Gender Studies, PhD

Announcement about Gender Studies PhD Program Admissions

The program faculty for the ASU Gender Studies PhD is committed to providing doctoral students with robust transdisciplinary training in the theories and methods necessary to conduct original, cutting-edge research and scholarship that will contribute to the larger field of women, gender, and sexuality studies.

After our faculty conducted a careful assessment of the program, we decided, as of academic year 2019-2020, that the ASU Gender Studies PhD program is on an alternating year admissions policy and will not be accepting applications for admissions in Fall 2020. Our next application round will begin Fall 2020 (Deadline Dec. 15, 2020) to determine the new cohort for Fall 2021.

The program faculty came to this decision to fortify our commitment to fully fund doctoral students (4 years for post-MA students and 5 years for post-BA students); offer a robust array of core and elective courses; ensure strong and organized faculty mentoring of students, and support personal and professional development for every cohort. We made this decision based on a feminist ethics of care for our doctoral students and their training and future career endeavors.

To prospective students, we very much hope you will consider applying to the ASU Gender Studies PhD program next year, and we look forward to reading your application. For questions about this change or other questions related to our doctoral or Masters programs, please feel free to contact Dr. Heather Switzer, Director of Graduate Studies, Women and Gender Studies, the School of Social Transformation.


The Gender Studies doctoral program at the nation’s first School of Social Transformation is designed to provide students with the transdisciplinary training in theory and methods needed to conduct original research and scholarship about gender.

Our inclusive doctoral program empowers tomorrow’s leaders by immersing students in publically engaged research, creative and critical knowledge production, fluency in feminist theory and practical applications and socially-embedded community partnerships.

We take an intersectional approach to gender representations by exploring representations of race, sexuality and class, and the ways in which they produce, rather than simply mimic, gender inequality and polarized identities.

Our women and gender studies faculty is one of the largest and most vibrant in the nation with expertise in:

  • sexuality
  • labor
  • race
  • science and technology
  • health
  • visual culture
  • violence
  • globalization
  • historical and literary narrative
  • queer and transgender studies
  • social change

Our diverse community of scholars takes an innovative approach to the study of social justice by uniting multiple academic disciplines to strategically create social change that is democratic, inclusive and just.

Graduates of the program have gone on to careers at universities, research and policy institutes, government organizations, and non-profit organizations.

Backed by the resources and commitment of Arizona State University to developing solutions to real-­world challenges, School of Social Transformation students catalyze social change while receiving their degree.

84 credit hours
50 faculty members
100+ affiliated faculty

Degree Overview

The research-based gender studies PhD program is composed of a diverse community of scholars from multiple academic disciplines. The connections between social locations, community and lived experience are the foundation of the research, teaching and community engagement. Faculty and students explore these intersections from a holistic perspective that goes beyond the classroom in the 84 credit, highly flexible program.

Focus Areas

Gender, Justice and Social Change

Courses in this area explore the gender dimension of social structures, institutions and organizations; the processes of social change and community development; and the ways policies and laws can change gender relations.

Faculty have expertise in:

  • child welfare
  • domestic violence
  • gender and the biophysical environment
  • globalization
  • immigration
  • labor and employment
  • social policy
  • sustainability
  • transnational feminisms
  • women's rights and gender equality in the developing world

Health, Science and Technology

Courses in this area explore the impact of gender on:

  • health care
  • health occupations
  • science and technology

Faculty have expertise in:

  • bioethics
  • gender and technology
  • health and sexuality
  • HIV and AIDS prevention
  • the participation of women in math and science in the developing world
  • women's roles as healers and caregivers

Visual and Narrative Culture

Courses in this area explore historical and contemporary representations of gender in all genres, including:

  • art
  • literature
  • popular culture
  • scientific, medical, historical and legal discourse
  • theater

The faculty focus especially on the intersections of gender representations with representations of race, sexuality and class, and the ways in which representations produce rather than simply mimic gender inequality and polarized identities.

