, may also be found in the University Policies & Degree Requirements section of this document.

In cases where the Director of Graduate Studies declines to support a University petition, no paperwork may be submitted to COGA. COGA only accepts student petitions in cases where there is documented departmental support and when the petition itself is submitted by a representative of the department.

Students should always consult with the Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator prior to submitting a petition to ensure that a petition is necessary and that all the appropriate supporting documentation is accounted for.

Information for Graduate Teaching Assistants

The standard half-time (50% FTE, 20 hours per week) Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) appointment entails teaching 10-12 credit hours of courses over the nine-month academic year. Stipends for the 2022-2023 academic year start at $17,750. Those holding an assistantship benefit from a full tuition waiver and payment of up to 3 hours of student fees. All applicants to the doctoral program will be considered for a GTA appointment.

GTA appointments for doctoral students will normally be renewed for a maximum of ten semesters providing that both academic work and teaching are satisfactory. Students who have not completed their comprehensive exams by the end of their fourth year must petition to be considered for a GTA appointment. If eligible (see next paragraph) and if progress to degree and teaching are deemed satisfactory, doctoral students may be considered for GTA appointments beyond the tenth semester, for a maximum of sixteen semesters.

All offers of financial assistance are contingent on approval by the College and the University, and on the availability of funds from the state. The Memorandum of Agreement made between the University of Kansas and the Board of Regents with the American Federation of Teachers - Kansas (representing the Graduate Teaching Assistants) provides the University of Kansas with the ability to set term limits for GTA appointments. The University of Kansas limits the duration of the GTA contract to a total of sixteen semesters (MA and PhD combined) Students in the WGSS graduate program complete both an MA and a PhD, so they should be particularly aware of this limitation in teaching assistantship funding.

The department will provide information to students when summer GTA appointments are available. Generally, students who have taught a class in person are eligible to be considered to teach one online section of that course during the summer. The availability of summer teaching is subject to the administration and varies from year to year.

GTA work requirements for each semester (not including summer session) end on the deadline date for turning in course grades. GTAs must return all student work, including assignments and exams, to the department within 30 days of the deadline. The department will store all student work for one calendar year after grades are assigned.

GTAs should plan to keep student work for at least 21 days after grades are due unless alternate arrangements are made. GTAs may return student work after 21 days have passed and must return all student work after 30 days have passed. All student work should be returned to the Administrative Associate in the main WGSS office during regular business hours (8:00am-5:00pm). If the main WGSS office will be closed at any point during the 30 day period, GTAs will be notified in advance of the closure when possible.

Assignment of Summer Teaching

Summer teaching opportunities are not guaranteed as part of GTA funding packages. Summer teaching opportunities are reliant on allocations of courses from the University, which can fluctuate from year to year based on enrollments. In assigning summer classes to individual graduate students, the Department prioritizes the following (not in ranked order):

  • Teaching experience (within our department or at prior institutions) on similar content.
  • Proof of teaching effectiveness in the form of a previous teaching evaluation, annual review observations, and/or statement of support from a WGSS faculty member.
  • Supporting students from minority groups and international students.
  • Qualified graduate students with limited summer teaching opportunities. Given the current funding realities, students who have had summer teaching funding for 4 years are least likely to get summer teaching appointments again without unusual circumstances.

Student preferences for course and term will be taken into account whenever possible and when in alignment with departmental need. Once assigned a course for summer, the department cannot guarantee funding unless the course meets minimum enrollments requirements set by the University.


University Funding

For all awards and fellowships where the Department is responsible for nominating graduate students (e.g. Graduate Summer Research Scholarships), the Department will first advertise the opportunity and solicit applications from qualified students. A committee will evaluate applications and determine departmental nominee(s).

Degree Requirements

Master's Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

Students who are admitted to the doctoral program in WGSS will earn a master’s degree along the way. At least 50% of coursework for the master's degree must be taken at the 700 level or above. Course requirements for the master’s degree are combined with the doctoral degree, so students should refer to doctoral degree course requirements prior to enrollment each semester.

Qualifying Master's Exam

Students will take a qualifying examination (master’s exam) once they have passed or registered for 30 hours of coursework (typically in the fourth semester of the program either during the final week of winter break or the first week of the spring semester). Students are not eligible to sit for the qualifying exam if they have an incomplete or failing grade in WGSS 800, WGSS 801 (or alternate WGSS theory course), or WGSS 802.

This exam covers material in WGSS history, theory, and methods. The qualifying examination committee will consist of instructors of WGSS 800, 801 (or alternate WGSS theory course), and 802. Qualifying exams consist of two questions submitted by each of the three instructors (students must choose one question from each course). Students are to provide 8-12 page answers to each chosen question. The Graduate Program Coordinator will provide students with questions from the two most recent qualifying exams to aid in preparation.

Students are given two weeks (scheduled by the student and the Director of Graduate Studies) to complete the exam. If a student does not answer all three questions (1 chosen from each course), the exam is considered incomplete and will result in a failure of the exam. Failure to submit the exam within the allotted two weeks will also result in failure. The Graduate Program Coordinator and Director of Graduate Studies will ensure that the exam adheres to any individual accommodations communicated through the AAAC. All students will be notified of qualifying exam results, including comments from qualifying examination committee members, via letter sent through the University of Kansas e-mail system no later than two weeks after the conclusion of the exam. The DGS will send out confirmation of the exam to the committee and will inform the Graduate Program Coordinator who will submit the required forms to the graduate school for approval.

Qualifying Exams can be deemed a failure, a pass, or a pass with honors. The results of this exam will determine whether or not the student is asked to leave the program without an MA, given a terminal MA and leaves the program, or the student continues on toward the PhD. Students who pass may be granted permission to proceed with their coursework toward the PhD. A student who passes the qualifying exam will receive an MA regardless of whether they choose to continue in the PhD program. After a failed exam, a student must meet with all members of the exam committee before retaking the exam. Failure of the exam will not result in an MA. Students who fail the qualifying exams once retain their initial funding package but are no longer eligible to develop their own course to teach until after they have passed the exam. Students who fail the exam may take it a second time, but not a third; at least 90 days must elapse between exams and a second attempt must be completed within 6 months of the failure. After the completion of a second exam, the student must meet with the DGS to discuss their future in the program; those who fail the exam twice must either voluntarily leave the program or will be dismissed from the program.

Students who commence the exam but are unable to finish it for highly unusual or extenuating circumstances, such as documented medical issues or a death in the family, should retake the exam within 90 days and will be given new questions. Students should inform the Director of Graduate Studies at the earliest possible time if an exam must be stopped.

Students who take the qualifying exam will receive an outcome of honors, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory. Generally, an outcome of honors indicates that the student demonstrates an exemplary understanding of the material with dexterity and fluency. An outcome of satisfactory indicates that the student demonstrates an understanding of the majority of the course texts and concepts. An outcome of unsatisfactory indicates that the student failed to demonstrate an understanding of course texts and concepts. For more information about these three outcomes, students should consult with their faculty advisor or the DGS.

PhD Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

The Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies requires at least 60 credit hours of graduate-level coursework for students to earn a doctoral degree. These 60 credit hours are comprised of 12 hours of required courses in WGSS, 15 hours of elective courses in WGSS, and 18 credit hours of courses in an outside concentration approved by the department. Additionally, students must enroll in at least 5 hours of WGSS 999 while preparing for the comprehensive oral exam, and a minimum of 9 hours of WGSS 999 prior to defending a dissertation. At least 50% of coursework for the doctoral degree must be taken at the 700 level or above.

Up to 6 credit hours of graduate coursework completed at another institution can be used to waive up to 6 credit hours of course requirements for the Ph.D. Students should consult with their faculty advisor, the Graduate Program Coordinator, and the DGS to begin the process.

The sections below outline more specific course requirements.

WGSS Courses

  • WGSS 800: History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (3)
  • WGSS 801: Feminist Theory (3) (can be substituted with alternate WGSS theory course)
  • WGSS 802: Feminist Methodologies (3)
  • WGSS 803: Topics in Feminist Pedagogy (1.5)
  • WGSS 804: Topics in Professional Development (1.5)
  • Elective courses within WGSS (minimum of 15 credit hours)

WGSS 800 through WGSS 804 constitute a three-semester sequence. Students entering the doctoral program who have not completed this sequence of courses should take 800 and 801 during the fall semester of their first year of doctoral work and the remaining courses in subsequent consecutive semesters. If the student chooses to take an alternate theory course (instead of WGSS 801), it must be taken within the first three semesters of the program. This sequence of core courses is designed to initiate and reinforce the process of preparation toward completion of the doctorate—in particular, to provide direction toward the comprehensive oral examination and the development of a doctoral dissertation topic.

