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Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

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The secondary field in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS) has two aims: to help qualify students for employment relating to studies of women, gender, and sexuality and to support graduate students with WGS-related interests form productive and lasting scholarly communities.


The secondary field in WGS is open to all students enrolled in doctoral programs in Harvard's graduate and professional schools.

To apply for the secondary field, graduate students should complete a plan of study form (available here) and make an appointment with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). At this meeting the DGS will review the student's plan of study and discuss options for completing the secondary field requirements.

WGS encourages students to declare their interest in the secondary field early in their doctoral program to ensure that they can fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.


The secondary field requires completion of four graduate-level courses in the studies of WGS with a grade of B+ or above:

  • The graduate proseminar (WGS 2000).
  • The WGS theory foundation course (WGS 1210).
  • Two others selected from among graduate courses (or upper-level seminars) taught by members of the Committee on Degrees in the Studies of WGS, or other graduate courses in the field, as deemed appropriate by the WGS director of graduate studies in consultation with the student.

These courses may be used to satisfy departmental requirements. For courses numbered below 2000 (primarily for undergraduates), graduate students must complete the designated graduate-level requirements.

Please consult the WGS website for a list of faculty who teach WGS courses and a list of pre-approved courses, which is updated each year.

Courses offered by the inter-institutional Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies (website) may also be used to fulfill course requirements for the secondary field in studies of WGS.

Additional Requirements

In addition to coursework, the secondary field requires students to demonstrate mastery in the field by composing an article-length paper suitable for publication -- this can be a chapter of the dissertation -- and serving one term as a salaried teaching fellow in a course offered by WGS faculty.

Contact Info

Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS)

Boylston Hall, Ground Floor
5 Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: (617) 495-9199
Fax: (617) 496-9855

Students with specific questions about the secondary field should contact Sarah Richardson, Director of Graduate Studies, at

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