Master of Arts in Women's History
at Sarah Lawrence College


Director of Graduate Admissions

E-mail Emanuel


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, drawing upon and actively supporting an ongoing legacy of activism regarding social and political concerns related to women and gender.

The close relationship that Women’s History students develop with their faculty is one of the unique aspects of our program. In addition to required coursework, students are able to expand their intellectual interests by developing individualized research projects while working in close consultation with our illustrious Women’s History faculty members.

Because our graduate students develop the ability to analyze material in new ways and develop arguments that are relevant to a number of fields, our MA degree prepares students for careers in all walks of life. Our alums have gone on to become: lawyers, writers, high school teachers, archivists, public historians, museum professionals, theater professionals, entrepreneurs, activists, psychiatrists, and founders of and staffers at NGOs. They are also respected women’s historians.

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.


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)

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