Concentration Areas

Ph.D. candidates are required to take 18 credit hours in a concentration as identified by WGSS; preferably at least 3 credit hours in theory and 3 credit hours in methods in the concentration area. Concentrations have been identified in African and African-American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Classics, Communication Studies, English, Film and Media Studies, History, History of Art, Indigenous Studies, Museum Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Public Affairs and Administration, Sociology, and Theatre. Up to 3 credit hours may be accepted at the 500/600 level as long as they meet all other requirements to be eligible for graduate credit. All others must be numbered 700 or above.

Students should begin the process of identifying a concentration as early as the time of application to ensure that their interests are compatible with those of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies core and affiliated faculty at the University of Kansas. As they develop their concentrations, students will identify a primary faculty advisor who usually serves as the chair of their exam committee (see Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination section below) and assists them in refining their concentration and with selecting additional committee members for their exams.

For a list of approved courses, see the section at the end of this manual.

Research Skills & Responsible Scholarship

All doctoral students are required to obtain research skills and responsible scholarship practices relevant to their field.

The areas pertinent to the field of Women, Gender and Sexuality may include protection of human subjects, conflicts of interest, data management, mentor/student responsibilities, appropriate research conduct and research misconduct, collaborative research, authorship, publication, plagiarism, copyright, peer review, professional practices and maintenance of confidentiality.

In compliance with the Graduate Studies policy on Research Skills all WGSS doctoral students are required to take:

  • WGSS 802: Feminist Methodology
  • WGSS 804: Professional Development Seminar
  • 6 hours in the theory and methods pertinent to the student’s special concentration

In compliance with the Graduate Studies policy on Responsible Scholarship all WGSS doctoral students are required to take:

  • WGSS 803: Feminist Pedagogy
  • WGSS 804: Professional Development Seminar
  • 6 hours in the theory and methods pertinent to the student’s special concentration

Oral Comprehensive Exam Procedures

After completing all course requirements listed above, students will take a comprehensive oral exam. Before sitting for comprehensive exams, students must complete any remaining incompletes from previous semesters. Students must sit for their comprehensive exams by the end of their fourth year in the program in order to remain in good academic standing and have access to departmental funding and teaching opportunities. To begin the process students should meet with their dissertation adviser to choose committee members. When a student has selected their committee, they should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator to begin the exam scheduling process. The Graduate Program Coordinator will communicate on behalf of the student to schedule the exam, reserve a room, and complete pre-approval paperwork prior to the exam. The comprehensive exam scheduling process should begin no later than one month prior to the earliest possible exam date. The student's examination committee shall consist of two members of the WGSS graduate faculty (at least two core members), one member in the student's concentration, and a fourth member from another unit who serves as the Graduate Studies Representative. All materials must be submitted to the committee two weeks prior to the exam date.

The Comprehensive Exam is intended to be a scholarly moment of deep reflection for students, both on their graduate training to that point and on their scholarly future. The two-hour exam is thus divided roughly in half with the first looking backward on the training leading up to the defense and the second looking forward at the student’s future scholarly plans. To start the exam, the student will provide a roughly ten-minute oral presentation on their scholarly discovery and evolution of their chosen dissertation topic. With this larger overview in place, the first portion of the exam requires a thoughtfully curated electronic portfolio and annotated bibliographies of supplemental reading lists agreed upon by the student and committee members. The second portion of the exam requires a dissertation prospectus.

Oral Presentation

The purpose of this ten-minute presentation is to provide a clear and connecting narrative for committee members between the portfolio contents, the annotated bibliographies and the dissertation prospectus. Students may speak from prepared remarks, with visual aids, or off the cuff. This presentation should show a strong sense of scholarly self-awareness about the student’s development, how they engage with existing scholarship and trends, and why their area of concentration and theoretical and methodological approaches are well-suited to their research questions. Students should demonstrate their intellectual independence as scholars, as is appropriate for this stage of their intellectual development, position themselves in the literature and field, and in conversation with specific texts and scholars that they are able to list and reference orally.

Electronic Portfolio

The electronic portfolio consists of selections from major written work completed since beginning the WGSS doctoral program, and must include the following components:

  • a 100-200 word introduction to the materials included
  • 2-page CV
  • 3 seminar papers of their choice (with instructor comments if available)
  • 1- 3 syllabi of their choice

Optional items to include

  • up to 3 conference papers
  • up to 3 proposals for scholarly funding or publication.

The purpose of the portfolio is to allow the student to reflect upon their growth as a scholar as well as the development of the research questions that will propel them forward. Students should be able to speak comfortably about how coursework shaped their scholarly perspectives, questions, and outlooks.

Annotated Bibliographies

WGSS is an interdisciplinary field and the program requires an area of concentration that requires students to think about their chosen areas of expertise dynamically and from multiple perspectives. The annotated bibliographies are designed to further ground the student in these interdisciplinary roots. Working with the dissertation adviser, the graduate student will identify three areas of more directed and specialized readings required before embarking upon the dissertation. This will also be the basis for choosing the full committee. These areas are designed to help bridge multiple fields of research (connecting multiple concentrations, methods, theories, etc.) that will be deployed in the dissertation. The student, dissertation adviser and other relevant committee member(s) will then complete a contract for each bibliography that lists the scholarship required. Each of the three annotated bibliographies should not consist of more than 20 texts. These contracts must be agreed upon and signed by the student, committee member, and adviser at least 4 months ahead of the anticipated Comprehensive Exam and turned in to the WGSS Graduate Advisor. Students must then read the agreed upon texts and prepare annotated bibliographies for each list. Each text annotation should be roughly one paragraph. Each list should be annotated in a single Word document and shared with the full committee at least two weeks before the scheduled Exam. Students should come to the exam prepared to discuss the bibliographies both in depth with the committee member that holds the most relevant expertise and more generally for committee members more far afield from the list’s topic. This process is meant to foster mastery of scholarly topics while also taking full advantage of interdisciplinary committees to best prepare students for strong and engaging scholarship.

Annotated Bibliography Contracts

Relevant Policy: The student, dissertation adviser and other relevant committee member(s) will complete a contract for each bibliography that lists the scholarship required. Each of the three annotated bibliographies should not consist of more than 20 texts. These contracts must be agreed upon and signed by the student, committee member, and adviser (or granted e-mail approval in a single chain sent to the Graduate Program Coordinator) at least 4 months ahead of the anticipated Comprehensive Exam and turned in to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Contract language and submission: Contracts should come in the form of an email chain that includes approval from the student, committee member, and adviser and has an attached list of texts to be annotated that is sent to the Graduate Program Coordinator. If all parties on the on the e-mail state that they approve of the list, then it will be assumed that there are no objections.

Purpose of this process: We want students, committee members, and advisers to have clear expectations of material that will be covered by the exam. We also want to make sure that the student is expected to complete a reasonable amount of reading in preparation for the exam. If there are disagreements about list length or make-up this policy should alert all parties before the exam and provide time to rectify these discrepancies before an exam is administered.

Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus should be 15-20 pages plus bibliography and a 150-word abstract. It should clearly state the topic of the proposed research, what questions and problems the work proposes to address and answer, and how the proposed work develops, challenges, or departs from past research. The prospectus should also demonstrate that the student has a sufficient and critical command of the scholarly literature and the present state of the field. It should make clear what languages, methodologies, and theories the student will use when examining and analyzing sources, and where or how these sources are collected. An outline of chapters should provide some sense of the work's overall plan and structure. A schedule in the prospectus should estimate how much time the various aspects of research, writing, and revision will take. Proposals vary depending on the chosen methodology, topic, and disciplinary approach. Students should discuss expectations for the proposal - both the writing of it and its purpose after the defense - with their advisor. 

If at any time during the course of producing the dissertation, students want to introduce major modifications to the study outlined in the prospectus, they are required to notify and obtain written approval of the four regular members of the committee, not including the Graduate Studies Representative. It is the student's responsibility to consult with the committee to clarify ambiguities or conflicts that might arise. Copies of correspondence pertaining to such changes should be placed on file in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies office by emailing wgss@ku.edu.

Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

After passing the comprehensive oral examination, the Office of Graduate Studies requires that doctoral candidates must be continuously enrolled in at least six hours each fall or spring semester, including at least one dissertation hour, until 18 hours have been completed or until graduation, whichever comes first. After the 18 hours are completed, the student must enroll in at least one dissertation hour per semester until all requirements for the degree are met. Post-comprehensive enrollment may include enrollment during the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive oral examination has been passed provided that the exam is taken before the first day of the term’s final exam period.

Post-comprehensive students are not required by the Office of Graduate Studies to enroll during summer session. Doctoral students should consult with their advisors and departmental graduate staff to determine whether any other policies require them to enroll during the summer.

The Final Drafts of the Dissertation

The final draft of the dissertation must be submitted to each committee member at least four weeks prior to the time scheduled for its oral defense. Students should consult the Graduate Program Coordinator to ensure that the date of the dissertation defense occurs before the deadline established for each semester by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Final Defense

A final examination on the dissertation is required by the Office of Graduate Studies.

When a student has selected their committee, they should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator to begin the defense scheduling process. The Graduate Program Coordinator will communicate on behalf of the student to schedule the defense, reserve a room, and complete pre-approval paperwork prior to the exam. The dissertation defense scheduling process should begin no later than two months prior to the earliest possible defense date.

The student should send the final draft of their dissertation to each committee member via email (or in hard copy by request) at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date of the dissertation defense to enable committee members to examine it fully. The grade (satisfactory, honors, or unsatisfactory) for the defense is determined by majority vote of the five-member dissertation committee (the members of the dissertation committee plus a Graduate Faculty member who is recommended by the dissertation committee chair and/or the department and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies).

Graduate Certificate Requirements

Admission to the Graduate Certificate Program

Applications to the graduate certificate program can be submitted via the online application.

Current KU graduate students should include the following materials in their application to the certificate program:

  • A letter stating their interest in the WGSS Graduate Certificate (limit 1 page single spaced)
    • The applicant should address why the WGSS Graduate Certificate is relevant for the student, including for example how the course work and approaches would be relevant for the student’s career goals, theoretical development, methodological training, or scholarly aspirations
  • A current KU advising report
  • A letter of good standing from their advisor in their home academic department (limit 1 page single spaced)
    • The advisor should give a brief approval for the applicant to take on the additional coursework required for the WGSS Graduate Certificate
    • The advisor should address why this specific coursework for the WGSS Graduate Certificate is relevant to the student’s academic and/or professional goals

Applicants who are not enrolled in a KU graduate program must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA. These applicants should include the following materials in their application to the certificate program:

  • A letter stating their interest in the WGSS Graduate Certificate
  • A copy of an official transcript from all colleges or universities attended
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with their academic work or potential for graduate study

Note: Applicants will enter names and email addresses of their references within the application. References will be prompted via email to complete their recommendation online. Applicants can submit their application before the references have completed their recommendations.

Graduate Certificate Course Requirements

The graduate certificate requires completion of 12 credit hours of graduate work:

  • Two of the following three courses:
    • WGSS 800: History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (3)
    • WGSS 801: Feminist Theory (3) (can be substituted with alternate WGSS theory course)
    • WGSS 802: Feminist Methodologies (3)
  • Two 3-hour elective courses related to gender or sexuality
    • All graduate level courses within WGSS (700 level or above) are eligible to count as elective courses for the certificate.
    • Students wishing to count a graduate level course from another department should seek prior approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Certificate Advising

All students in the graduate certificate program will be advised by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Graduate Certificate Enrollment

Graduate certificate students will receive an email from the Graduate Program Coordinator when enrollment opens for the upcoming semester with instructions and reminders regarding enrollment. Graduate certificate students should request permission numbers for core courses in WGSS no later than two weeks after enrollment opens to ensure they are able to enroll in the appropriate courses. After this time, graduate certificate students can still request a permission number, but core courses will be open to students outside the WGSS department as well.

University Policies & Degree Requirements

This section contains information on requirements and policies of the Office of Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, both hereafter referred to as “the University”. It is not a complete list of all policies pertaining to graduate students. Only those policies that most commonly affect graduate students are included.

Policies are described in general terms and are intended to help students understand what is expected. They do not reflect the exact language of the official policy and should not be confused with official policy. Specific information and restrictions as well as links to relevant forms may be accessed by clicking on the policy headings. Links to the official policies in the KU policy library are found at the bottom of each policy description. Students are accountable to and should familiarize themselves with the University's official policies.

General Policies

The following University policies apply to ALL graduate students regardless of degree, program, or department.  These are minimum general requirements. Your department or program may have more restrictive policies in any of these areas.


Degree or non-degree seeking applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (as evidence by an official transcript from the institution the degree was obtained) and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the most recent degree that was obtained.  

Students* not meeting these requirements may be admitted provisionally upon recommendation by the department; however, restrictions on certain type of funding, including GTA/GRA/GA funding, apply to students on provisional admission status. Students should consult the program admissions advisor or Director of Graduate Study (DGS) on their eligibility for funding with admission.

*By Federal regulation, International students seeking F-1 status must meet the standards of Regular Admission. Provisional admission is not sufficient to issue the Form I-20.

Related Policies and Forms:

English Proficiency Requirements

The University requires all applicants, international or domestic, to demonstrate English proficiency for admission to any graduate program at KU. There are three ways to prove English proficiency:

  • Declaration of native speaker status on the online application for graduate study.
  • Graduation with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) earned in residence from an accredited English-medium U.S. college or university or a college or university in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, English-speaking province of Canada, or an English-speaking Caribbean country, with instruction conducted in English. Degrees earned online may not be used to verify English proficiency. Note: this option is not sufficient for employment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.
  • Official scores from an English proficiency standardized test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS-Academic, or PTE), sent by the testing agency to the University of Kansas. Official scores must be less than two years old.

Applicants that do not meet the minimum scores should review the English Proficiency Chart, provided via the link above, for information about provisional admission and petition processes based on exceptional circumstances.

Applicants should submit their scores directly to the Office of Graduate Studies:

Graduate Admissions

University of Kansas

1502 Iowa St.

Lawrence, KS 66045 

Official test scores

Any applicable GRE or TOEFL test scores should be sent by ETS to KU's institution code 6871.

Related Policies and Forms:


 For graduate students in the College, advising on enrollment and course selection take place at the department level.While units within the College may define full-time enrollment more stringently, the University defines it as follows:

Fall and Spring semesters:

  • Enrollment in 9 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s). *See Doctoral post-comprehensive enrollment.

Summer sessions:

  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s).

Graduate students are not normally permitted to enroll for more than 16 hours a semester or more than 8 hours in summer session.

While these are KU’s definitions of full-time enrollment, other institutions may have different definitions. Be sure to consult with your financial aid and/or health insurance providers before making enrollment decisions.

Student not enrolled by 11:59pm the day before the first day of classes will be assessed a late enrollment fee. The University Registrar then deactivates the KU ID of any not enrolled by the last Friday in October (for Fall) or last Friday in April (for Spring). Students who wish to enroll after that must pay a fee to be reactivated.

Students who wish to leave their graduate program should inform the department of such plans in writing so that a Voluntary Withdrawal form may be submitted on their behalf. 

Deadlines for adding, changing, dropping, or withdrawing from courses entirely, as well any fines associated with the change, are set by the University. Deadlines vary from year to year. Students should carefully review the current Academic Calendar.

You may also wish to consult the Registrar's page on Effects of Dropping or Withdrawing on your Transcript.

Related Policies:

Graduate Credit (Including Transfer Credit)

The Office of Graduate Studies policy on Graduate Credit defines KU’s conditions for the following:

  • Definition of graduate credit for the purposes of a course “counting” towards a graduate degree or graduate certificate at KU;
  • Transfer of graduate credit to KU from an outside institution;
  • Reduction in the required number of graduate hours for Master’s students;
  • Counting credit hours taken as non-degree seeking student towards a later graduate degree at KU;
  • Counting credit hours taken as a certificate seeking student toward another graduate degree.

Transfer Credit

The transfer credit option allows master’s students to count graduate-level coursework completed at another institution toward their KU degree. Restrictions apply to what non-KU graduate courses and the number of credit hours that can be counted toward a KU master’s degree, so students should carefully review the information provided in the link above and the related policies below, as well as consulting with their DGS. In all cases, transfer credit must first be approved at the department of program level. To begin the transfer process, students should consult with their DGS to submit the required transfer materials. These include a transcript reflecting the courses to be transferred and descriptions and/or syllabi for the courses in question.

