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FAQs


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

    No - 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?

    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.

  • 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?

    We encourage applicants to review our faculty pages.

  • What kind of writing sample should I send?

    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. 

  • Does the department require GRE scores?

    Beginning with the fall 2018 application cycle (which opens September 2017), WGSS and Laney Graduate School no longer require GRE scores. Scores which are volunteered will be removed from the application, therefore, please do not submit official or unofficial GRE scores to Laney Graduate School.

  • Why doesn't the department consider GRE scores?

    Research on graduate admissions and testing overwhelmingly demonstrates that GRE scores do not reliably predict success in doctoral programs. There is also substantial evidence to show that GRE scores represent a barrier to diversity: they are biased against women, under-represented minorities, and international applicants. Finally, the cost of the GRE can be a disincentive to apply to graduate school. The department’s decision to ignore GRE scores in graduate admissions reflects our commitment to equal access regardless of gender, race, economic status, or national origin.  

  • Can I be exempted from submitting 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.

  • Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

    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 the 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. 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.