Graduate Bulletin

Fall 2019

Requirements for the M.A. Degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required: 

A. Course Requirements
The minimum course requirement for the M.A. degree is 30 graduate credit hours. An M.A. candidate is expected to take:

1. WST 600 Feminist Interdisciplinary Histories and Methods
2. WST 601 Feminist Theories
3. WST 698  Practicing Women’s and Gender Studies
4.Two additional WST courses numbered 600 or higher

The remaining courses may be distributed among graduate offerings in other appropriate fields. A student must achieve a 3.5 overall grade point average for all graduate courses taken at Stony Brook to receive a degree. 

B. First-Year Evaluation
In the middle of the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies requests a report on progress from the student that asks them to comment on their progress through the degree program and prepares a file for the student’s first-year evaluation. It consists of (1) the student’s grades and (2) the submitted progress report. Students may submit any other relevant material such as a seminar paper or original essay. The graduate studies committee will discuss the student’s progress and evaluate the dossier in order to decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.

C. Satisfactory Progress Toward the M.A.
Because so many factors depend on satisfactory progress toward the degree, it is important for students to be aware of and monitor their own progress. The following define the minimum limits for satisfactory progress for full-time students:

1. Maintain a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study, as well as complete all incomplete grades by the first deadline. Students who fail to fulfill these requirements in any semester will be automatically placed on probation during the following semester and will be subject to possible dismissal. 

2. Receive an acceptable first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study.

D. Foreign Language Requirements 
Students must show competence in a foreign language if it is necessary for their M.A. thesis research topic. Competence in a foreign language can be demonstrated by (1) earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course or (2) passing a language examination to be taken with a dictionary. If relevant, the student must have passed the language requirements before they are allowed to submit their M.A. thesis. 

E. M.A. Examination 
M.A. students will complete a thesis on a substantive topic in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies requiring original research. The student will form a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom must be from the WGSS graduate faculty, who will supervise the project and give final approval. The student's examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements. 

F. Advisor and Mentor 
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of graduate studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose an official graduate advisor from the WGSS core faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Students are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.

G. Residence Requirements
The University requires that students receiving an M.A. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study, which usually means 12 credits per semester.


Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required: 

A. Course Requirements 
1. WST 600 Feminist Interdisciplinary Histories and Methods
2. WST 601 Feminist Theories
3. WST 698 Practicing Women's and Gender Studies
4. WST 680 Interdisciplinary Research Design
5. Twelve additional graduate courses, at least three of which must be WST courses numbered 600 or higher or appropriate graduate level seminars offered by another department and cross-listed by WGSS.

A minimum of 48 credits of graduate work is required for the Ph.D. Students who hold an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies or a related discipline can request that their transcripts be evaluated by the graduate studies committee and may receive a maximum of 30 credits toward their Ph.D. 

All students seeking the Ph.D. must take the required courses listed above, unless the graduate program committee accepts comparable courses taken previously. All Ph.D. students must acquire a minimum of one semester of formal teaching experience (even if they are unsupported or are on a fellowship requiring no teaching duties) and must concurrently take the formal teaching practicum (WST 698). 

The Women’s and Gender Studies Teaching Practicum prepares students to teach an introductory course in Women’s and Gender Studies by engaging with recent developments in feminist pedagogy. Students will observe introductory and upper-level classes in WGSS, and write a syllabus for Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (WST 102 or WST 103), as well as a syllabus rationale and teaching philosophy. At the same time, we will consider broader questions about the university as an institution in the current moment, and the place of Women’s and Gender Studies within the contemporary university. Along with a consideration of the changing practices and objects of feminist knowledge production, we will also discuss the changing politics and economics of academia, and the impact of the wider academic milieu on what and how knowledge is produced. 

Students must take the required courses when they are offered, and cannot replace them by Independent Study courses, except in the most unusual circumstances and by petition to the director of graduate studies at the beginning of the term the course is offered. The petition has to be signed by the person directing the Independent Study and must be approved by the graduate studies committee.

Students taking any . Under exceptional circumstances, the director of graduate studies may approve Independent Study under another department's designator. A maximum of six credits of Independent Study courses is applicable to the degree requirements for the Ph.D. All such courses must be approved by the director of graduate studies before the end of the add/drop period of the semester during which they are to be taken. All students taking Independent Study or Directed Reading courses must file a detailed description, for which forms are available in the Department office. Failure to have these courses approved in a timely fashion will result in de-registration or in denial of credit for the courses.