No transfer of credits is allowed for the Ph.D. In circumstances where students enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from another intuition or relevant graduate coursework, it may be possible for students to request a reduction in the number of hours required for the Ph.D. Students should consult with their DGS about their enrollment plan.

Reduced Credit Hour Degree

Kansas Board of Regents policy defines 30 hours as the minimum for master's degrees at KU. Departments may petition for a reduced hour degree Master's degree for individual students. A reduction in hours is distinct from a transfer of credit and is reserved for those students especially well-prepared to complete a graduate-level degree and able to maintain a superior grade point average. Reduced credit hour degrees are also distinct from transfer credit in that they may be based on non-coursework (e.g. internships, work experience, study abroad, previously completed degrees, etc.) and there are no modifications on the transcript.

Restrictions apply to the number of credit hours that can be reduced for a master’s degree, so students should carefully review the information provided in the link above and the related policies below.

In all cases, a reduction in hours must first be approved at the department or program level, so to begin the process for approval, students should consult with their DGS.

Because there is no minimum number of required hours for the Ph.D., reduction of required hours based on prior degrees or experience is determined solely at the program level. Doctoral students should consult with their DGS about their enrollment plan.

Count Toward Degree

The Count Toward Degree form is an Office of the Registrar Form that allows graduate credit hours taken at KU as a non-degree seeking student to count towards a later degree at KU.

As with transfer credit and reduced hour degrees, restrictions apply, so students should carefully review the information in the link above and the related policies below, and consult with their DGS.

Related Policies:

Credit/No Credit

The University supports and encourages interdisciplinary study, which may include graduate students enrolling in coursework at the graduate level that is outside of their primary discipline. The Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) is an option for graduate students who are taking a course that is not required for their degree or certificate and who do not wish to have the course grade reflected in their overall graduate GPA. Rather than a grade appearing on the transcript, the student receives a designation of CR or NC, which does not factor in the GPA.

No course graded CR/NC will count toward the satisfaction of any graduate degree or certificate requirement. This includes, but is not limited to, courses taken to fulfill the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement for doctoral students.

If a student elects to take the CR/NC option, they must make this election during the CR/NC time frame, which can be found in the Registrar's current Academic Calendar. This period typically begins after the last day to add a class and extends for approximately two weeks. This process must be initiated in the COGA office.

The student should consult with their own program advisor about the appropriateness of the course prior to enrolling. In cases where CR/NC is elected, the course instructor is not informed of the election unless the student chooses to share this information.

Additional restrictions apply. Students should carefully review the information in the link above.

Related Policies and Forms:

Probation & Dismissal

Probation is an academic status that can be assigned to a graduate student if they are not making satisfactory progress toward completing their degree. The department initiates the probation process and will inform the student what they must do to return to good standing.

Students are most commonly placed on probation if their graduate cumulative GPA drops below a B average (3.0 on a 4.0 scale). In these cases, probation occurs automatically and is reflected on the student’s record for the semester following the semester in which the student’s GPA drops below 3.0. If the student’s overall graduate average is raised to 3.0 by the end of the probationary semester, the student will be automatically returned to good academic standing.

Students may also be placed on probation by their departments for other reasons that constituting a failure to make satisfactory progress towards degree. These may include, but are not limited to; failure to make adequate progress on a thesis or dissertation, unacceptable academic performance on program components outside of coursework (e.g. exams), an unsatisfactory result in their department’s annual evaluation, or as a result of going beyond their official time to degree. Students should carefully review the Good Academic Standing policy for graduate students at KU for more information on what constitutes making satisfactory academic progress.

Individual programs may also have additional measures of progress. Students should also consult the Annual Review section of their department graduate handbook and with their program advisor for more information.

If a student is unable to raise their GPA or otherwise meet departmental expectations for adequate academic progress by the end of the probationary period, they may be dismissed from the graduate program. Once dismissed, a student will no longer be able to be enrolled in coursework and cannot complete their degree. Students dismissed from any College graduate program may not be admitted to any other graduate programs in the College. 

A student on probation or facing dismissal should discuss their status with their advisor.

Related Policies:


The Office of Graduate Studies' Grading policy governs requirements for the grading of graduate students above those described in Article II of the University Senate Rules and Regulations. Additionally, individual schools, departments, or programs may have grading policies that are more stringent than those of Graduate Studies. Students should review the College-specific grading information and consult their adviser and the departmental section of this handbook for additional information that may affect them.

At minimum, for all graduate students at KU, at least a B average is required on course work counted toward any of the master's degrees at KU, and only courses graded A, B, or C (excluding C-) may be counted. Course work counted toward a doctorate, including that for a master's degree if obtained at KU, should average better than a B.

Additional information pertaining to graduate grading can be found on COGA's pages for Retroactive Withdrawal, Incomplete Grades, and Graduate GPA. The Registrar’s Office’s also offers information on the Credit/No Credit option.

Related Policies:

Time limits

The University expects that master’s degree should typically be completed in two (2) years of full-time study, the doctorate degree in five (5) years of study, and both the master’s and doctorate together in six-seven (6-7) years of study.

Students who anticipate exceeding these targets should review the information in the link above and in the policies below, as well as consult with their program advisor to create a timeline for degree completion. In order to support this process, COGA offers DGSs and advisors a Mentoring Agreement Template to use and/or adapt to their own needs. The template may be used with students in danger of going beyond the program’s expected time limits, or simply as an advising tool for all their students. It is especially useful for doctoral students in the dissertation phase.

Related Policies and Forms

Leaves of Absence

In exceptional circumstances (e.g. cases of illness, emergency, financial hardship, military leave, to pursue family responsibilities, or to pursue full-time activities related to long-range professional goals) it may be necessary for graduate students to take a break from their program temporarily, without having to withdraw entirely from the program. An approved leave of absence allows a student to take a temporary break from enrolling in graduate coursework while remaining in good standing with the University and the department and while “stopping the clock” on their time to degree.

Requesting a Leave of Absence is done via a University petition. University petitions must first be approved and supported at the program level, so students wishing to initiate the petition process should first consult with their Director of Graduate Studies and review their department’s internal petition procedures. Units or the Director of Graduate Study may request documentation to support the student’s need for a leave of absence; however, the only document that COGA requires for the petition is the Leave of Absence Petition form, linked below.

Students on Leave of Absence are automatically reactivated after their leave is over and are eligible to enroll for their intended semester back during the normal enrollment periods. See the KU Academic Calendar for exact dates that enrollment begins.

If at any time plans change and a student wishes to return and enroll before leave was supposed to end they may contact their department to be reactivated early.

Related Policies and Forms:

Oral Exams

All graduate students must complete one or more exams as part of their degree requirements. In addition to department or program guidelines, the University has several policies pertaining to the following exams:

  • Master's Exam/Thesis Defense for Master's degree
  • Doctoral Comprehensive Oral Exam
  • Doctoral Final Exam/Dissertation Defense

Before a student is allowed to sit for any of these three exams, pre-approval from COGA is required. COGA checks to ensure that the student has fulfilled certain University requirements. The full list of requirements that COGA checks for may be found via the link in the heading above. Students should work with their departments well in advance of their planned exam date, to schedule their exams in a timely fashion and to ensure that all University policies relating to oral exams are being followed.

In many cases, programs may have additional exams, such as a written pre-qualifying exam. Exam pre-approval by COGA applies ONLY to the oral portions of the three exams listed above.

The following are University policies pertaining to these oral exams:

Oral Exam Committee Composition

For all oral exams, the committee members must be appointed members of the Graduate Faculty of KU In addition, a majority of committee members serving on a graduate student oral examination committee must be tenured/tenure-track faculty holding regular graduate faculty or, in the case of doctoral committees, dissertation faculty status in the candidate’s department/program of study.

Many additional restrictions apply, especially for doctoral exam committees. Master’s and doctoral students should carefully review the University policies pertaining to exams, as well as consult with their Director of Graduate Studies when forming an exam committee.

Oral Exam Attendance (Physical Presence)

The Oral Exam Attendance policy describes rules for physical versus mediated attendance (e.g. Skype or phone) at oral exams.

In all cases, a majority of committee members must be physically present with the student for an exam to commence. Both the chair and outside member (for doctoral exams) must form part of this majority. In cases where the student prefers that all committee members are physically present, the student's preference shall be honored.

Master’s and doctoral students should carefully review the policies below, as well as consult with their Director of Graduate Studies in the formation of an oral exam committee.

