The MA in Gender Studies is our most popular programme and is unique not only in the UK but in the terrain of Gender Studies programs across the Anglophone world. With a focus on the study of Gender that attends to the complex specificities of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and their diasporas, this programme creates a cutting edge pedagogical space where students grapple with the limits of ‘Western’ and elite feminisms and tackle the problems of class violence, racism, transmisogny, Islamophobia, ableism and queerphobia in contemporary feminist political projects. In addition to drawing on the interdisciplinary expertise of staff across all SOAS faculties, this programme offers plenty of opportunities to participate in ongoing dialogues between various social justice movements and the University classroom. Drawing cohorts of students from Asia, Africa and the Middle East as well as the Global North, this programme offers students a chance like no other to forge connections to feminist movements, activists and thinkers situated across the world.
The SOAS MA in Gender Studies will appeal to students with a variety of backgrounds and objectives:
- Those coming from Women's Studies or Gender Studies who wish to engage more deeply with gender theory in relation to regional specialisation, especially, but not exclusively, the societies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
- Those coming from Asian, African or Middle Eastern Studies who wish to incorporate the study of gender into their own areas of expertise; and
- Those having previously trained in particular disciplines, such as Cultural and Media Studies, Religious Studies, Comparative Literature, History, Anthropology, Politics, etc. who wish to deepen their training in feminist knowledge production.
By selection of courses to suit the academic needs of each student, this programme can provide:
- Specialised research training MA in Gender Studies, perhaps including a relevant language. This pathway is suitable for students contemplating advanced postgraduate research in Gender Studies with regard to regional specialisation.
- A broad MA programme for students with some background in Women's Studies, Gender Studies, and Area Studies etc. who wish to enhance their knowledge of gender in relation to cross-cultural issues, with or without language study.
- A special interest MA, which enables students to study in depth gender issues in relation to a particular regional or disciplinary specialisation.
Prospective students should contact the MA Admissions Tutor if they wish to seek advice on the most appropriate options for study. Please see link to pathway available under MA Gender Studies: MA Gender Studies (Middle East Pathway)
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.
- One calendar year (full-time).
Two or three years (part-time, daytime only).
Introducing MA Gender Studies
Dr Awino Okech, Lecturer in Gender Studies, outlines the MA in Gender Studies at SOAS.
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Q&A with Dr Awino Okech, convenor of the MA in Gender Studies
What does the course involve?
The MA is Gender Studies in an inter-disciplinary programme that combines lectures and seminars, as well as providing access to a wide range of scholars and social justice movement actors that come through the Centre’s doors over the course of any academic year. Students on this programme, and its Middle East pathway, will have an opportunity to engage in critical debate and reflections on historical and contemporary issues pertaining to gender in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
What kind of students will the course appeal to?
The programme appeals to a variety of students from different disciplinary and professional backgrounds with the central draw being the interest in engaging deeply with gender theory in relation to regional specialisation, especially, but not exclusively, the societies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
What facilities are available?
SOAS offers strong interdisciplinary support, including a library that houses a major collection of books and journals on world media and extensive audio-visual materials, study skills support for students coming from a different academic environment or after a long break from academic work, as well as psycho-social support for students. SOAS is also well known for its vibrant and politically active student community, which is a key resource in the building of critical thought.
What is special about the programme at SOAS?
The SOAS MA in Gender Studies is unique in that it refocuses Gender Studies on the complex regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing on the expertise of staff across all SOAS faculties, it offers the specialised study of gender in relation to Asian, African and Middle Eastern cultures, together with rigorous training in, and questioning of, contemporary gender theory.
Can you recommend a good book to read on MA Gender Studies?
Chandra Talpade Mohanty: Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (Duke University Press).
What do students do after graduating?
Since our programme attracts students from a variety of backgrounds, many professionals working in the development sector (NGOs, bilateral agencies, government departments) go back to these jobs with a better understanding of how they can influence their government’s policies in ways that are useful to “developing” countries. They also go back to these jobs with a better understanding of how to approach gender programmes. A number of our students have gone on to pursue a PhD because of the Masters programme. While those at the beginning of their careers have gone on to find work in organisations and companies where their gender training will be put to good use, whether that is in human rights work or journalism.
Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation
All students take the compulsory course Gender Theory and the Study of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, in addition to Dissertation Methods in Gender Studies. Further options include a wide range of gender and gender-related courses from a comprehensive list offered by the Faculties of Languages and Cultures and Arts and Humanities. Students will write a 12,000 word dissertation based on either the compulsory course or one of the component courses.
Please Note: Gender theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East (15PGNC002) needs to be completed successfully for the achievement of an exit award.
All students will take the following two core modules:
All students will take the modules to the value of 30 credits from List 1 below
All students will take the modules to the value of 45 credits from List 2 below
Students may select 30 credits from SOAS online-learning modules. This is subject to approval from the programme convenor.
List of modules (subject to availability)
Please Note: 15PANH024 Issues in the Anthropology of Gender cannot be combined with 15PDSH010 Gender & Development
UCL Optional Module
Gender in Policy & Planning (15 Credits)
Please Note: 30 credits may come from a language module open option.
Language Options and PGT Open Modules
Language Options and PGT Open Option Modules may be taken
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.