Combined PhD Program in WGSS


The WGSS Program at Yale is proud to announce our new Combined PhD degree! We are thrilled to work with a new generation of scholars committed to feminist and queer inquiry, and to researching gender and sexuality across axes of difference and inequality. Our faculty work on questions of gender and sexuality from a wide range of theoretical and methodological locations, concentrating our attention on transnational politics and security regimes, public law and sexual violence, reproduction and reproductive technologies, incarceration, social movements and protest, race and racism, neoliberalism, and Islam. We hope you will join us to pursue your WGSS scholarship.

Students may pursue a Combined PhD in WGSS with one of our five spartnering departments: African American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, English or Sociology.

Program Requirements


In their first two years of study, students in the Combined PhD program will complete Introduction to Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS 600), Feminist and Queer Theory (WGSS 700), Methods in Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS 800)* and one elective.  Typically, electives taken in the student’s partnering Department will be cross-titled with WGSS or will substantively examine gender and sexuality.  Students will enroll for two sequential semesters in WGSS 900, Colloquium & Working Group.  The Colloquium and Working Group convene several Monday evenings throughout the semester; faculty and graduate students present works in progress.

*The WGSS DGS will determine, case-by-case, whether or not the methods course offered by the student’s primary department fulfills our methods requirement.

WGSS 600: Introduction to Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies (typically offered fall semester)

Introduction to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies as a field of knowledge and to the interdiscipline’s structuring questions and tensions. The course genealogizes feminist and queer knowledge production, and the institutionalization of WGSS, by examining several of our key terms.

WGSS 700: Feminist & Queer Theory (typically offered spring semester)

Survey of feminist and queer theoretic contestations, focusing both on historical foundations and contemporary articulations. Students examine the Marxist, critical race, postcolonial, transnational and liberal philosophical coordinates of feminist and queer theories.

WGSS 800: Methods in Gender & Sexuality Studies (offered alternate years)

A practical forum that explores interdisciplinary methods and modes of analysis and evidence building for research in WGSS. Examines interventions from cultural studies, archive studies, ethnography, STS and media studies. Foci on the historicity of knowledge production, ethical research, and scholarship examining (what’s “feminist” or “queer” about) feminist and queer methods.

Teaching Fellowship

WGSS Combined PhD students will typically teach or serve as a teaching fellow in their third and fourth years in the program, unless their dissertation research plans require other arrangements. The courses will usually be WGSS-titled and undergraduate level.

Dissertation Proposal

Students in their third year of study will undertake a dissertation proposal workshop with faculty from the WGSS program.


Students will typically research and write their dissertations in their final two- to three-years of study. At least one faculty committee member of the student’s dissertation will hold a primary, tenured or tenure-track appointment in WGSS.

How to Apply

To apply to the Combined PhD in WGSS (and AFAM, AMST, ANTH, ENGL or SOCY), please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences admissions page.  The deadline to submit an application to a combined program is always the earlier deadline of the two individual programs, or December 15, whichever comes first.

Requirements for Transfer into the Combined Ph.D. Program

Students already pursuing a Ph.D. in one of the five partnering departments and programs listed above may apply for transfer into the combined Ph.D. in WGSS.

Interested students should submit a departmental transfer request form and a 2-3 page statement of interest describing why you wish to pursue the Combined Ph.D. to  Please indicate whether you have completed WGSS 600 and/or WGSS 900, and if not, when you intend to do so.  Your statement of interest should also outline a plan of completion for any outstanding WGSS course requirements.  
Only current students in the first or second year of their degree study in American Studies, Anthropology, English, and Sociology are eligible to apply.  (Interested students in their *first* year of other Ph.D. programmes may apply to do an ad hoc combined degree with WGSS, but must first get permission from their current DGS.  See here for more information about ad hoc joint degrees.) 

For admission in fall 2024, please submit your form and statement of interest to by 15 December 2023. The WGSS graduate admissions committee hopes to inform applicants of its decisions in early March 2024.

Still have questions? Please see the Combined PhD FAQs.