B. First-Year Evaluation 
In the middle of the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies requests a report on progress from the student that asks them to comment on their progress through the degree program (seminars taken, TA assignments given, conferences attended, papers submitted for publication etc). A file for the student’s first-year evaluation. will be collated and will include 1) the student’s grades, 2) and, if the student is a teaching assistant, a letter of evaluation from appropriate faculty, 3) student evaluations, and 4) the progress report. Students may submit any other relevant material such as a seminar paper or original essay. The graduate studies committee will meet to discuss the progress of the student, evaluate the dossier, and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program. In May of the second year, and each year following, the student will complete a report on progress in the program, including specific progress towards degree (coursework, qualifying exams, dissertation proposal, and dissertation) and other achievements (funding, research, presentations, and publications). They will then meet with the director of graduate studies or dissertation advisor to discuss their progress in the program. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the report and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program. C. Satisfactory Progress toward the Ph.D.

In addition to requirements above, Ph.D. students must fulfill the following requirements: 

1. Maintain at least a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study. There is a one-year maximum limit on incompletes. A student may accumulate no more than two incomplete grades in any one semester or he/she will no longer be considered a Student in Good Standing, a prerequisite to continue in the program. As a result, the student will lose his or her T.A. line as well as face likely dismissal from the program; 

2. Receive a satisfactory first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study, and satisfactory progress report each following May; 

3. Satisfy the language requirement before the comprehensive examination; 

4. Complete all core courses in the first two years of full-time study and all 48 credits for the Ph.D. in three years; 

5. Take the comprehensive examination no later than one year after completion of coursework; 

6. Submit and defend a dissertation proposal in the semester following satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination, no later than one year after completion of coursework. 

By rules of the Graduate School, students must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years after completing 24 credits of graduate work in the Stony Brook department in which they are registered. In rare instances, the Graduate School will entertain a petition to extend this time limit, provided it bears the endorsement of the department. The program may require evidence that the student is still properly prepared for completion of the degree. In particular, the student may be required to pass the comprehensive examination again in order to be permitted to continue work. 

D. Foreign Language Requirements 
Entering graduate students are expected to have a good command of at least one foreign language. All language requirements must be met before students sit for their comprehensive examination. 

All students are also required to demonstrate full command of written and spoken English, the language of instruction in most Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies courses.

Whenever possible, language exams for students will be given by core or associate faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Each exam will be read by a faculty member.

Competence in a foreign language can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

1. By earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course taught by one of the foreign language departments at Stony Brook. Credits for a graduate translation course do not count toward the total credits required for the M.A. or the Ph.D. degree in Women’s and Gender Studies.

2. By passing an examination consisting of two parts, each one hour long, to be taken with a dictionary: a) a short theoretical, critical, or scholarly article that the student is required to summarize and discuss in English; b) a translation of a short scholarly article or passage of medium difficulty.

3. By passing an hour-long oral examination. This option is encouraged for students intending to do interviewing or field research for their dissertation.

E. Comprehensive Examination 
Comprehensive Examination in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Full-time students who are candidates for the Ph.D. will normally take their comprehensive examination no more than one year after completing their course work. Completing the language requirement is a prerequisite for sitting for the examination. 

Committee for the Examination: will comprise of three faculty members, one of whom will act as Chair of the exam.Faculty will be selected by the student in consultation with the director of graduate studies, their advisor, or/and the chair of the exam committee. At least two of the three members of the examination committee must be members of the WGSS core or graduate associate faculty. At least two of the members of the committee must be physically present at the oral examination. In most cases, this committee will be the same as the committee for the student’s dissertation, which will provide continuity between the comprehensive examination and the writing of the dissertation.

Reading Lists: A reading list for all three parts enumerated below will be compiled by the student with the help of the examination committee. The student's examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements. The list must be approved by all members of the student’s committee. Students should submit a description of the special area, related to the dissertation, along with the reading list (see below).

Examination: The examination is written, with each of the three areas of examination (see below) scheduled for one day (8 hours). The written exam will be followed within 1-2 weeks by an in- person discussion (oral exam) of the student’s written exam. Questions posed by examiners will be based on the three reading lists for the examination. The examination may be passed, passed with distinction, failed, or failed in part. In case of failure, the examination may be retaken once, but no later than the end of the semester following the time when it was initially scheduled. In case of partial failure, the second examination will cover only the area(s) on which the candidate's performance was inadequate.

