Skip to main content

Gender Studies: History and Socio-Legal Studies pathway

Thank you for considering an application

Please click here to login and apply, or view your application.

Applicant Portal

Need help? Explore our How to Apply Page

Gender Studies: History and Socio-Legal Studies pathway


The initial application deadline for this course is 1 June 2024. Further detail here.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £10,600

International/EU fees**: £19,100

The course

Gender Studies: History and Socio-Legal Studies pathway (MSc)

The MSc Gender Studies is a unique interdisciplinary degree that provides you with critical, advanced knowledge of gender research, theory and practice, based in contemporary intersectional gender and sexuality studies, while also allowing you to develop specialist knowledge in your chosen pathway.

On the History and Socio-Legal Studies pathway you will explore how gender shapes social and legal as well as historical processes. Studying this interdisciplinary degree closely aligned with our Gender Institute Gender Institute and our Department of Law and Criminology and Department of History means that you will learn from internationally renowned experts specialised in gender studies, history, law, criminology and sociology.

You’ll have close contact with the academic staff teaching on the course and you’ll receive individual support from your personal tutor from the gender studies teaching team whilst being able to tailor your degree to your interests. Optional modules will a range of topics such as gender, sexuality and crime, feminism in Britain, queer gender and sexuality in the 20th century, and gender and human rights law, to name a few. The degree will allow you to:

• Combine the two subjects to explore historical perspectives on gendered identities and sexuality and their intersection with law and criminology.
• Gain a critical awareness of gender activism
• Study general gender studies modules and specialise in your subject of choice
• Benefit from the support of gender studies, law and history subject experts



From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

Core Modules

  • This module is designed to provide an intersectional understanding of gender theory, attending to inequalities between women as well as between women and men, and the structures, ideas, and practices that (re)produce them. Students will gain an understanding from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives, across the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences and will engage with how genders and sexualities matter in everyday contexts; how gender is lived and experienced; the conceptual and practical interdependence of genders and other key social and political concepts; the dimensions of gender-based and sexual violence; women’s agency; and the social construction of masculinities and femininities.

  • This interdisciplinary module will introduce students to gender studies research and discuss the diverse methodological approaches undertaken by gender studies scholars. It examines the ontological and epistemological commitments that underpin feminist approaches to methodology as well as provides an introduction to research design and quantitative and qualitative methods and feminist critiques thereof. The modules is structured themes around knowing and researching gender, designing a research project in gender studies, which kind of questions to ask, ethical gender research including general ethics principles and feminist ethics, and sex and gender as a variable, discourse, narrative and a social construct.

  • The module will address the practices of gender research, gender activism and the practices of living gender and gendering across a wide variety of professional situations. Teaching will include the unique ways in which gender perspectives, feminist theory and queer theory combine theory and methodology into practice. Students will be provided with the opportunity to individually and collectively perform several practices of gender theories and gender research that are discussed in the classroom.

  • This module is designed for you to carry out a piece of independent research supervised by a member of the gender studies academic staff. The 10,000 – 12,000 words dissertation should engage in-depth with a topic or question in gender studies from a theoretical, empirical or practice-based point of view. You will submit a short research outline in the spring term, which is used to assign a supervisor with relevant expertise. Workshops will be arranged during the academic year to discuss requirements and how to manage a dissertation project and best-practice for writing. The dissertation will be submitted at the end of August.

  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.


Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

You will choose one module from the three gender studies optional modules (any two will run in any one year):

  • Body and Embodiment
  • Gender, Power and Protest
  • Gender and Technologies

And 30 credits from optional modules offered by the Department of History, and 30 credits from optional modules offered by Law and Criminology.

Department of History:

  • This module explores the history of feminism in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The module explores the varied formation, configuration and contestation of feminist politics and activism, encouraging students to look beyond well-worn narratives of ‘waves’ of feminism. The module illuminates the development of feminist political thought, as well as diverse histories of activism and campaigning. Core themes include: feminism and the state; body politics and sexualities; women’s work; family life; and feminist political thought. Students are encouraged to develop their critical understanding of feminism through engagement with diverse primary material (including political texts, social surveys, photographs, film and oral histories) and via wide-ranging historical and multi-disciplinary scholarship.

