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).
Women, Gender, and Sexuality has a very strong advising system. Concentrators are encouraged to meet regularly with their concentration advisers to discuss their academic progress and future plans. During the registration period each term, concentrators are required to meet with their advisers to discuss their program and have their study cards signed. Joint concentrators typically have an advisor in each concentration.
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
WGS concentrators have gone on to successful careers in a variety of fields, including academia, business, law, science, and medicine. You can see a sampling of some of the work pursued by our graduates on our Alumni page.
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.
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
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.
Visiting scholar positions are unpaid, non-teaching research appointments that enable an individual, ordinarily a ladder faculty member on paid leave from another institution, to carry out his or her own work in association with a Harvard faculty member or members. Potential scholars must have a current research project in a field of study directly relating to the research interests of the current available faculty.