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies comprehensive examination will consist of three parts.

1. Feminist theories/interdisciplinary methods

2. One of the doctoral program’s four areas of specialization (transnational social movements and globalization; the politics of representation and media analysis; critical analysis of sexuality; and gender and health)

3. Special area (related to the student’s dissertation project)

F. Advancement to Candidacy 
Advancement to candidacy is granted by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the director of graduate studies after a successful comprehensive examination. Again, all other requirements must have been met before the student sits for the comprehensive examination. Students who have passed their Ph.D. comprehensive exam will be deemed to have passed the equivalent of the master's exam and be granted a M. Phil. degree unless they already have a master's degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from another institution. The student must file appropriate papers with the department and graduate school to obtain the M.A. degree.

G. Dissertation
The dissertation represents the culmination of the student's degree program and should be a serious contribution to scholarship. 

Within three months of passing the comprehensive examination, the student must be prepared to schedule the Dissertation Proposal Review (Prospectus). This must be scheduled at a date no later than one year after completion of coursework.

As soon as possible, after the Comprehensive Examination, the candidate should choose a dissertation director, as well as the two readers of the dissertation, from the WGSS core or associate faculty. Generally, this will be the same as or based on the comprehensive examination committee. The director of the dissertation must be a member of the WGSS faculty, though a student can submit a petition to the director of graduate studies to request an associate faculty member serve as their dissertation director. In consultation with the dissertation director and the readers, the candidate drafts a dissertation proposal. Dissertation Proposal: The dissertation proposal, which must be appropriate to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, should be between 2000 and 5000 words, not counting footnotes or bibliography, and should include the following:

• Title of the dissertation;
• Description of the topic and its appropriateness for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in focus and method;
• The rationale behind the choice of topic, and the anticipated contribution of the proposed research to knowledge;
• A discussion of the argument your dissertation will advance;
• Current state of research on the topic and a basic bibliography;
• Description of research methods.

When the director and readers have approved the proposal, the student and the director will schedule a Dissertation Prospectus Review to be attended by the student, the director, and all other members of the dissertation committee. Faculty and/or graduate students may be invited to the review at the discretion of the student. The review should be no less than one hour in length. The director, the readers, and others in attendance will discuss the proposal with the student in order to insure that the student is ready to proceed with the project. When the director and the readers agree that the student is ready, they will sign off on the proposal and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies. The candidate then proceeds to the dissertation.

Guidelines for Dissertation Prospectus Review

• The student will circulate her or his proposal to all members of the committee three weeks prior to the review.
• The student will begin the review with a summary of the project in less than five minutes. They should clearly communicate the core thesis of the prospective dissertation.
• The members of the committee will then ask questions and make suggestions.
• The student should take notes during the meeting and make sure that they understand what the committee is suggesting.
• At the end of the meeting, the student will be asked to leave the room so that the members of the committee can discuss whether or not they are ready to sign off on the proposal. If the members of the committee are satisfied that the student is prepared to begin writing the dissertation, they will sign off on the document and send it to the DGS.
• In some cases the committee may decide not to sign and request a revised proposal. If the members of the committee are satisfied with the revised proposal, there is no need for a second dissertation prospectus review. In some cases, however, the committee may decide that a second review is necessary.

Dissertation:Although there are no strict regulations on length, dissertations will normally be between 200 and 400 pages, not including bibliography and other supplemental material. The dissertation committee may, in special cases and with justification, allow a student to submit a shorter or longer dissertation. The student should discuss with their dissertation director and committee members their expectations for their involvement in the research/writing process.

When the dissertation has been completed in accordance with guidelines published in Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, legible copies of the complete dissertation must be given to all committee members at least one month in advance of the scheduled defense.

All dissertation defenses shall take place on campus and require the full attendance of the dissertation examining committee. Any exceptions from this practice will require approval from the Dean of the Graduate School. Campus Audio/Video Services can be employed in the event that either a committee member or the defending student cannot be on the premises due to extenuating circumstances. While the examining committee may wish to hold the committee examination of the defense in private, the public presentation of the defense will be open to the university community and should be advertised campus-wide three weeks prior to the scheduled date. A minimum of three weeks prior to the dissertation defense, the dissertation abstract, approved by the student’s advisor and director of graduate studies, must be submitted to the Graduate School with details of the time and location for the defense. The Graduate School will be responsible for advertising the defense to the university community.

The dissertation examining committee will set up the ground rules for the defense, which usually involves the student giving a short précis of the research problem, the research method, and the results. This is followed by questions from the Committee and, if the committee so desires, from the audience.

H. Teaching Assistantships 
For Ph.D. students awarded teaching assistantships, four years of full support is the department's norm. Awards are renewable annually, provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress towards the degree and performs teaching duties appropriately (see above, Satisfactory Progress). Students (other than Graduate Council fellows and Turner fellows) should not count on assistantship resources beyond the fourth year of study. 

During their first year, Ph.D. students will normally be placed as teaching assistants in a WGSS lecture courses. After the first year, students’ teaching obligation may be fulfilled in several ways depending on departmental needs, including assisting an instructor in a large course or teaching a small section of a 200-level or 300-level women’s and gender studies class. While placements will vary according to student and program needs and constraints, every effort will be made to provide each student with the available range of teaching experiences.

T.A. assignments differ, but the amount of work required cannot exceed 20 hours per week. T.A.s will usually: Hold office hours to review course materials, assist in grading, and discuss other course-related issues with undergraduates; attend classes (graduate courses will be scheduled to minimize interference with T.A. assignments) and read all required entries on the syllabus; lead discussion groups; grade exams, homework, and other written material.

The performance of teaching assistants is monitored by evaluation forms given to undergraduate students at the end of each semester, as well as by faculty members who visit certain classes taught by the T.A. and submit a written evaluation. Stipends of teaching assistants may be terminated if (on the basis of these evaluations and other relevant criteria) the graduate studies committee judges that they have been deficient in carrying out their teaching duties. Superior work as a T.A. is highly valued by the WGSS faculty and by the Graduate School. In the past, several T.A’.s from WGSS have won the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. This and other prizes for which T.A.’s are eligible carry a cash award.

I. Advisor and Mentor 
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of graduate studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose an official graduate advisor from the WGSS core or graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. The advisor will most often end up directing the student’s dissertation. Students are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty. Students will have selected a dissertation committee by the end of their third year. 

J. Residence Requirement 
The University requires that students receiving a Ph.D. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study. For those entering without prior graduate study or with fewer than 24 graduate credits, this usually means 12 credits per semester; for those entering with more than 24 graduate credits or with advanced standing provided by prior graduate work, this would mean 9 credits per semester.


The Graduate Certificate Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers a course of study that leads to the Graduate Certificate in WGSS. The program has affiliated faculty members from more than 20 different programs in the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and health sciences. The program is designed to allow students working toward a degree in departments such as Art, English, History, Philosophy, Theatre, Music, , Psychology, or Sociology to draw on faculty whose work deals with gender and sexuality issues in a wide range of disciplines. Since WGSS has affiliates in nearly every department in the social sciences and humanities, the certificate program offers graduate students the opportunity for an unusually rich interdisciplinary experience.

The graduate certificate entails three required seminars—feminist theory, feminist histories and methodologies, and the teaching practicum in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies— and two electives that can be taken with affiliated faculty in the student’s home department or from a list of seminars offered by faculty affiliates in other departments. Recent and future courses offered by our core faculty and affiliates include, for example, “Modernism and Cultural Studies,” “Madness and Civilization, 1960-1980,” “Globalization and Gender,” “Fashion in Theory and Film,” and “Race, Gender, and Global Culture,” and “Silk, Gold and Spices: Literature and International Trade.” Where courses are not available for a particular topic, students may arrange directed readings with an affiliated faculty member.

It is expected that most students can fulfill the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in WGSS while working toward the master’s, doctoral, or other degree. Students should consult with their home program to determine whether the credits earned in the certificate program can be used toward their degrees.


Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Graduate Certificate Program in WGSS is designed to provide an interdisciplinary course of instruction for students already enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program or to those admitted to the free-standing Graduate Certificate Program. To earn the certificate, students must complete a minimum of 15 graduate credits in courses approved for the Certificate Program. Approved credits earned toward a graduate degree in another program or department may be applied toward the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. Students should consult with their home programs to determine whether credits earned for the certificate can be applied to the master’s or doctoral degree.

Core Requirements (9 credits):

WST 600 Histories and Methods of Gender Studies
WST 601 Feminist Theories
WST 698 Practicing Women’s and Gender Studies

Electives (6 credits): 
Only one elective (3 credits) may be a readings course taken with an affiliated faculty member and with approval from the WGSS graduate director.

For more information, contact 
Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Room 2048, Humanities Building 
SUNY Stony Brook 
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5356 
(631) 632-1967