How to apply

Submit the following materials to ASU Graduate Education by December 15:

  1. ASU Graduate Admission Services application.
  2. Non-refundable application fee as specified by ASU Graduate Admission Services.
  3. Official copies of transcripts from all college and universities where you have earned a bachelor's and/or master's degree.
  4. Résumé or curriculum vitae.
  5. Statement of purpose.
  6. Writing sample (10-15 pages).
  7. Three letters of reference preferably from faculty or other researchers.
  8. Students whose native language is not English must meet ASU's English proficiency requirements.

This program does not require Official GRE scores as part of the admission application.

Applicants can now upload unofficial transcripts to the application in the Graduate Application portal. This is the only method by which applicants will be allowed to submit unofficial transcripts. An applicant may wish to submit unofficial transcripts in order to help the application move to “committee review” status quicker and doing so can help ensure that an application is completed by the priority deadline. However, if admitted, students are required to provide official transcripts to the university.

Except for official transcripts, all of the application components above can be uploaded directly through the ASU Graduate Admission Services online application process. Transcripts need to be physically mailed to ASU Graduate Admission Services at the address below:

To expedite the processing of your application, please write your application reference number on all documents and envelopes submitted to ASU. Materials submitted without your application reference number will delay the processing of your application.

If sending by stamped mail:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
PO Box 871004 
Tempe, AZ 85287-1004

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
1150 East University Drive Building C, Room 226
Tempe, AZ 85281

The faculty mentorship I have experienced in the Gender Studies PhD program has proven to be one of the best facets of my graduate experience at ASU. The intellectual growth and development I've experienced over the last few years would not have been possible without the invaluable guidance of those scholars. Furthermore, the scholar-activist spirit cultivated in the School of Social Transformation has encouraged me to push myself and my work to be more interdisciplinary, more theoretically nuanced, and more grounded in my practical feminist commitments.

Samantha Vandermeade - PhD student 


Our gender studies curriculum provides the interdisciplinary training in theory and methods needed to create original research and scholarship. The research-based degree requires 84 credit hours and allows students to take courses from three main focus areas: gender, justice and social change; health, science and technology; or visual and cultural narrative.  A written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation are required.

Requirements and electives


Core courses


Methodology Electives


Specialization Electives 


General Electives 


Research and Dissertation


Total hours required



Courses and electives

Students take core elective courses in Women and Gender Studies and can also choose from electives offered by more than 100 affiliated faculty across ASU. With few required courses among the 84 units, you’ll have flexibility to build a program that suits your research interests and professional goals.

At the core of the program are four required courses:

  1. Critical concepts of gender.
  2. Mapping the intersections of gender.
  3. Engendering methodology.
  4. Research design and development.

You'll also take two research methods courses relevant to your dissertation and additional courses in the focus areas: Health, science and technology; Justice and social change; Visual and narrative culture. You may take courses across all three foci areas, but generally you will take courses in at least two of the areas.

WST 601 Critical Concepts of Gender (3)
WST 602 Mapping the Intersections of Gender (3)
WST 603 Engendering Methodology (3)
WST 701 Research Design and Proposal Development in Gender Studies (3)

Electives are chosen in consultation with student’s assigned faculty mentor and the program’s graduate coordinator once admitted to the program.

Electives are chosen in consultation with student’s assigned faculty mentor and the program’s graduate coordinator once admitted to the program.

Electives are chosen in consultation with student’s assigned faculty mentor and the program’s graduate coordinator once admitted to the program.

Supervised research focused on preparation of dissertation, including literature review, research, data collection and analysis, and writing.

Independent study in which a student, under the supervision of a faculty member, conducts research that is expected to lead to a specific publishable project. Assignments might include data collection, experimental work, data analysis, or preparation of a manuscript.

When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this degree. If students do not have a previously awarded master's degree, the 30 hours of coursework will be made up of electives to reach the required 84 credit hours.