Related Policies and Forms:

Doctoral Degree Requirements

In addition to the student’s individual Ph.D. program’s degree requirements, the following are University requirements for graduation with a Ph.D. at KU.

Residency Requirement

Two semesters, which may include one summer session, must be spent in full-time resident study at the University of Kansas. During this period of residence, full­time involvement in academic or professional pursuits may include an appointment for teaching or research if the teaching/research is directed specifically toward the student's degree objectives.

Related Policies and Forms:

Continuous Enrollment for Post-Comprehensive Students

During the semester in which the comprehensive exam is completed and each Fall and Spring semester follows, doctoral candidates must enroll in at least 6 credit hours per semester until all requirements for the degree are completed OR until 18 post-comprehensive hours have been completed, whichever comes first. At least one of these credit hours each semester must be a dissertation hour (or an approved dissertation equivalent).

During the semester in which the student will complete this requirement, enrollment may be dropped to only the number of hours required to complete the 18. For example, if a student is entering the Fall semester having completed 15 post-comprehensive hours, they need only enroll in 3 credit hours.

After fulfilling the post-comprehensive enrollment requirement, enrollment may be reduced to as little as 1 dissertation hour per semester or summer session up to and including the semester of graduation.

Students are strongly advised to closely review the University regulations on continuous enrollment for post-comprehensive students (found in the above heading or the policy links below). Failure to properly comply with the policy could result in additional enrollment requirements and tuition expense near the end of your degree program.

Post-comprehensive enrollment requirements also apply to students with GTA/GRA/GA appointments, but these students must be certified to drop their enrollment levels. Departments are responsible for tracking student enrollment and submitting the certification form on the student's behalf through the Progress to Degree (PTD) system at least two weeks prior tothe beginning of the semester in which the enrollment will drop below 6 hours. Students who are certified to reduce hours continue to meet the University's definition of full time enrollment, as well as the enrollment requirements of their employment contract.

Related Policies and Forms:

Graduate Certificate Requirements

The University offers a variety of Approved Graduate Certificate Programs to encourage current graduate students to pursue interdisciplinary study. Certificate programs also provide an option for a coherent course of advanced study for those not ready to commit to a full degree program. There are certain restrictions on the timing of admissions to a Graduate Certificate program and the granting of credit for courses completed. Students whose interests or career goals may be served by a Graduate Certificate should familiarize themselves with the University’s policies relating to Certificate programs (found below) early in their graduate career, in addition to individual certificate program requirements.

Related Policies and Forms:

Graduation Requirements (M.A. & Ph.D.)

In addition to all program requirements, students planning to graduate must complete all University graduation requirements prior to the published Graduation Deadline in a given semester. Students should consult the current Academic Calendar for the published Graduation Deadline, which varies by semester.

COGA's graduation checklists contain a comprehensive list of all University requirements for graduation and should be used by every graduating master's or doctoral student in the College:



Submission of the final draft of the thesis or dissertation is done electronically. Students must comply with all University requirements for formatting and electronic submission of the thesis or dissertation. There is no University requirement that students provide a bound or printed copy of the draft.

Students who have concerns or questions about fulfillment of graduation requirements may arrange for a Graduation Appointment with the College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA) following the defense or final exam and in advance of the applicable Application for Graduation deadline. While this appointment is not a requirement, it can be useful to review all degree requirements with a COGA staff member, verify that the Application for Graduation and Thesis/Dissertation submissions have been completed, and receive guidance on any pending items.

Graduate Studies Funding Opportunities

The Office of Graduate Studies offers funding opportunities in several different categories. Students interested in applying should direct inquiries to the department’s Director of Graduate Studies or to the Office of Graduate Studies. Some of the available funding includes:

  • Dissertation Fellowships: intended for doctoral students who have passed their comprehensive examinations; for one academic year, non-renewable.
  • Summer Fellowships: intended primarily for doctoral students.
  • Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund: intended for graduate students presenting a paper at a national or regional meeting of a learned or professional society. A student may receive an award ($500) only once, and funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Doctoral Student Research Fund: Designed to support KU doctoral students who need assistance to carry out research that advances progress toward the degree. Applications for this fund are accepted only for a limited time as funding is available. Students should check the link above for additional information and restrictions.


Appendix A: Program Requirements Checklist

Core Courses (13 credit hours)
WGSS 800: History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (3 hours)
WGSS 801: Feminist Theory (or alternate WGSS theory course) (3 hours)
WGSS 802: Feminist Methods (3 hours)
WGSS 803: Feminist Pedagogy (1.5 hours)
WGSS 804: Topics in Professional Development (1.5 hours)


WGSS Electives (15 credit hours)
Elective 1 (3 hours)
Elective 2 (3 hours)
Elective 3 (3 hours)
Elective 4 (3 hours)
Elective 5 (3 hours)


Concentration (18 credit hours)
Theory (3 hours)
Methodology (3 hours)
Fields (3 hours)
Elective 1 (3 hours)
Elective 2 (3 hours)
Elective 3 (3 hours)


Doctoral Dissertation (18 credit hours)
WGSS 999 (typically at least 18 hours)


Requirements & Milestones
Qualifying Exam (MA Exam)
Portfolio and Professional Essay (Comprehensive Oral Exam)
Dissertation Prospectus Defense
Post-Comprehensive Enrollment
Final Dissertation Defense


Appendix B: Sample Plan of Study Timeline

Year 1: Coursework

Semester 1:

WGSS 800 (3)

WGSS 801 (3)

WGSS Elective (3)

Semester 2:

WGSS 802 (3)

Concentration Theory Course (3)

WGSS 803 (1.5)

Required task this year:think about choosing an advisor


Year 2: Coursework & Qualifying MA Exam

Semester 3:

WGSS Elective (3)

WGSS Elective (3)

Concentration Methodology Course (3)

Semester 4:

WGSS Elective (3)

Concentration Fields Course (3)

WGSS 804 (1.5)

Qualifying MA Exam

Required tasks this year:

identify a faculty member to approach about collaboration

complete qualifying MA exam


Year 3: Coursework & Oral Comprehensive Exam

Semester 5:

WGSS Elective (3)

Concentration Elective (3)

Concentration Elective (3)

Semester 6:

Concentration Elective (3)

WGSS 999 (1-6 hours)

Comprehensive Oral Exam & Dissertation Prospectus

Required tasks this year:

prepare portfolio

prepare professional essay

prepare dissertation prospectus

complete oral comprehensive exam

target a conference to present your research (optional)

apply for a grant (optional)


Year 4: Dissertation Research

Semester 7:

WGSS 999 (1-6 hours)

Semester 8:

WGSS 999 (1-6 hours)

Optional tasks this year:

apply for a grant

network with others in the field


Year 5: Dissertation Research + Job Applications

Semester 7:

WGSS 999 (1 hour)

Semester 8:

WGSS 999 (1 hour)

Dissertation Defense

Required tasks this year:

defend dissertation

target a journal to submit for review (optional)

apply for a grant (optional)

network with others in the field (optional)



Appendix C: Doctoral Learner Outcome Dissertation Rubric

Graduate Studies implemented the use of Doctoral Learner Outcome Rubrics in Fall 2011 for all students graduating with a PhD. Each Department has their own rubric to evaluate the written dissertation. Students are not made aware of their score, the score does not appear on the student’s record, and the score they receive does not in any way affect their graduation or their overall degree. The scores are intended to be for departmental tracking purposes only.


Appendix D: Core Faculty

  • Katie Batza, Assistant Professor
    • Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago, 2011
    • Research interests: American history, sexuality studies, health and politics, lesbian reproductive technologies, and LGBTQ oral history
  • Hannah Britton, Professor
    • Ph.D., Syracuse University, 1999
    • Research interests: gender and politics, especially in Africa
  • Sarah Deer, Professor
    • Juris Doctor, University of Kansas School of Law, 1999
    • Research interests: intersection of federal Indian law and victims' rights
  • Alesha Doan, Associate Professor
    • Ph.D., Texas A & M University, 2000
    • Research interests: public policy, organizations, and gender/social equity, with a focus on the development, adoption, and implementation of reproductive policies
  • Ayesha Hardison, Associate Professor
    • Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2006
    • Research interests: English Language and Literature: Twentieth-century and twenty-first century African American literature; cultural history and theory; gender and sexuality studies; and critical race theory
  • Charlene Muehlenhard, Professor
    • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1981
    • Research interests: sexual scripts, consent and coercion, the meanings attributed to sex
  • Nicholas Syrett, Professor
    • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Program in American Culture, 2005
    • Research interests: History of women, gender, and sexuality in the 19th- and 20th-century United States; histories of childhood; sex and gender in the law; marriage
  • Akiko Takeyama, Professor
    • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, 2008
    • Research interests: women in contemporary Japan, class, neoliberal globalization
  • Jeanne Vaccaro, Assistant Professor
    • Ph.D., New York University
  • Stacey Vanderhurst, Assistant Professor
    • Ph.D., Brown University, 2014
    • Research interests: anthropology: Nigeria’s counter-trafficking programs; global problems of mobility and sex trafficking
  • Marta Vicente, Associate Professor
    • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
    • Research interests: gender and sexual identities in Spain and colonial Latin America
  • Kim Warren, Associate Professor
    • Ph.D., Stanford University
    • Research interests: history of gender and race in African American and Native American education, Kansas, and the United States
  • Abraham Weil, Assistant Professor
    • Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • Aimee Wilson, Associate Professor
    • Ph.D., Florida State University
    • Research interests: women writers, twentieth-century literature (especially modernism), feminist and queer theory, the history of pregnancy, the relationship between art and politics

Emeritus Faculty

  • Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka, Professor Emerita
    • Ph.D., University of Ife, Nigeria
    • Research interests: gender, nationalism and critical theory in African literature, relationship between African immigrants in the U.S. and African Americans, immigration, exile and writing, African women immigrants
  • Ann Schofield, Professor Emerita
    • Ph.D., SUNY, Binghamton, 1980
    • Research interests: U.S. women’s history, U.S. social and cultural history, biographical narratives, gender, and work


Appendix E: Courtesy Faculty

  • Cecile Accilien (African & African-American Studies)
  • Giselle Anatol (English)
  • Benjamin Chappell (American Studies)
  • Donald Haider-Markel (Political Science)
  • Megha Ramaswamy (Preventative Medicine & Public Health)
  • Dave Tell (Communication Studies)
  • Sherrie Tucker (American Studies)


Appendix F: Affiliated Faculty

  • Albin, Tami(KU Libraries) – LGBTQ issues, gender identity, narratives
  • Albrecht, Sandra (Sociology) – work and gender
  • Ballard, Barbara (Dole Institute, Associate Director for Outreach, KS State Representative)
  • Bayer, Margaret (Mathematics) – combinatorics and geometry
  • Bejarano, Christina (Political Science) – American politics, Latino politics, women and politics, and minority political behavior
  • Biernat, Monica (Psychology) – stereotyping and prejudice, the self
  • Boussofara, Naima (African and African American Studies) – linguistic choices and linguistic ideologies in political and media discourse of diglossic and bilingual Arabic- speaking communities
  • Caminero-Santangelo, Marta (English) – U.S. Latino/a literature, 20th-century American women's writing, feminist theory, 20th-century American literature, and African-American literature
  • Carlson, Juliana (Social Welfare, Center for Children & Families)
  • Chernetsky, Vitaly (Slavic Languages & Literatures) – Russian literature & culture, Ukrainian literature & culture, literary theory, Soviet film and Russian & European science fiction
  • Childs, Maggie (East Asian Languages and Cultures) – pre-modern Japanese literature, Japanese language teaching
  • Chong, Kelly H. (Sociology) – gender, race and ethnicity, East Asian studies, and social theory
  • Conrad, Kathryn (English – 20th-century British, Irish, and Northern Irish literature and culture; sexuality; visual culture
  • Crandall, Chris (Psychology) – prejudice and political psychology
  • Davidman, Lynn (Sociology) – Director of Jewish Studies: Jewish narratives
  • Dvorak, Abby (Music Education) – Music Therapy
  • Earle, Susan (Spencer Art Museum) – European and American art
  • Elliott, Dorice Williams (English) – nineteenth-century British literature and culture; the novel; women's literature and gender studies
  • Fitzgerald, Stephanie (English) – American Indian and world indigenous literatures,
  • American ethnic literature, American literature
  • Forth, Christopher (Humanities and Western Civilization; History) – masculinity studies
  • Gerschultz, Jessica (African & African-American Studies) – Modern & Contemporary Art in Africa & Middle East
  • Ginther, Donna (Economics) – labor economics, economic demography, and applied econometrics
  • Graham, Maryemma (English) – vernacular theories, history of the book, women's writings, African-American and American literature, literary history, autobiography, and biographical criticism
  • Harris, Susan K. (English) – American women writers, Mark Twain, 19th-century American literature and culture, early 20th-century American literature, historical and cultural criticism, biography, immigrant literature, and American regionalism
  • Hines, Laura (Law School) – class action litigation
  • Jewers, Caroline (French and Italian) – Medieval French literature
  • Kerr, Barbara (Psychology & Research in Education) – human development, positive psychology, counseling of gifted and creative people, gender issues in counseling
  • Kessler, Marni (Art History) – 19th-century European art and visual culture, theory and methodology, critical theory, fashion studies, and gender and visual representation
  • Kunkel, Adrianne (Communication Studies) – communication and gender, interpersonal communication, and small group communication
  • Kuznesof, Elizabeth (Latin American Studies) – colonial Latin American social and family history, colonial Brazil, and slavery
  • MacGonagle, Elizabeth (History) – Identity formation in African and Diasporan settings
  • Metz, Brent (Anthropology) – life and the politics of identity in eastern Guatemala and western Honduras
  • Mihesua, Devon (Global Indigenous Nations) – decolonization strategies, creating writing
  • Messinger, Lori (Social Welfare) – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues
  • Nagel, Joane P. (Sociology) – race, ethnicity, nationalism, sexuality, culture, social movements, and comparative-historical
  • Najafizadeh, Mehrangiz, (Sociology) – Third World and Eurasia, gender, culture, and socio-political change
  • Neill, Anna (English) – 18th- and 19th-century British; discovery literature; Victorian literature and evolutionary science.
  • Paceley, Megan (Social Welfare) – evaluation of gender and sexual minority communities
  • Patterson, Meagan (Psychology & Research in Education) – intergroup attitudes; identity and self-concept; academic motivation and achievement
  • Pennington, Dorthy (Communication Studies) – intercultural communication, human relations, and public address, labor rhetoric
  • Peterson, Jean (Social Welfare) – social work theory and practice with special interest in issues connected to sexual orientation and women
  • Portillo, Shannon (Public Affairs & Administration) – social equity, organizational theory & legal mobilization
  • Preston, Catherine (Film & Media Studies)
  • Rabasa, Magali (Spanish & Portuguese) – Latin America Cultural Studies, transnational feminist theory
  • Rhine, Kathryn (Anthropology) – sociocultural anthropology
  • Rice, Suzanne (Curriculum & Teaching) – women and work in education
  • Ringer, Delores (Theatre) – scenography, plays for, about and by women
  • Rose-Mockry, Katherine (Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity) – women and education
  • Scioli, Emma (Classics) – Latin poetry, dreams and sleep in antiquity, and Roman art and gender
  • Sethi, P. Simran (Journalism) – ecology and sustainability
  • Severson, Margaret (Social Welfare) – mental health and suicide prevention programming in
  • detention centers, divorce and child custody mediation, restorative justice
  • Spiridigliozzi, Erin (CLAS – Assistant Dean for Faculty and Staff Affairs)
  • Sprague, Joey (Sociology) – sex and gender, cultural sociology, and social theory
  • Taylor, Edith (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) – fossil tree ring growth and paleoclimate interpretation
  • Twarog, Barbara (Astronomy/Astrophysics)
  • Twombly, Susan (Education, Leadership & Policy Studies) – women and education
  • Uchiyama, Benjamin (History) – Modern Japan
  • Unruh, Vicky (Spanish & Portuguese) – 19th to modern literary and intellectual culture of Spanish
  • America, narrative, theatre, and performance
  • Vasquez, Jessica (Sociology) – race/ethnicity, Mexican Americans/Latinos, family, identity & culture
  • Weis, Andrea (Applied English Center) – women, gender, Germany
  • Xiao, Hui "Faye" (East Asian Languages & Cultures) – modern and contemporary Chinese literature and film, women and the law
  • Younger, John G. (Classics) – ancient Greece & Rome, queer theory and identity (modern and ancient)
  • Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra (Humanities & Western Civilization) – religious experience & popular religion with Christian traditions
  • Zimmerman, Mary K. (Health Policy and Management) – gender, medical sociology, and methodology


