Graduate Concentration


Graduate Concentration

The Graduate Concentration in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wake Forest is designed to provide graduate students across campus the opportunity to study gender and sexuality from a range of disciplinary perspectives in conjunction with their study toward a professional program’s or master’s degree.

Director of the Graduate Concentration                                                                           Dr. Wanda Balzano                                                                                             ( 

Requirements for Graduate Concentration

Hour Requirement: ​The graduate concentration will consist of a total of 12 credits. Students will take two courses cross-listed with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from their own department and two core courses offered by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, taught by faculty members affiliated with the Graduate School. Additionally, they will present their research at a WGS colloquium for the S.P.E.A.K. series (Student Presentations on Experience, Arts, and Knowledge) and/or at other venues in our community, such as the WFU Gender Symposium on Gender and Sexuality. Academic activities such as workshops may be counted toward this total only if they are structured as part of a graduate course for credit. If an activity does not fall under the requirements of an existing course, such an activity may be formulated as a graduate-level course denoted “directed study” as established by the department or program (WGS 696), and treated as elective hours that count toward this total, as long as the course comports with accredited standards. The two core courses offered by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department that will be required for the graduate concentration are:

1) WGS 622: ​Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (3 hrs). ​This interdisciplinary course integrates materials from the humanities and the sciences. Topics include critical methods and practical solutions, history and theory of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, women in culture and society, and cross-cultural issues of gender, ethnicity, social class, age, and sexual orientation.


2) WGS 620​: Feminist Theory and Practice (3 hrs). ​Examines the major themes and terminology in feminist thought, with focus on its diverse and multicultural expressions through time. Themes to be explored include schools of feminism, interlocking systems of oppression and the connection between theory and practice. This class might also be cross-listed in the student’s home department.


WGS 616​: Feminist Theory ​(3hrs).​ Introduction to key issues, questions, and concepts in feminist thought, which reflect a range of perspectives and methodologies. In either of these courses special emphasis will be given to students’ own work in their field, and the production and peer critique of a substantial project relevant to the student’s academic and/or professional progress.

Additionally, the WGS concentration must include the following:

Electives (6 hrs)

The concentration requires that students take two electives (3 hours each), which are going to be selected with the assistance of the WGS director of the concentration from a range of WGS-credit-giving courses cross-listed in the home department/school. Students may seek permission from the graduate studies directors in both WGS and their home department to include courses not cross-listed with their home department if said course(s) will have a substantial component in their discipline and if the student engages in a major project on a paper in the related field of studies. (For instance, this might be the case if an M.A. student in English is writing a dissertation that requires knowledge in Politics, or in Anthropology, and WGS offers a 600-level course cross-listed with these units.)

Public Presentation

To emphasize the collective nature of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies work, students will be asked to make a public presentation to the WGS community (as part of the S.P.E.A.K. series, or the WFU Symposium on Gender and Sexuality) about some aspect of their work within the concentration. This presentation may involve delivering the results of research in a public talk, creating a community engagement project related to the student’s academic interests, presenting scholarly findings in conjunction with a performance, or devising some other form of public interaction. The nature of this project will be planned with and approved in advance by the student’s advisor.

Concentration Procedures

  • Applicants must submit a personal statement of interest to both Directors of Graduate Studies in WGS and in the home department.
  • Students should consult with their home unit and the WGS Graduate Director to choose courses meeting concentration requirements.
  • GPA Standard.​ The student must achieve a B or higher in the concentration in order for it to be noted on the transcript.
  • Notation.​ A concentration will be noted on the transcript only upon completion of the major degree of study.
  • Certification of completion.​ The Chair of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, in association with the Director of the Concentration, will certify completion of the courses taken in the concentration and will submit a signed form to the Graduate School before advancing to candidacy.


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