FAQs

Do you have to have a Masters degree or previous Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies coursework to apply?

No- you are not required to have a Masters degree or WGSS background prior to starting the program. We admit students from a wide variety of disciplines and academic levels.

Can I meet with a faculty member in the department prior to applying to the Ph.D. program?

Due to the volume of requests we receive, we are unable to accommodate individual meetings between faculty and prospective students. We are also unable to provide professional mentoring or advice regarding your research. For questions regarding the application, we encourage applicants to view the FAQ page on the Laney Graduate School website, or email the Graduate Program Coordinator (msmit80@emory.edu) with questions.

I’m interested in working with a particular faculty member. How do I know if they are they accepting new students for the upcoming year?

While our faculty members generally take on new students each year, this is not determined during the admissions process. We encourage applicants to review our faculty pages to determine if the department as a whole will be a good fit. On the application form you will have the opportunity to list up to three faculty members whose expertise dovetails with yours. Students do not finalize their advisor and committee until the second semester of their second year.

What kind of writing sample should I send?

It is important to submit a writing sample which is a good representation of the scholarly work you have done. Academic writing, such as an essay, term paper, or a chapter of a thesis, is most appropriate. Samples no longer than 15-20 pages are preferred.

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation for me?

Ask for letters from those who know you well, who have worked with you, and who can speak to your potential for success in a Ph.D. program in WGSS. Thus most of your recommenders should be faculty, as faculty can best assess the skills necessary for successful graduate work.

How important are the GRE scores?

All applicants MUST have GRE scores less than 5 years old. There is no set numerical expectation for GRE scores. We look at each applicant as a whole, but of course each piece of the picture matters. Thus we use the GRE scores as one indicator about the qualifications of our applicants, and good scores undoubtedly help students in the selection process. As a general rule, we prefer applicants to be above the 50th percentile ranking in all portions of their exam.

Can I be exempted from submitting GRE and/or TOEFL scores?

WGSS requires that all non-native speakers of English submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores to the Laney Graduate School. In very rare circumstances, non-native English speakers who have completed a substantive part of their education in English may be considered for a waiver. Students who believe they might be eligible should email the Graduate Program Coordinator with PDFs of unofficial transcripts. A waiver is not guaranteed and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Official GRE scores from within the past five years must be submitted to Laney Graduate School using the institution number 5187. No department codes are needed. No waivers will be granted for the GRE.

I have additional materials beyond those required by the graduate school. Can I include those in my application?

The graduate selection committee will focus on the materials required by the Laney Graduate School, especially the Statement of Purpose. If you feel your supplemental materials are critical to understanding your work, you may email them to the Graduate Program Coordinator to include in your materials. There is no guarantee supplemental materials will be considered. Supplemental materials must be sent via email; please do not send materials by traditional mail or fax.

Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

LGS offers fee waivers to all applicants who have participated in any number of programs that aim to prepare underrepresented minority students for research and graduate school. The graduate school also may waive the application fee for applicants who demonstrate financial need. Applicants receiving substantial financial aid at their undergraduate institution, for example, may ask their financial aid officer to write a letter to the graduate school confirming the extent of financial aid. To request a waiver of the fee, contact Laney Graduate School admissions before submitting your application. Effective fall 2017, LGS no longer offers the early applicant fee waiver.

What should a good Statement of Purpose contain?
A good Statement of Purpose should give us a clear representation of your strengths as an applicant. It should tell us about your academic background, about what kinds of research plans you wish to pursue, and any other facts about yourself that are most relevant to your qualifications for admission. Specificity in description is especially helpful, such as classes you have taken or sustained research projects you may have pursued. These kinds of details, used selectively, give us a much better picture of you as a student and applicant.

It is also very important for us to know what sorts of questions or projects you want to pursue if you are admitted. As the faculty of WGS, we aim to admit students whose projects we are able to support academically, either by our own scholarly strengths or by those of other faculty at Emory. A good Statement of Purpose might run about 3 pages, double-spaced. There is no strict requirement, but this is a reasonable length for most statements that do the job they need to do.

On average, how many applications do you receive per year? How many offers do you make?

We typically receive 80-100 applications for admission and make an average of five offers of admission a year. Students who accept offers are awarded a basic funding package and are eligible for additional fellowships through Laney Graduate School.

What is your notification schedule?

We begin to evaluate applications immediately following the December 15 deadline. Finalists will be notified in January, and are brought to campus for interviews in early February. From a list of finalists, the graduate faculty will select the final list of applicants who will receive an offer of admission to our PhD program. Offers of admission will be made by March 1. Applicants must inform the department of their decision to accept or decline offers no later than April 15.