Master of Arts in Women's History

Contact

Director of Graduate Admissions

E-mail Emanuel

(914) 395-2371

Explore the complex and powerful history of women while participating in a program with a unique, proud heritage.

Established in 1972 by Gerda Lerner, the Sarah Lawrence College Master of Arts Program in Women’s History was the country’s first graduate degree program in women’s history. The program immerses students in a combination of historical studies, feminist theory, and gender studies. It draws extensively upon resources in the social sciences and literature, and on a legacy of continued activism within and outside the College community.

Program Highlights

  • The Master of Arts in Women's History program introduces students to the rapidly expanding literature in women’s history, feminist theory, and gender studies; trains them in historical research and interpretation; and encourages them to combine scholarship with activism both within and beyond the College.
  • Each year, the program sponsors a Women's History Month Conference
  • Advanced undergraduates at Sarah Lawrence may apply to this program and, if admitted, may begin working toward the MA during their senior year.
  • Through a partnership with Pace University Law School, Sarah Lawrence offers a joint degree in women’s history and law.
  • An Accelerated Degree program allows students to complete all 48 credits toward their MA in Women’s History in 15 months of continuous study.

Curriculum

Program Requirements

A total of 48 course credits (24 credits per year) are required for an MA in Women’s History. The majority of credits are earned in seminars in which students undertake conference work (independent research) in close consultation with professors.

  • Research Seminar (10 credits)
  • Visions/Revisions: Issues in the History of Women and Gender (10 credits)
  • History Colloquium (4 credits)
  • Research Methods Workshop (noncredit)
  • Thesis Seminar (10 credits)
  • Independent study with thesis adviser (2 credits)
  • Master’s Thesis (12 credits)

Typical Course of Study

Two-Year Program

While most students will follow the program outlined below, other arrangements may be available depending on a student’s previous academic experience and individual needs. At the discretion of program faculty, students may be awarded transfer credits for graduate courses completed elsewhere.

Research seminars vary from year to year. Visions/Revisions, History Colloquium, and the Thesis Seminar are offered annually.

Year 1

  • Visions/Revisions: Issues in Women’s History (10 credits)
  • Research seminar (10 credits)
  • History Colloquium (4 credits)
  • Research Methods Workshop (noncredit)

Year 2

  • Thesis Seminar (10 credits)
  • Independent study with thesis adviser (2 credits)
  • Master’s Thesis (12 credits)
Accelerated Degree

The Accelerated Degree allows students to complete all 48 credits toward their M.A. in Women’s History in 15 months of continuous study.

  • The Accelerated Degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in public service, NGOs, and throughout the nonprofit sector.
  • The program is focused on practical applications of historical knowledge in the areas of gender policy and advocacy. It expands the focus of the traditional M.A. program to include ways policy and advocacy can impact women’s lives on local, national, and international levels.
  • In lieu of the traditional thesis, students work with professors on independent capstone projects culminating in research papers that address a practical problem and propose solutions.
  • Students develop skills in historical research, writing, strategic planning, program design, policy analysis, and public history.
  • Students address a wide range of concerns, including human rights, gendered violence, racial justice, LGBTQIA issues, family policy, labor conditions, education, and healthcare.

Typical Full-Time Accelerated Program:

The curriculum below assumes full-time enrollment, but part-time study is also available. While most students will follow the program outlined here, other arrangements may be available depending on a student’s previous academic experience and individual needs. At the discretion of program faculty, students may be awarded transfer credits for graduate courses completed elsewhere.

Semester 1 (Summer)

  • Summer Seminar: The Usable Past: Introduction to Practical Applications of Historical Knowledge of Women and Gender, including Independent Study (12 credits)

Semester 2 & 3 (Fall/Spring)

  • Visions/Revisions: Issues in Women’s & Gender History (10 credits)
  • Research Seminar (10 credits)
  • History Colloquium (4 credits)
  • Research Methods Workshop (noncredit)

Semester 4 (Summer)

  • Capstone Seminar and Project: History Matters: Advanced Work in the Practical Application of Historical Knowledge of Women and Gender (12 credits)

Joint Degree in Women’s History and Law

In cooperation with Pace University, Sarah Lawrence College offers a joint degree in Women’s History and Law.

By earning two degrees, students gain a broader context for thinking and writing about women’s issues and the educational foundation to advocate for women in more diverse ways and from a position of greater authority.

Learn more about the joint degree program»

Master’s Thesis

MA students complete a master’s thesis during the second year of the program. The thesis must: be well written; be based on primary research along with relevant secondary literature; present an original argument grounded in historical evidence; and demonstrate the author’s analytical skill and methodological rigor.

See a complete listing of past master's theses»