Appendix G: Approved Concentration Courses

African and African-American Studies

  • AAAS 598 Sexuality and Gender in African History
  • AAAS 560 Race, Gender, and Post-colonial Discourses
  • AAAS 602 U.S. Policy Post-colonial World
  • AAAS 662 Gender and Politics in Africa
  • AAAS 667 Gender in Islam and Society
  • AAAS 700 Africa in World Politics

American Studies

  • AMS 801 Introduction to American Studies
  • AMS 802 Theorizing America
  • AMS 803 Research Methods in American Studies
  • AMS 804 Research Seminar
  • AMS 800-900 Seminars
  • AMS 998 Seminar in _____________


  • Method (3 hours minimum)
    • ANTH 783: Doing Ethnography
  • Theory (3 hours minimum)
    • ANTH 701: History of Anthropology
    • ANTH 702: Current Archaeology
    • ANTH 703: Current Biological Anthropology
    • ANTH 704: Current Cultural Anthropology
  • Electives (12 hours minimum)
    • ANTH 501/779: Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology:             
    • ANTH 562: Mexamerica
    • ANTH 563: Cultural Diversity in the United States
    • ANTH 565: Popular Images in Japanese Culture, Literatures, and Films
    • ANTH/WGSS 580: Feminism and Anthropology
    • ANTH/WGSS 583: Love, Sex, and Globalization
    • ANTH 670: Contemporary American Culture
    • ANTH 672: Meat and Drink in America
    • ANTH 754: Contemporary Health Issues in Africa
    • ANTH 761: Introduction to Medical Anthropology
    • ANTH 775: Seminar in Cultural Anthropology
    • ANTH 778: Seminar in Applied Cultural Anthropology
    • ANTH 785: Topics in Ethnography:
    • ANTH 789: Anthropology of Gender
    • ANTH 880: Advanced Feminist Anthropology


  • 1 (3 hour) theory/methods course (ENGL 707, 708, 709, 780, 800)
  • 1 seminar (3 hour) number 900 or above, with theoretical component(s)
  • 4 electives (12 hours) at the 700 level or above

Film & Media Studies

  • FMS 530 African Film and Video
  • FMS 630 International Women Filmmakers
  • FMS 800 Introduction to Graduate Study in Film and Media Studies
  • FMS 865 Contemporary Film and Media Theory
  • FMS 885 Latin American Film
  • FMS 886 Asian Film


  • HIST 805 Historical Methodology
  • HIST 891 Colloquium in American History, 1800-1900
  • HIST 892 Colloquium in American History,       1900-present
  • HIST 896 Colloquium in U.S. Women’s History
  • HIST 897 Comparative Colloquium in Women's History
  • HIST 962 Seminar in American History
  • HIST 973 Seminar in United States Women's History

History of Art

  • Required Courses
    • HA 719 Art History Theory and Practice
  • Electives, depending on the student’s prior preparation; for example,
    • HA 715 Seminar in African Art
    • HA 745 Dutch and Flemish Painting of the 17th Century
    • HA 727 Medieval Spanish Art
    • HA 805 Seminar in Graphic Arts
    • HA 820 Seminar in European Art

Political Science

  • 3 hours in methods, for example:
    • POLS 705 Research Design for Political Science (prerequisite; or WGSS equivalent)
    • POLS 706 Statistical Research Methods
    • POLS 708 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • 3 hours in a field seminar, for example:
    • POLS 701 Political Theory
    • POLS 720 Public Policy
    • POLS 810 American Politics
    • POLS 850 Comparative Politics
    • POLS 870 International Relations
    • POLS 878 Conducting and Analyzing Fieldwork in Developing Countries
  • 12 hours of field courses (at least 4 courses at or above the 700 level)


  • two statistics classes (6-8 hours):
    • PSYC 790 Statistical Methods in Psychology I (4 hours)
    • PSYC 791 Statistical Methods Psychology II (4 hours)
    • or the equivalent (e.g., PRE 904 Regression Analysis (3), and PRE 811 Statistical Methods II (3)
  • one research methods class (3 hours) examples could include:
    • PSYC 815 Design and Analysis for Developmental Research (3)
    • PSYC 818 Experimental Research Methods Social Psychology (3)
    • PSYC 968 Research Methods Clinical Psychology (3)
  • three elective courses (9 hours): three PSYC courses at the 500 level or above (not including clinical assessment courses or practicum courses)


  • SOC 722 Sociology of Gender
  • SOC 760 Social Inequality
  • SOC 803 Issues in Contemporary Theory
  • SOC 806 Feminist Theories    
  • SOC 811 Sociological Research
  • SOC 814 Health Services Research: Epidemiology, Evaluation and Survey Methods
  • SOC 824 Health and Social Behavior


  • THTR 800 Introduction to Graduate Study in Theatre
  • THTR 702 Graduate Seminar in: Theatre Historiography, or in: Theory and Criticism
  • THTR 527 Asian Theatre
  • THTR 528 History of American Theatre and Drama
  • THTR 529 Race and the American Theatre
  • THTR 626 Myth and the Dramatist
  • THTR 725 Russian Theatre and Drama
  • THTR 826 Seminar in African Theatre
  • THTR 828 or 829 Seminar in American Theatre and Drama


Certification for Teaching and/or Production in Theatre: Since doctoral graduates in Theatre are trained to teach theatre courses and/or to work in the production of theatre, a special committee of three faculty (2 from Theatre and 1 from WGSS) will ascertain the competency of the WGSS doctoral student to teach theatre courses and/or to work in theatre production as an artist or research scholar.

Appendix H: WGSS Elective Courses

This is a list of courses that fulfill the electives requirement. This is not an exhaustive list. For questions about individual courses, contact the Director of Graduate Studies.


WGSS 701: Seminar in: _____, 3 Credits

A research seminar in women's studies. Instructor and topic will vary.


WGSS 710: History of American Sexuality, 3 Credits

This graduate seminar examines the history and significance of sexuality in American history from colonial times to the present. It will employ gender as an analytic category to explore the lived experiences of both men and women, as well as to question the formation of economic, political, and social institutions. Of necessity the class will examine the ways in which race, class, religion, and region, affect ideas about sexuality and its practice. Subjects will include abortion, contraception, prostitution, illegitimacy, homosexuality, rape, marriage, and the "sexual revolution." Prerequisite: Graduate standing.


WGSS 711: Feminist Jurisprudence, 3 Credits

This seminar examines the role of law in perpetuating and remedying inequities against women. After studying the historical emergence of sexual equality law in the United States, we discuss several paradigmatic feminist legal theories, including formal equality, MacKinnon's "dominance" theory, relational/cultural feminism, intersectionality and queer theory. We then proceed to apply these analytical structures to various substantive areas of law of particular concern to women, including but not limited to pregnancy, sexual assault, domestic violence, and employment discrimination. Students will also present their own research to the class.


WGSS 713: The Politics of Marriage, 3 Credits

This course focuses on the history and contemporary politics of the institution of marriage, concentrating primarily on the US context, but with exploration of marriage in other countries as well. We will consider how the law regulates marriage as well as the lived reality of marriage for the couples who enter it. Topics include romance, engagement, gender roles in marriage, divorce, child marriage, arranged marriage, same-sex marriage, and polygamy. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.


WGSS 714: Politics of Human Trafficking, 3 Credits

This course examines the politics of human trafficking-both labor and sex trafficking-using an interdisciplinary approach. We begin by understanding how contemporary modern-day trafficking is operating and how it is defined by various groups. We study texts by social scientists, humanists, and journalists working in the field to get a more comprehensive picture of trafficking today. We also examine some of the key policies internationally, comparatively, and domestically that address human trafficking. Human trafficking has been one of the most non-partisan issues we have seen in the past several decades. Yet, the current movement to end trafficking also has deep chasms and ideological divisions. Using critical approaches, we will examine the limitations of many of the anti-trafficking movements and initiatives operating globally and work to understand how the framing of this issue can have a significant impact on the prevention of exploitation. This course is offered at the 400/500 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in GIST 471, POLS 471, or WGSS 514. (Same as GIST 714 and POLS 714.) Prerequisite: Graduate standing.


WGSS 717: Policing the Womb, 3 Credits

Women's reproductive bodies have at times been made hypervisible, subject to medical, legal, and social surveillance and intervention, while at other times invisible. Across these practices, gender and race have been socially constructed in particularly limited ways, which the state has used to justify restrictive case law rulings and policies governing reproductive outcomes. This course is designed to critically examine the history, development, and outcomes of policies and cultural practices related to reproduction that have limited people's decisional autonomy. This course is offered at the 500 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in WGSS 517.


