Introduction to the Women’s and Gender Studies Concentration/Dual Degree

This month the MPPSA blog will focus on our Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) program. The Heller School currently offers two options for Public Policy students who are interested in studying, evaluating, and critiquing policy initiatives that intersect with gender and sexuality. The first option is a Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) concentration, which is similar to the other concentrations within the MPP program.

The other option is a dual Masters in Public Policy and Master of Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) dual degree, in which students take courses both within and out of Heller. This option allows students to gain an interdisciplinary approach to policy implementation, as well as an intersectional framework for understanding the role that race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, socioeconomic status, ability, and nationality place in shaping public policy.

Students who choose the WGS concentration and the WGSS dual degree have a wide range of interests, including, but not limited to:

  • Income and Wealth Inequality
  • Food Justice
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Reproductive Justice
  • The Implementation of Title IX
  • Sexual Assault on College Campuses
  • LGBTQ Rights
  • Trans Youth
  • Health Policy

Professor Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson is the Concentration Chair for the WGS concentration and is a Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer at the Heller School.

Classes offered this semester that may count toward the WGS concentration and/or the WGSS dual degree are:

  • The American Gay Rights Movement: Social Justice and Social Policy – Susan Curnan
  • Black Feminist Thought – Professor Johnson
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Research Seminar – Professor Bernadette, Brooten

Students within the WGS concentration and the WGSS dual degree also have the opportunity to take courses in the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies. The Consortium is based at MIT and brings together students, scholars, and teachers from nine academic institutions in the Greater Boston area in order to advance interdisciplinary gender studies scholarship.

The Consortium typically offers two to three courses each semester. This semester the following courses were offered:

  • Feminist Inquiry
  • Feminism and Islam
  • Changing Life: Genes, Ecologies, and Texts

The Consortium also offers talks, discussions, conferences, and film series throughout the year.

We hope you enjoy learning more about the Women’s and Gender Studies concentration and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies dual degree through our blog content this month!

Brie McLemore

MPP/M.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies ’17



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