- 48 course credits (24 credits in the first year and 24 in the second)
- There is one required course for entering students: a yearlong seminar (10 credits) that examines historical scholarship on women and explores feminist theory and historical methodology.
- Research Methods Workshop (noncredit): This four-session workshop trains entering students in the use of key research tools and documents collections at the Sarah Lawrence library and local historical archives.
- Thesis Seminar (10 credits): Students enroll in this course during the thesis year, meeting weekly for discussion of research projects, analytical issues, and writing strategies.
- Master’s Thesis
A typical full-time program.
- Visions/Revisions: Issues in Women’s History (10 credits)
- Research seminar in history (10 credits)
- Internship (4 credits)
- Research Methods Workshop (noncredit)
- Thesis Seminar (10 credits)
- Independent study with thesis director (2 credits)
- Master’s Thesis
The majority of credits are earned in seminars in which students undertake conference work (independent research) in close consultation with professors. In addition to the “Visions/Revisions” course (10 credits), entering students enrolled full-time select a year-long history seminar (10 credits) in which they do conference work based in primary sources. They earn the additional 4 credits (2 per term) in elective courses that do not entail conference projects. These courses are normally seminars in the humanities or social sciences. Students may also earn elective credits through internships at historical archives, museums, or agencies concerned with women’s issues.
Students in the second year of full-time study focus on the production of a thesis, an original piece of writing based on fresh interpretation of primary sources. The curriculum for thesis students comprises both the thesis seminar (10 credits) and independent study with the thesis director (2 credits).
While most students will follow this plan, other arrangements may be available, depending on a student’s previous academic experience and individual needs. In addition, at the discretion of program faculty, students may be awarded transfer credits for graduate courses completed elsewhere.
The thesis should make a fresh contribution to scholarship on women’s or gender history. Based on research in primary sources and a mastery of relevant secondary literature, it must present an original argument grounded in historical evidence, demonstrate the author’s analytical skill and methodological rigor, and be well written.
Course offerings vary from year to year, although the required seminar for entering students and the thesis seminar are both offered annually.
The MA in Women’s History Program is offering a new option for students especially concerned with practical applications of historical knowledge to issues of gender policy and advocacy. This option incorporates the legacy of the women’s history program and expands its focus to include policy development and advocacy that can make an impact on women’s lives on local, national, and international levels. In lieu of the traditional M.A. thesis, students will work with professors on independent capstone projects culminating research papers that take on a practical problem and propose solutions. This option allows students accelerated progress to the degree, permitting them to earn the MA in Women’s History in 15 months of continuous study.
The accelerated option is designed to prepare students for careers in public service, NGOs, and elsewhere in the nonprofit sector. Students will develop skills not only in historical research and writing but also in strategic planning, program design, policy analysis and public history. We anticipate that students will pursue projects on a wide range of issues related to:
- social justice
- racial justice
- human rights
- labor rights
- tenants/housing rights
- prison rights
- marriage rights
- transgender rights
- equal pay
- reproductive rights
- gendered violence
- women in politics
- family policy
- workplace policy
- healthcare equality
- childhood and education equality
- climate change
- environmental justice
- democracy and corporate power
In Semester 1, students in the accelerated track will enroll in an intensive, low-residency summer course that introduces them to practical applications of historical knowledge on women and gender and involves both class work and independent study or field placements under the direction of the professor. In Semesters 2 and 3, Policy and Advocacy students will pursue the same coursework as those preparing to write traditional M.A. theses. The curriculum comprises a core course on feminist historical practice (Visions/Revisions), a research seminar of the student’s choice, and a seminar related to internships, professional placements, and fieldwork at local, domestic or international agencies concerned with gender issues and advocacy, policy development, strategic planning and/or program management. In both Visions/Revisions and the research seminar, students undertake independent research in close consultation with professors. Semester 4, the final summer, involves an intensive, low-residency capstone course—an advanced seminar on practical applications of historical knowledge of women and gender-- and independent work on the capstone paper.
|Curriculum in the two-year MA program* (Starting Fall 2015)||Curriculum in the accelerated MA program* (Starting Summer 2015)|
|Summer Seminar: The Usable Past: Introduction to Practical Applications of Historical Knowledge of Women and Gender, including independent study project (12 credits)|
|Year 1: (Semesters 1 & 2)||2nd & 3rd Semesters|
|Visions/Revisions: Issues in Women’s & Gender History (10 credits- Fall/Spring)||
Visions/Revisions: Issues in Women’s & Gender History (10 credits- Fall/Spring)
|Research seminar (10 credits-Fall/Spring)||Research seminar (10 credits-Fall/Spring)|
|Seminar for internships and field work (4 credits Fall/Spring)||Seminar for internships and field work (4 credits Fall/Spring)|
|Research Methods Workshop (noncredit)||Research Methods Workshop (noncredit)|
|Year 2: (Semesters 3 & 4 )||4th Semester|
|Thesis Seminar in Women's and Gender History (10 credits-Fall/Spring)||Capstone Seminar: History Matters: Advanced Work in the Practical Application of Historical Knowledge of Women and Gender, including capstone project (12 credits)|
|Independent study with thesis director (2 credits)|
|Master’s Thesis (12 credits- Fall/Spring)|
|Total credits: 36 in coursework, 12 in thesis||Total credits: 36 in coursework, 12 in capstone|
|* This curriculum assumes fulltime enrollment; part-time study is also available.||
* This curriculum assumes fulltime enrollment; part-time study is also available.
While most students will follow one of these plans, other arrangements may be available, depending on a student’s previous academic experience and individual needs. In addition, at the discretion of program faculty, students may be awarded transfer credits for graduate courses completed elsewhere.