M.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

There are three options within the M.A. Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies:

  1. Thesis
  2. Non thesis
  3. Internship

The following information pertains to all options:


The comprehensive examination will be a written, take-home examination. Students take the examination the semester after completing twenty-four graduate credits. The exam is offered the week proceeding the fall and spring semesters of each academic year and is taken over the course of one week. A reading list is provided to assist students in preparing for the exam. This reading list is updated annually. The comprehensive examination is graded on the following basis: High Pass, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. In the case of a marginal grade the student may be asked to orally defend the answer. Students who receive an Unsatisfactory grade must rewrite the exam. In the rare case where a student receives a second Unsatisfactory grade, they will be denied the thesis option. On satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination, students will be admitted to candidacy for the thesis component of the program, or will be able to register for their internship or extra courses if they are choosing one of those options.


The purpose of an incomplete is to allow a student who faces unforeseen and emergency situations to complete work in a course where the student has made satisfactory progress. Incomplete grades are given at the discretion of the instructor. An incomplete will appear on a student’s transcript as an “I”.

A student who does not complete the work required in a course or seminar and who received a grade of “I” (incomplete) must, according to the University Graduate School regulations, complete the course requirements within a year or the grade will automatically change to an “F”.


Only those courses in which a student receives a “B” or better will count toward completion of the M.A. 


Students must select at least three faculty members to serve on their Student Advisory Committee. The selection must take place not later than the end of the third semester in the program.  Students should select faculty based on their expertise in the student’s area of interest, thesis topic, academic and professional career goals, and other factors deemed relevant. In the case of thesis students, the Advisory Committee will serve as the thesis committee. Committee changes may be made as deemed necessary, in consultation with the advisory members.  The student must select a thesis advisor who will serve as the committee chair.


In order to receive an advanced degree from Florida Atlantic University, all current, degree-seeking students pursuing a master's degree must submit a Plan of Study to the Graduate College.You must file your Plan of Study with the Graduate College before completing half of your coursework. You are strongly encouraged, however, to submit this form during your first or second semester of enrollment.

The following information pertains to specific options:


The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies M.A. degree program offers a thesis option. This is formal written work that advances an original point of view through extensive, in-depth research under the guidance of the advisory committee.( This option requires approval from the Director)

The student’s Advisory Committee has the responsibility to make sure that the thesis meets the standards of the discipline and of the university. The Graduate Studies Office of the university lists strict guidelines for the thesis, which must be successfully followed by the student in order to complete the M.A. (thesis option) program. It is the student’s responsibility to comply with all requirements. Students choosing the thesis option must notify the Graduate Program Coordinator of their intention no later than the successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination requirements. The thesis option accounts for 6 credit hours.

The final step in the M.A. degree program in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (thesis option) is the Oral Defense of the thesis before the Student Advisory Committee.  The student who selects the thesis option must submit a draft of the thesis to each member of the Student Advisory Committee and allow a reasonable amount of time (2 to 3 weeks prior to the time that the thesis must be submitted to the Dean’s office, usually one week before it is due to the Office of Graduate Studies) for members to evaluate the thesis and make revision suggestions.  This process ensures that the student will benefit from the knowledge and experience of all members of the Faculty Advisory Committee.  All members of the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee must be present for the Oral Defense. Please refer to the next section for the requirements for the thesis outline.


The thesis proposal should be considered a grant application submitted to a review board of scholars not necessarily working in the same area but with broad research interests in the interdisciplinary fields of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. The writing should be straightforward, spare and substantiated with carefully selected examples and in-text citations It must fall within the parameters stated below and be presented in the following order.

  1. Proposal: 10 double-spaced pages
  2. Bibliography: 2-3 pages of single-spaced entries with one line between each entry

The Proposal text should include, in the following order:

  1. Full title
  2. Abstract or thesis statement: 1-2 paragraphs, no more than one page in length, on the central problem and major aims of the study.
  3. Background: Concise review of the most important literature on the proposed topic, method, and theoretical approach of the study.
  4. Data: An overview of the primary and secondary sources to be investigated. Indicate what data have been collected, what sources consulted and what field contacts (if appropriate) have been made to date.
  5. Methodology: What methods of analysis will you employ? What working hypothesis will inform these analyses?
  6. Significance: What contributions will the thesis make to the particular area of study and to Women’s Studies in general?
  7. Plan: Indicate 2-3 authors and/or works whose style, organization and presentation of concepts will serve as models when you write the thesis. Outline the probably chapters with a brief notion of what is to be included in each.

The Selected Bibliography should include:

A list of published sources (archival, manuscript and field sources are described under “Data” above) that are most pertinent to the proposed study. The entries should be divided into topic areas. They should be presented in a form consonant with the citation style used (i.e. with author’s name followed by date of publication, title, publisher, place of publication).


Students who select this option must successfully complete twelve graduate courses or 36 graduate credits.


This option is designed to integrate professional work experience with scholarly research.  Students should develop a sound understanding of the relationship between research and experience, activism and scholarship, thinking and practice.  Selection of an internship is made by the student, the Student Advisory Committee, and the agency where the student will work. Groundwork for the internship will take place the semester before the student begins work.  Please keep in mind that selection of the agency must be approved by the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Center in order to receive credit for the M.A.

During this academic year, we will be revisiting the procedures for the internship.  We will notify students once the new policies are in effect. In the meantime, if you select this option, you should consider how working at an agency integrates with your academic work.