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.



Graduate Virtual Open House



Graduate Virtual Open House: October 18–28

Registration is open for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) Graduate Virtual Open House! The online event includes program-specific information sessions and opportunities to engage with current graduate students, faculty and our admissions team.

The WGSS Program is hosting an information session for prospective graduate students on Tuesday, October 26 at 1 p.m. EDT.


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, including 24 credits in required courses, 9 credits in electives, and 3 credits of practicum or thesis research. 

WGSS 6220Fundamentals of Feminist Theory
WGSS 6240Gender and Public Policy
WGSS 6221Research Issues in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
WGSS 6299Capstone Research Seminar
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.
Practicum or Thesis (3 credits)
WGSS 6283Practicum in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
or WGSS 6999 Thesis Research
9 credits in electives that may be chosen from policy, WGSS, or other approved courses

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