Doctoral Program Frequently Asked Questions

Application-Related Questions

Q.  When will applications be due?
A.
  Our next doctoral cohort will enroll in Fall 2018. Our application deadline for Fall 2018 is February 1, 2018; by this date, your application should be entirely complete. The online application form will be available after July 1, 2017.

Q. Where do I send my application materials?
A. Prospective students who want to pursue a Ph. D. in Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies must fulfill requirements for both the TWU Graduate School and the MWGS PhD Program. For more information on what the Graduate School requires and where to send it see the catalog.

Admission to the MWGS program requires the following: 

  1. Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can address the applicant's past academic performance and future academic potential in the field of WGS.
  2. A statement of purpose: a short essay (approximately 1,000 words) discussing the applicant's personal and professional goals and how TWU's Ph.D. program in Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies can assist the applicant in meeting these goals.
  3. A writing sample: an academic paper not to exceed twenty-five pages, including notes and references.
  4. A current curriculum vitae or resumé.

These documents must be sent directly to the department via our womenstudies@twu.edu email address or mailed to the MWGS Department's physical address.

Q.  Why did you go to an alternating-year admission process?
A.
  We revised our admission policy in order to maintain our cohort model (which is one of our program distinctions), while assisting students in completing their degrees in a timely fashion. Our alternating-year admissions also enables students to receive additional faculty attention.

Q.  I really want to apply to your program, but I hate waiting an additional year. Do you have any suggestions for me?
A.
  Yes. If you do not have a background in women’s and gender studies, you could take graduate-level courses in the field. While taking such courses doesn't guarantee your admission into our doctoral program, it strengthens your application. If you have a master’s degree in womens and gender studies, you might consider taking master’s-level courses in another field, like English or Sociology; doing so could strengthen your application, especially if you can connect these courses with your projected concentration and professional goals.

Q.  I don't have a masters degree, but I do have a bachelors degree. May I apply to the doctoral program without a masters degree?
A.
  Unconditional acceptance into the doctoral program in Multicultural Womens and Gender Studies requires a masters degree; however, if you are currently enrolled in a Masters program you are welcome to apply.

Q.  I have not completed my masters degree, but it will be completed before the admitting semester. May I apply to the doctoral program before I complete my masters degree?
A.
  Yes! We encourage you to apply! Since you are currently working on and anticipate finishing your masters degree before enrolling in our program, you are very welcome to apply. 

Q.  Is it necessary to have a masters degree in womens or gender studies to apply to this doctoral program?
A.
  No. We welcome applicants with masters degrees in other areas of study. We do, however, expect that applicants will have an understanding of the field as well as some familiarity with feminist and/or womanist theories.

Q.  I did not complete a thesis as part of my masters degree. Am I still eligible to apply to your doctoral program?
A.
  Yes. We welcome your application!

Q.  I have never taken a womens studies course; however, I am well-versed in feminist/womanist theories, and I have a solid understanding of womens and gender studies. Am I still eligible to apply to your doctoral program?
A.
  Yes! You are very welcome to apply to our doctoral program. Be sure to indicate your knowledge about the field in your personal essay.

Q.  Can people with no background in womens or gender studies apply?
A.
  Yes. However, the strongest applications indicate familiarity with feminist and/or womanist theories and with multicultural theory. If you have no course work in these areas, you should be sure that your writing sample and your personal essay demonstrate your familiarity with these areas. If you are unfamiliar with these fields, you should consider taking some graduate work in the field before applying.

Q.  I understand that this is a highly selective program, and I want my application to be as strong as possible. Do you have any suggestions for how I can strengthen my application?
A.  Yes! The Admissions Committee pays close attention to the personal essay and the writing sample; you should take these items very seriously. For suggestions on how to present your best work, please see the NWSA's Guide to Graduate Work in Women's and Gender Studies. We strongly encourage you to carefully read and follow their guidelines.

Q.  What are you looking for in prospective students?
A.
  We’re interested in accepting into our program students with the following characteristics and experiences:

  1. A clear understanding of the field of women's and gender studies, including, whenever possible, previous coursework in feminist and/or womanist theories and other related fields.
  2. A solid knowledge of multicultural issues (defined broadly) and feminist/womanist theories.
  3. Strong writing and research skills.
  4. A statement of purpose that discusses specific intellectual questions that the prospective student would like to pursue in the context of our doctoral program. It is especially helpful for the statement of purpose to indicate specifically why the student would like to study at TWU, including which specific courses sound appealing and which professors the student would like to study with.
  5. Strong letters of recommendation (normally from professors who have taught the applicant) addressing the students potential for success in a doctoral program in women's studies.
  6. A GPA of a minimum of 3.5 in the previous master's degree.
  7. Academic teaching experience or professional experience in community/social service organizations.

Q.  I know that as part of the admissions process you require a writing sample of up to 25 pages. Rather than send one 25-page paper, may I submit several shorter papers?
A.
  No! In order to accurately assess your preparation for doctoral-level work, we must see one longer essay. (At a minimum, your writing sample should be twelve pages–not including notes and references.)

Q.  I am an international student and am fluent in English.  Do I need to take an English proficiency test?
A.
  The Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies Department adheres to the University's requirements for applications from international students. For information concerning requirements for international students, please see International Education.

Q.  How many applicants do you accept each admissions cycle?
A.
  We accept approximately six students per admitting year in order to ensure a high-quality doctoral experience. (We follow a cohort model, where students enter as a cohort and take several core courses together. These seminars are exclusive to the cohort.)

Program-Related Questions

Q.  Can this program be completed online?
A.  No. The Doctoral Program in Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies is not a distance-education program. All of the core required courses and many of the optional courses are taught in a face-to-face format. Courses meet once a week on the Denton campus in the afternoon or evening. We strongly encourage students to live in the local area, so that they can develop working relationships with their peers and participate in University life.

Q.  Could I begin the program in the spring semester?
A.  No. In order to ensure a high-quality cohort experience, we require all new students to begin in the fall semester of the admitting year. The next admitting year is Fall 2018.

Q.  I work full-time. Could I attend part-time?
A.  Due to the intensive nature of the courses, as well as state requirements for completion timeliness, we expect students to attend full-time.

Q.  How long will the program take to complete?
A.  The proposed program requires a minimum of 90 semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. Up to 42 semester credit hours from a previous master's degree will count toward the degree plan if approved by the student's advisory committee. The program can be completed in a minimum of four years.

Q.  What kinds of teaching opportunities will doctoral students receive?
A.
  Full-time doctoral students will receive opportunities to teach undergraduate courses in Multicultural Womens and Gender Studies that are offered for the University's Multicultural-Women's Studies core curriculum requirement. These courses will include "Gender and Social Change," "U.S. Women of Colors," and "Feminist Theories".

Q.  What are the costs of attending TWU?
A.
  Tuition and fees are listed on the Bursar home page. Out-of-state students receiving a scholarship of at least $1,000 may qualify for in-state tuition rates. For more information about financial aid, visit the TWU Office of Financial Aid page.  

Q.  Where is Texas Woman’s University?
A.
  Doctoral courses in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies are offered on the main campus of TWU in Denton, Texas, a thriving community of over 100,000 people approximately 40 miles north of the metropolitan area of Dallas-Ft. Worth. TWU is the nation’s largest university primarily for women and one of the most diverse in the country. Denton is a lively community with a great music scene; it is home to two public universities (TWU and University of North Texas).