Many students begin with one of our foundational courses -- WGS 1200 or WGS 1210 -- or with a Freshman Seminar related to gender and sexuality studies. Students can also begin with any General Education courses taught by WGS faculty. (Freshman Seminars and Gen Ed courses that count for WGS concentration credit are listed on our pre-approved courses page, which is updated every year.)
Yes, approximately half of our undergraduate students complete a joint concentration in WGS and another department.
All students who wish to joint concentration must apply to and be accepted into the thesis track in both departments. More information about the application process is available on our Thesis Track page.
Yes. Students who wish to write a thesis must apply to the WGS thesis track during the first semester of junior year. Interested students must submit an application form and a writing sample of 5- 10 pages (a paper from a past course is acceptable).
More information is available on the Thesis Track page.
Each year we pre-approve a number of non-WGS courses to count for WGS concentration credit. The full list can be found on our pre-approved courses page.
Students may also petition to have us count a course that does not appear on this list, please submit the Concentration Credit Petition form along with the course syllabus and a written explanation (approximately 1-2 paragraphs) to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Please note that certain petitions may need to be brought before the WGS faculty for a vote.
Students must choose courses for concentration credit at the beginning of the semester in which the course is taught. After the end of the semester, courses cannot be added or deleted from the concentration record, except by petition. Upon entering WGS, new concentrators, with the approval of their adviser, will identify which non-WGS courses already taken may be counted for concentration credit.
WGS is an excellent choice for students who want to concentrate outside of the sciences but wish to stay connected to medicine. Appropriate areas of study would be women and medicine, the healthcare industry, historic changes in the treatment and diagnoses of women, etc.
Yes, WGS concentrators have spent semesters taking courses in countries such as Kenya, Australia, Spain, and France. With good planning, a semester abroad or out of residence can be a very meaningful educational experience.
The WGS page in the Handbook for Students provides more information on how to prepare for a semester abroad.
WGS only offers the graduate secondary field certificate (essentially a graduate minor). We are not able to admit graduate students directly, nor do we offer any graduate degree programs.
Students who wish to pursue the WGS graduate secondary field must be admitted to a doctoral program in one of Harvard's degree-granting departments first. For information on applying to Harvard doctoral programs, please contact the admissions office for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or one of Harvard's other graduate or professional schools.
Any student needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to present their letter from the Accessible Education Office (AEO) and speak with the professor by the end of the second week of the term. Failure to do so may result in the inability to respond in a timely manner.
All discussions will remain confidential, although AEO may be consulted to discuss appropriate implementation.
WGS does not offer any graduate degrees, and we are unable to accept graduate students as special students or visiting fellows.
If you are a graduate student who wishes to visit Harvard, you must apply to one of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' non-degree programs. Graduate students who have been accepted into one of these programs may register for WGS courses and participate in our programs.