graduate students talking in a women's studies courseHistory

The Master of Arts program in Women’s Studies at the University of Alabama is an interdisciplinary program working cooperatively with other departments to provide knowledge of the cultural history and status of women and to conduct research on the forces which shape women’s role in society.

In 1972 a group of University of Alabama students initiated a project to introduce courses in women’s studies into the curriculum. They identified faculty who would be willing to develop courses on women and, by the spring of 1975, a women’s studies minor had been created in the College of Arts and Sciences. That same year, an independent program in women’s studies — the first in the Southeast — was launched. The Master of Arts degree program was established, with the first graduate students enrolled, in 1988.

The Women’s Studies program, part of the Department of Gender and Race Studies, includes a core faculty, a graduate adjunct faculty, and participating faculty from almost every discipline.

Program Description

The University of Alabama Master of Arts in Women’s Studies is a thirty (30) credit hour degree program which focuses on feminist research. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary and cross-cultural methodology, as well as analytical and theoretical perspectives on women. Students can specialize in feminist theory, the culture of southern women, women in the civil rights movement, or other areas of feminist and interdisciplinary research.


The requirements of the program of study are as follows:

  • Plan I (thesis plan) requires at least 30 hours of coursework (including 9 hours of core courses, 15 hours of elective courses, and 6 hours of thesis research), and a thesis.
  • Plan II (comprehensive exam) requires 30 hours of coursework (including 9 hours of core courses, 21 hours of elective courses), and a comprehensive exam.

Admission Standards

Applicants must meet the admission standards of the Graduate School For current Graduate School admission requirements, consult In addition, applicants should have had at least an introductory women’s studies course or its equivalent, or take it before enrolling in the graduate program. International students must have a TOEFL score of 550 (or 213 on the computerized TOEFL).

Financial Aid

The University of Alabama Women’s Studies program is one of the few programs in the U.S. with a permanent number of graduate assistantships, which we award to qualified students on a competitive basis. (Several universities have graduate programs in women’s studies, but few have full-time assistantships in women’s studies; our graduate assistants teach Introduction to Women’s Studies or they perform research with a faculty member.)

If you plan to apply for an assistantship or financial aid, your application should be filed by February 15.* Assistantships include a tuition scholarship for fall and spring sessions, doubling the value of the award. *(Applications for the program are accepted throughout the year. Check with the department for the current amount paid per assistantship.)

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