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.
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 adviser in each concentration.
For more information, please visit the Advising 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.
Visiting scholar positions are unpaid, non-teaching research appointments that enable scholars who have completed a Ph.D. and hold tenure-track appointments at other institutions to conduct research at Harvard University.
WGS welcomes a limited number of qualified visitors whose academic interests intersect directly with the teaching and research activities of our faculty. Because faculty and students thrive on intellectual engagement with guest researchers, visitors are encouraged to participate actively in the life of WGS and the University, attending lectures, conferences, film showings, and classes with the permission of the instructor. Visitors may be invited to present an informal talk or seminar during their stay.
Although visiting scholar appointments carry no financial support of any kind, they enable a visiting researcher to obtain a Harvard ID card, which gives access to university libraries, museums, and an email address. The University does not provide visa assistance for scholars coming from outside the U.S. Visitors are entirely responsible for obtaining funding, making their own travel and living arrangements, and obtaining health insurance. WGS is unable to provide office space or supplies.
The appointment is made for a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year. All appointments follow the academic year (start date can be no earlier than July 1, and end date no later than June 30).
All visiting scholars must obtain faculty sponsorship and conduct research in a field directly related to current faculty interests. Please visit our Faculty page to determine if any active faculty interests closely match your own. (Note: Lecturers or faculty on leave are not eligible to sponsor visitors.) Contact the faculty member directly to inquire about sponsorship. Please provide the faculty member with:
- A complete CV
- A cover letter stating the dates you wish to be at Harvard
- A detailed research proposal
If the faculty member agrees to support your application, please email all materials as attached Microsoft Word or PDF documents to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Visiting scholar application.” Application deadline is January 15 for the following academic year (January 15, 2020 for the 2020-21 academic year). Incomplete applications and those received without the pre-approval of a faculty sponsor will not be considered.
Visiting scholar applications will be reviewed by February 28. If your proposal is chosen, you will be notified in early March with further instructions. Please note you are welcome to apply to other Harvard departments at the same time if you have identified faculty in other programs who also match your research needs.
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.