Women, Gender, and Sexuality

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

PhD students at UC Berkeley may add a Designated Emphasis (DE) in Women, Gender, and Sexuality (DEWGS) to their major fields. Designed to enhance interdisciplinary graduate studies at Berkeley, the DEWGS provides curricular and research resources and opportunities to students who are already admitted to graduate degree programs on campus.

The designated emphasis program was developed to accommodate some of the many students who conduct graduate-level research in gender and/or sexuality-related topics across numerous fields. Administered by the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, the designated emphasis program provides its students with certification as well as with a context for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and development of research.

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To be admitted to the Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality, an applicant must already be accepted into a PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley. For further information regarding admission to graduate programs at UC Berkeley, please see the Graduate Division's Admissions website.

Applicants for the DE will be selected according to their academic qualifications, the appropriateness of their interests to the program's teaching resources, and the enrollment capacity of its graduate seminars. Graduate students should apply in their third semester for admission to the program in their fourth semester. Students must apply before completing their qualifying examinations.

Materials should include four copies of the following:

  1. A one-page statement of purpose which includes: your academic training in the field of Gender/Sexuality Studies, a short description of your dissertation project, and your stated interest in the DE.
  2. One letter of recommendation from your home department faculty indicating readiness to complete the DE requirements (letter can be mailed under separate cover or emailed).
  3. A gender/sexuality relevant writing sample (25 pages or less).
  4. A curriculum vitae.

Deadline for spring admission: October 30 (If October 30 falls on a weekend, please submit materials the following Monday.)

Send all application materials to:
c/o Gender & Women's Studies Department
608 Social Sciences Building
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1070

Designated Emphasis Requriements


GWS 200Theory and Critical Research4
GWS 220Research Seminar4
One 200-level elective seminar in the Department of Gender & Women's Studies

Students may petition the DEWGS director to use a gender or sexuality-focused graduate course taught outside GWS to fulfill the elective requirement. That request must include a copy of the course syllabus and a cover letter indicating how that course was directly related to your studies in DEWGS (assigned readings, research focus, or paper completed). GWS 200 and GWS 220 can not be substituted by other classes.

Students admitted to the designated emphasis program should enroll in the required introductory seminar (GWS 200) offered the following spring if possible, and must complete that seminar before taking their qualifying exams. Students must fulfill the aforementioned requirements before completion of the degree.

Qualifying Examination

A member of the GWS department or its affiliated faculty must be on the qualifying examination committee; a topic on women, gender, and sexuality must be on the qualifying examination.


A member of the GWS department or its affiliated faculty must be on the dissertation committee.

Degree Conferral

The DE will be acknowledged solely in conjunction with the PhD in an established PhD program and will be signified by the transcript and diploma designation, “PhD in [major] with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality.” The GWS department also provides each DE graduate with a DEWGS medal at the GWS commencement ceremonies.

Research Resources


Students admitted to the DEWGS Program can apply for stipends to support research and activities related to their participation in the program. Awards are made available once a year in the fall. The total budget for graduate student stipends varies each year; individual awards can be up to $500.

Purpose of the Stipends

The stipends are intended to provide a source of funding for students in the DEWGS to engage in DEWGS-related activities or to pursue DEWGS scholarship. As such, it is for projects that are outside of the normal range of your home department activities. Examples include: travel to conferences or workshops that focus on gender or sexuality; travel to an archive or fieldwork site for the purpose of engaging in gender or sexuality-related scholarship; purchase of primary research materials that are necessary for your gender-related project and are not readily available on campus. Deadline to apply: October 30. (If October 30 falls on the weekend, please submit materials the following Monday.)

Application Procedure

Download the electronic application from the program's website and forward the completed form to:
Althea Grannum Cummings, DEWGS Graduate Student Affairs Officer

You do not need letters of recommendation.

Evaluation Criteria

The executive committee of the DEWGS will meet shortly after each deadline to decide which applications to fund. The evaluation will be based on the following considerations:

  1. Does the student have a well-defined use for the stipend, and has the student documented the specific costs involved?
  2. Does the student have a previous history of DEWGS funding, and if so in what amount? Students who have never received funding will be given the highest priority.
  3. Has the student exhausted other avenues of funding including their home department and Graduate Division?
  4. Would the funds contribute to the student's intellectual growth and/or professionalization in DEWGS scholarship?
  5. Is the project clearly a DEWGS related project which would not be likely to be funded elsewhere?

Receiving Your Award

You will be notified by email immediately after the committee has met as to whether you received a stipend or not. In the event that your application was successful, you will be given instructions on how to receive your stipend. If your application was not successful, your message will contain an indication of why it did not succeed.

Teaching Opportunities

GWS provides GSI opportunities for DE Students to assist the instructor of record for:

GWS 10Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies4
GWS 14Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Global Political Issues4
GWS 20Introduction to Feminist Theory4
GWS 102Transnational Feminism4
GWS 195Gender and Women's Studies Senior Seminar4
LGBT 20ACSexual Politics and Queer Organzing in the US4

 Calls for applications go out every semester via the DE listserv, and all DE students are encouraged to apply.


Women, Gender and Sexuality

Contact Information

Department of Gender and Women's Studies

680 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-2767

Fax: 510-642-0246

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Department Chair

Leslie Salzinger, PhD

616 Social Sciences Building


Vice Chair for Research

Courtney Morris, PhD

622 Social Sciences Building


Vice Chair for Pedagogy

Eric Stanley, PhD

620 Social Sciences Building


Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Althea Grannum Cummings

608 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-8513

Fax: 510-642-0246


Department Manager

Sandra Richmond

660 Social Science Building

Phone: 510-642-7084


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