WGSS 770: Research in Men and Masculinities, 3 Credits

An intensive examination of the history and theory of masculinities in the Western World since the sixteenth century. Students will become acquainted with some of the key theories of men and masculinities, examine in depth the interplay between manhood and modernity, and develop research projects on a topic negotiated with the instructor. May be repeated if content varies sufficiently. (Same as HUM 770.)


WGSS 775: Advanced Study in the Body and Senses, 3 Credits

An intensive examination of the role of the human body in the creation of personal and social identities in the West since the sixteenth century. Emphasis is on understanding how contemporary theories of embodiment are applied to concrete historical or contemporary problems. May be repeated if course content varies sufficiently. (Same as HUM 775.)


WGSS 797: Directed Readings, 1-3 Credits

Directed reading in an area of women's studies in which there is no appropriate course in the offerings of the Women's Studies Program, but in which there is a member of the cooperating graduate faculty competent and willing to direct the program of study.


WGSS 811: Black Feminist Theory, 3 Credits

This course surveys black feminist theory and thought across various disciplines. It examines the critical figures, texts, investments, and debates constituting this evolving discourse, which centers black women's social, political, and cultural praxis as well as considers their intersectional positionalities. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.


WGSS 812: Affect and Queer Theory, 3 Credits

Since the mid-1990s affect has become central to the study of affective labor, anticipatory temporality, and neoliberal biopolitics across the social sciences and humanities. Exploring feminist epistemology of the lived experience, queer theory of nonnormative temporality, and postcolonial studies of the body politic, this course interrogates the interrelation of affect, knowledge, and power in and outside scholarly knowledge production, and rethinks pervasive binaries such as epistemology/ontology, discourse/materiality, and reason/emotion. It will also examine the possibilities and limitations of dominant affect theory and seek methodology to study affect more inclusively and critically.


WGSS 821: Woman and Violence, 3 Credits

An examination of research on women and violence, including rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, stalking, and child sexual abuse. Research on the nature, prevalence, causes, and consequences of violence against women is discussed. (Same as PSYC 821.) Prerequisite: Six hours in WGSS and/or PSYC, or permission of instructor.


WGSS 835: Colloquium in the History of Gender, 3 Credits

This colloquium will cover theoretical and topical readings on the history of manhood, womanhood, and gender systems. (Same as AMS 835 and HIST 895.)


WGSS 889: Conceptual Issues in Human Sexuality, 3 Credits

An examination of the social construction of sexuality and research methods and issues relevant to sexuality. These concepts are applied to various topics, such as defining and conceptualizing sex and gender, sexual dysfunction, sexual orientation, the social control of sexuality, sexual coercion and abuse, and abstinence-only sex education. The course does not cover anatomical or physiological aspects of sexuality. (Same as PSYC 889.) Prerequisite: Six hours in WGSS and/or PSYC, or permission of instructor.


Appendix J: Libraries, Museums, & Other Educational Resources


Campus Libraries and Institutes

The University of Kansas library system, with more than two million volumes, has several libraries of major importance to research in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

  • Watson Library on the Lawrence campus houses the humanities and social science collections. With subscriptions to the major scholarly journals and micro-reproduction series (e.g., The American Periodical Series I and II, 1741-1850, and the History of Women) and its book collection, the library is a major research center in the Midwest. In addition to the standard bibliographic reference services offered to graduate students, the libraries offer computer- assisted information retrieval in such fields as history, sociology, and education.
  • Because the University of Kansas is a Federal Depository Library, Government Documents in the Anschutz Science Library contains copies of the voluminous publications of the federal and state governments, including legislative hearings and reports, studies by executive branch agencies, and extensive economic and demographic data.
  • The Kenneth Spencer Research Library, also located on the main campus, was completed in the fall of 1968. It houses the Department of Special Collections, the University of Kansas Archives, and the Kansas Collection and provides an outstanding environment for graduate research. The Department of Special Collections includes about 160,000 volumes and many thousands of manuscripts in the humanities, the social sciences, and the history of science and technology. In the social sciences, the strongest concentration is in economic history, with significant holdings in radical politics, political theory, and the women’s suffrage movement. The Kansas Collection, concerned with the social, political, cultural, and economic history of Kansas and the surrounding region, includes about 78,000 volumes and about three million manuscript pieces.
  • The Spencer Museum of Art houses the University's Art & Architecture Library, with extensive holdings related to American visual history.
  • The Dole Institute of Politics (http://www.doleinstitute.org/) on the University of Kansas west campus, a non-partisan center for politics and the media, houses Senator Robert Doles’ papers, state-of-the-art exhibits, broadcast facilities capable of facilitating conferences, lectures, debates, and other programs on a global scale, and meeting rooms capable of hosting nationally significant programs. The 4,000 boxes of Dole’s papers comprise the largest congressional collection in the world. The Dole Lecture Series, held each November on successive Sunday evenings, features the nation’s top presidential scholars, historians, journalists, former presidents, cabinet members and white house members. Each April, the Dole Lecture features a nationally prominent figure who will address aspects of contemporary politics or policy. The institute is a great resource for students of 20th century government and politics.
  • Other branch libraries on campus include the Maps Library, the Music Library, the LawLibrary, and the Engineering Library.


Regional Libraries

Lawrence is within a two-hour drive of many libraries of use to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies scholars.

  • In downtown Lawrence, the Watkins Community Museum contains material on local topics.
  • The Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri (one hour away), is a branch of the National Archives. It offers quick and easy access to all types of documents, and a large and permanent collection of its own, especially strong in matters relating to the history of American diplomacy.
  • The Library of the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka, Kansas (30 minutes away), has extensive manuscript and newspaper collections. The Society's museum is especially rich in material culture resources.
  • The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas (two hours away), is open to research scholars interested in studies of the Eisenhower Administration and the military aspects of World War II. The library's holdings consist of the papers of President Eisenhower, the papers of many of his associates while he was both general and president, and selected microfilms of official records of his commands during World War II.
  • The Central Plains Regional Branch of the National Archives and Records Service in Kansas City, Missouri (45 minutes away), is the depository for the records of the Federal Courts of this region (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Army Field Establishment, which was created during World War II and the Korean War.
  • The Logan Clendening Library at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas (45 minutes away), has large and well-selected holdings in the history of medicine and the basic medical sciences.
  • The Linda Hall Library of Science in Kansas City, Missouri (one hour away), contains an excellent collection of materials in the history of science with major emphasis on the physical sciences. The library includes an outstanding group of rare editions in early and modern science and an unusually complete set of periodicals of the learned scientific societies of the world.
  • The Western Historical Manuscript Collection at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, is a joint collection of the University of Missouri and the State Historical Society of Missouri. It contains more than 12,000 cubic feet of primary source documents relating to the history and culture of Kansas City, western Missouri, and the Midwest.
  • The Marr Sound Archives, at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, hold almost 250,000 sound recordings focusing on the American experience as reflected in recorded sound. Recordings date from the beginning of recorded sound in the 1890s up to 1980.



Important holdings in American art can be found throughout the region.

  • The Spencer Museum of Art on the Lawrence campus provides a facility that is widely recognized as one of the foremost teaching museums in the United States. The new building’s ten galleries and central court include 29,000 square feet of exhibition space; its collections number more than 25,000 objects. American materials in the museum include 19th- and 20th- century paintings, prints, and photographs; illustrations and materials from the popular press (e.g., Esquire); and decorative arts, particularly textiles (quilts), paintings, sculpture, graphics, photography, and holdings in material culture.
  • The Wichita Art Museum contains an important collection of American paintings; the Nelson Gallery in Kansas City has extensive and significant American material, as does the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Sheldon Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, has a collection strong in modern American paintings. The region contains, moreover, a number of important architectural monuments dating from territorial days to the present.
  • The area also has significant resources on the social and cultural experience of American Indians, such as the Native American Collection in the University of Kansas Spencer Museumof Art, and Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence. For the jazz enthusiast, the American Jazz Museum, in Kansas City, Missouri, tells the story of jazz and its greatest performers in one of the most interactive museums in the country. Also in Kansas City, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum features a 10,000 square foot multi-media exhibit. Its “Field of Legends” features 12 life-sized bronze cast sculptures of the most important players in Negro Leagues history.