This nine-month interdisciplinary Master's degree equips students with the critical and research tools needed for women's studies in the humanities. It provides a systematic introduction to feminist theory, highlighting women's contribution to culture and history alongside critical analysis and theorisation of the meanings assigned to the category 'woman' in philosophical, literary, socio-cultural, and historical thought. It also provides the practical equipment necessary to engage in original research into topics in the humanities relating to women and to gender, in a university with unrivalled facilities for both traditional and computer-age researches. Teaching is delivered through close individual supervision, as well as a carefully designed programme of lectures and classes led by specialists from a wide variety of disciplines; hence it promotes collaborative work as well as the development of independent and original scholarship.
Students follow an intensive core course, combining introductions to feminist theory and to methodologies/methods of research. They take, and are examined (by coursework essay) on, two Options, drawn from a list of up to thirty covering a very wide range of topics. The Options allow deepening of skills acquired in a first degree or the development of new skills under specialist teaching, which can be further practised in the third assessed element of the course, a closely supervised Dissertation on a subject of the candidate's own choice.
Five faculties within Humanities contribute option choices and supervision expertise to the degree: English, History, Classics, Philosophy and Modern Languages. The programme does not normally involve departments within the Social Sciences.
Whilst students are pursuing the Women’s Studies course, they are also encouraged to go to lectures and seminars organised by individual faculties, which might help them to frame their immediate or future projects.