MA in Public Policy-Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies


Professor Cynthia Deitch teaching a class


The Master of Arts in Public Policy with a concentration in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) was established in 1982 as the first graduate degree formally combining the two fields. It remains a distinctive feature of Columbian College’s WGSS Program.

Located in downtown Washington, D.C., the program offers rare opportunities through networks and organizations based in the nation’s capital, allowing students to participate in policy issues important to women. Graduates enter the workforce equipped with the professional skills they need to make them competitive participants in the world of public policy.

The curriculum combines required core and electives courses from both Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and public policy, training students in the conventional social science components: economics, quantitative methods and policy analysis. The degree also provides students with the tools to criticize conventional ways of thinking about and analyzing public policy that have traditionally excluded women.



Kavita Daiya speaking to a graduate student

Graduate Study Guide

Learn more about deadlines and tuition, scholarships and theses and exam guidelines.


Thesis versus Practicum

As part of the master’s program, each student chooses to write a thesis or complete one of the practicum options. Although it is possible to complete both a thesis and a practicum, most students choose one or the other.


Course Requirements 

Completion of WGSS 2120 and WGSS 2125 (or equivalent), or permission from the instructor, is a prerequisite for all graduate-level WGSS courses. WGSS majors and WGSS graduate students are exempt from this prerequisite.


Contact your advisor or reach out to our advising faculty.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

36 credits. Students must complete either a thesis or practicum and a master's comprehensive examination.

Required (36 credits of coursework with or without a thesis)
WGSS 6220Fundamentals of Feminist Theory
WGSS 6240Gender and Public Policy
WGSS 6221Research Issues in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Public Policy Core
PPPA 6002Research Methods and Applied Statistics
PPPA 6003Economics for Public Decision-Making
PPPA 6006Policy Analysis
And one of the following: an additional PPPA course, PHIL 6230, PHIL 6242, WGSS 6265, or SOC 6265.
6 credits from one of the following options:
WGSS 6283Practicum in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
WGSS 6283
WGSS 6295
Practicum in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
and Independent Research in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
WGSS 6998
WGSS 6999
Thesis Research
and Thesis Research
Electives (9 credits)
All candidates are required to pass a Master's Comprehensive Examination

This program is affiliated with the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration