Women and gender studies is an interdisciplinary field. This field often involves analyzing and using methods from multiple areas to create new interpretations of accepted ideas. In addition, scholars and activists from various fields have contributed to this discipline. There are many ways to get involved in gender studies and feminism as an MIT student.
UROP is not just for scientific research. Opportunities exist within MIT to be involved in social sciences and humanities. Don’t be afraid to contact a professor to inquire about UROPs; many professors don’t advertise their UROP openings. Check out professors’ websites, look into their work, talk to professors in class/office hours. And if you’re curious about their work or research, send them an email.
UROP Postings: http://web.mit.edu/urop/research/openings.html
WGS UROP Postings: http://web.mit.edu/urop/research/profiles/wgs.html
List of WGS Professors: http://web.mit.edu/wgs/people/
MIT Women’s Oral History Project: http://www.mit.edu/~fll/projects/OralHistory.shtml
UROP with “21 Days of Questions/365 Days of Action” Campaign to End Domestic Violence: contact Lauren Jefferson firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Ceasar McDowell email@example.com
Because WGS is such an interdisciplinary field, many WGS academics do graduate study in other disciplines. These other disciplines (most commonly law, social work, education, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, literature) serve as a base for analysis and research into gender issues. Some humanities PhD programs offer a concentration or certificate in gender studies.
MA and PhD programs in gender studies exist, and many universities are in the process of developing graduate courses of study in WGS. Many MA programs in gender studies allow for joint study in another department as well. Graduates of PhD programs in gender studies go on to become professors or lecturers in universities, and directors for women’s health research or community organizations. Graduates of MA programs go on to be gender equality activists in a variety of fields, including medicine, law, journalism, literature, social work, among others.
Note that the content and flavor of each program varies drastically, due to the diverse nature of feminism and WGS. When researching a program, consider its geographical location, course content, and speak to students or faculty who have had direct interaction with the program. Also note that unlike graduate school in science and engineering, many graduate programs in WGS are not funded.
Before applying to a program, identify faculty whose research matches your interests. This will help you target your application towards a specific program. Be educated about the course requirements to be eligible for the program. Some programs have minimum credit requirements for undergraduate WGS courses. Many MIT courses in 9, 24, 17, STS, 21L, 21A, 21F can also satisfy this requirement. Talk to an MIT WGS professor and admissions representative from the graduate program about your plans.
Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto:
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University:
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley:
Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz:
Women’s Studies, UCLA:
A medical career can be combined with feminist activism. Joint MD and MPH degrees supplement a traditional medical education with the tools a physician needs to impact public policy or work in public health settings. The MD/MPH option is usually completed in 5 years. Some MPH programs allow students to concentrate in Women’s Health, LGBTQ issues, Global Health, or other areas. Specialties like psychiatry, pediatrics, and gynecology are especially relevant to feminist activism. Many notable self-defined feminists (like Nancy Chodorow and Judith Herman) come from a mental health or medical background.
MIT Prehealth Advising: http://gecd.mit.edu/grad_school/health/
Direct service work can be a rewarding, effective, and emotionally intense way of helping to end gendered violence and oppression. Many community organizations offer internships for undergraduate students, under the supervision of a licensed social worker or clinical professional. Although many students of social work or psychology seek out these internships as a degree requirement, people with a science background are equally qualified and eligible for these internships.
Most social work internships are unpaid. Consider applying for funding in conjunction with an internship.
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
The Network la Red
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
Feminism and philosophy naturally intersect. Questions regarding the nature of humans as gendered beings and how a society should function lie within the domain of philosophy and WGS. Furthermore, feminist philosophy is a burgeoning field, and there is much room for growth in this area.
Consider taking a class cross-listed in WGS and Philosophy: 24.237J Feminist Thought
Notable MIT philosophy faculty:
Professor Sally Haslanger, Director of the MIT Women and Gender Studies Department
Professor Rae Langton, teaches 24.201 Topics in Western Philosophy, recently published book Sexual Solipsism: Philosophical Essays on Pornography and Objectification
Other philosophy resources:
Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory, Summer Institute for Undergraduates
Rutgers University, Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy
Feminist Philosophers Blog: