Prospective Students, Admissions

Graduate Program Admissions: Applying to Women’s Studies

We are a small intellectual community, accepting around two students per year. We welcome applications from students with backgrounds in feminist and social justice activism, arts, and culture outside academia as well as those who have studied women, gender, and sexuality at the graduate and/or undergraduate level in any field or discipline. Prior experience with academic women, gender, and sexuality studies is preferred but not required. 

When we read applications, we are looking for:

  • an intriguing research area or project (though we recognize that this may well change during your time in the program)
  • interests that appear to be a good fit with our faculty and resources
  • evidence of a solid grounding in critical race, women, gender, and/or sexuality studies (this does not have to come from university courses in WGS)
  • a sense that you are committed to the work of a PhD and understand what it is likely to entail.

We take a holistic approach to admissions decisions. We have found that standardized test scores, such as the GRE, are not a good predictor for student success in our program. We do not prioritize GRE scores in our decision-making, although some university fellowships take them into account. 

Application Deadlines

  • PhD Application Deadline (for Fall 2020 matriculation): December 3, 2019. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you are experiencing any problems as you attempt to upload your application materials. If you have any questions, contact department staff at (The Department of Women’s Studies does not consider applications for spring semester admission.)
  • Enrollment Deadline: To accept or decline the offer, applicants must notify the Women’s Studies Department and Graduate School by April 15, 2020.

Click here for direct access to the online application portal

Application Requirements

As required by the Graduate School, all application materials are to be submitted electronically:

  • Graduate application
  • Statement of Purpose
    • Applicant’s motivations for pursuing a Ph.D. in Women’s studies
    • Specific intellectual interests in the field, and the ways in which these interests are supported by the particular strengths of our faculty, areas of concentration, and course offerings.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Transcript(s)
    • Official transcripts from all institutions attended, including all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • CV/Resume
  • TOEFL/IELTS (international graduate students)
  • Publications/Presentations
    • Writing sample of 10 pages in length (Please use a scholarly format with footnotes)
  • Non-refundable application fee ($75)

If you have any questions, please contact department staff at or the Director of Graduate Studies.

University of Maryland’s Graduate Application Process

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions.

Learn more about Graduate School Admissions to the University of Maryland

The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by the Women’s Studies graduate admissions committee. The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean.  To ensure the integrity of the application process, the University of Maryland authenticates submitted materials through TurnItIn for Admissions.

Information for International Graduate Students

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students.  International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions.

The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance.  Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents.  Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.


Applicants who do not register for classes in the semester for which they are admitted will have their admissions terminated. Students must maintain a cumulative “B” average or better in graduate course work and must satisfy all additional Women’s Studies and Graduate School requirements. In order to remain in good standing, doctoral students must be advanced to candidacy within five years of entrance, after which another four-year period is permitted for completion of the remaining requirements. Students should consult the Graduate Catalog for additional information on Graduate School policies and regulations.