  • This module examines the role of narrative in queer identity and queer life in modern and contemporary history. The lives of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people have historically been silenced and marginalised within and by traditional dismodules. Therefore, this module will examine the ways in which queer people have sought to represent and analyse their own experiences through the narrative-driven mediums of oral history, film, and fiction. By using these ‘unconventional’ historical primary sources we will uncover how queer people have worked both with and against the grain of narrative in order to tell stories that are meaningful to them. Using archetypes and common narrative tropes queer people have sought to situate their lives and their stories within wider cultural dismodules. Nonetheless, we will also explore the concept of queer temporality, considering the potential for queer narratives to disrupt and challenge mainstream dismodules, even problematising chronology in the process. We will also consider how the narrative of queerness is slowly being integrated into the historical record, and the implications of this shift.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how the crusading movement arose at a time of significant change for women. You will look at the effects of the Gregorian Reform and contemporary societal change on women’s traditional roles. You will examine how medieval historians used gendered language and moral tales to express their disapproval of women who took the cross, and the role of women in supporting crusader battles, often becoming the casualties of warfare. You will consider the role of noble women in providing political stability through regency and marriage after the First Crusade in the Latin society established in the East, including the dramatic reign of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem, and the effects of crusading on women who remained in the West.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the issue of gender in the early formative years of Islam and the emerging relationship between gender, the state and society. You will look at how the ‘normative role’ for Muslim women and men evolved before 1800 and the impact of both religious reform and of secular modernisation in the 19th and 20th centuries on the lives and experience of women and men living in a variety of Muslim societies. You will look at changes in individual states and regions, examining particular issues, such as the wearing of the veil, that have aroused significant debate among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. You will also consider the changing way in which gender issues in general, and those connected with Muslim women in particular, have been viewed by outsiders – comparing and contrasting, for example, the writings of 19th Century European travellers with more contemporary analyses provided by late 20th Century western anthropologists and journalists.

  • This option explores recent approaches (particularly those of the last decade) to British imperial and colonial history, placing particular emphasis on those which advocate a transnational or comparative approach. It allows students to develop an appreciation of the influence of postcolonial studies, geography, anthropology, and sociology on history writing in this context. Seminar topics can include settler colonialism, colonial violence, the material culture of empire, the relationship between metropole and colony, sex and gender, race and racism, imperial networks and trajectories, law and empire, and attempts to reconnect cultural and economic interpretations of empire.

  • Gender, Justice and Emotion in Georgian Britain

Department of Law and Criminology:

  • Gender, Sexuality and Crime
  • Interpersonal violence and harm
  • Contemporary Debates and Sex Work
  • Gender, Equality and Human Rights Law

Teaching and learning are mostly by means of lectures; seminars; workshops and tutorials. Depending on your choice of optional modules assessment of knowledge and understanding is typically by essays, formal examinations and review papers, as well as your dissertation.

UK Lower Class Honours (2:2) or equivalent degree in an essay-based subject. 

Professional experience as a gender advisor or in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion may be considered.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

MSc Gender Studies: History and Socio-Legal Studies requires:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
  • Duolingo: 120 overall, 135 in Literacy, 135 in Production and no sub-score below 100.

Upon completion of the programme, you’ll be equipped for doctoral studies as well as careers in various sectors that centre gender, inclusion, diversity and equality. This includes jobs in government as well as the private sector, within the UK and internationally.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £10,600

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £19,100

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis in the academic year 2024/25. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase all postgraduate tuition fees annually, based on the UK’s Retail Price Index (RPI). Please therefore be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration), and that this also means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. For further information, please see our terms and conditions.

** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more 

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

Gender Studies Postgraduate Admissions

Postgraduate Administrator

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.