College of Arts & Sciences

Gender & Women's Studies - Graduate (Ph.D)

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The Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Kentucky investigates gender broadly conceived, and the cultures and contributions of women worldwide from feminist/womanist perspectives. The purpose of the department is to develop and coordinate an interdisciplinary curriculum in Gender and Women's Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels; support critical research, teaching and public programming in Gender and Women's Studies that take into account various beliefs about gender, race, class, and sexuality; and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. The Gender and Women's Studies Department aims to serve the university and the Commonwealth through promotion of equity and commitment to excellence.

Doctoral Program Description

Applicants for the Ph.D. degree program may be accepted from any undergraduate degree field. Applicants will be accepted into the program with or without an M.A. or equivalent advanced degree. For students without an M.A., the degree will be earned as part of their Ph.D. program.

Doctoral Application Requirements

  1. CV
  2. Personal Statement


Please address each of the following questions separately. Each mini-essay should be 500 words or less.

  • Why are you interested in pursuing a doctoral program in Gender and Women's Studies, in general and specifically at the University of Kentucky? What are your current career interests, and how will a PhD in GWS facilitate them?
  • What research interests (e.g., topics, issues, or questions) do you hope to pursue in graduate school? Based on the descriptions of faculty on the department website or any interactions you may have had, which faculty member(s) in the GWS department might be a good match for your interests? (link to the faculty page on the department website)
  • Please describe experiences and skills that will help you to succeed in a doctoral program and engage in research/scholarship in Gender and Women's Studies. These can include coursework in GWS and/or other areas, research experience, work/volunteer/life experiences, and/or skills related to academics, research, or teaching.
  • The GWS program at the University of Kentucky is strongly committed to inclusion, anti-oppression, and social justice, and we emphasize the importance of intersectional and transnational approaches to scholarship, teaching, and activism. What, if any, past experiences related to diversity and/or social justice would you bring to the program? How will you contribute to these commitments as a doctoral student and future GWS scholar/teacher/professional?
  • Tell us a little bit about yourself as a student and person. What individual and interpersonal strengths would you bring to our community of scholars? What do you need or want to develop further?
  1. Writing Sample
    • ​Submit a writing sample of 15 to 40 pages (double-spaced). This writing sample should demonstrate content knowledge and your analytical skills and abilities on a topic related to gender, women's and sexuality studies. Writing samples may be seminar papers, research papers, critical literature reviews, part of a thesis, or other critical writing.
  2. No assistantship application required, however if you wish to be considered for an assistantship please upload a statement of interest.
    • In approximately 500 words, please discuss your interest in teaching and how you would approach teaching or assisting with GWS courses (e.g., teaching goals, types of activities or assignments). If you have teaching or TA experience, please describe those experiences and what you learned from them. If you do not have teaching experience, please describe the kind of teacher you hope to be, based on your experiences as a student.

  3. Three letters of recommendation

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

The GRE is not required for admission to this program.


Application Deadlines

Fall: December 15


Jennifer Hunt

Director of Graduate Studies in Gender & Women's Studies

Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies

College of Arts & Sciences

Breckinridge 206A

Lexington, KY 40506-0027