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Gender Studies: History pathway

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Gender Studies: History 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 pathway (MSc)

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 subject area by enrolling in one of our six pathways (Global Futures, History, History and Socio-Legal Studies, Politics, Philosophy, or International Relations).

The MSc Gender Studies & History will enable you to understand gender relations in historical context and provide you with the tools to analyse history through a gender lens. Studying this inter-disciplinary degree closely aligned with our Gender Institute and our Department of History means that you will learn from internationally renowned experts specialised in gender research and history.

 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, with optional modules covering a range of topics such as feminism in Britain, women and the crusades, queer identity in history, the family in the Roman empire, to name a few.

Our balanced approach to research and teaching guarantees high quality teaching from subject leaders, using cutting edge materials and engaging with intellectually challenging debates.

The MSc Gender Studies & History will allow you to:

  • Gain a strong understanding of what gender is, and how it has been conceptualised, operationalised, applied and empirically studied
  • Gain a strong understanding of theories, methods, research practices and activism around gender and sexuality, as well as their intersection with race and class
  • Study general gender studies modules and specialise in your subject of choice
  • Learn about the history of feminism in Britain and around the world


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 15 credits/one module from the three optional Gender Studies modules (any two will run in one year)

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

And 60 credits from optional modules offered by the Department of History. 

Indicative modules might include:

  • 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 module explores the Roman household as an emotional, economic, and cultural focal point in Roman life. Bookended by the reforms of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus (d. AD 14) and those of the last of the major emperors to rule a united Roman empire, Justinian (d. 565), it will explore the tensions arising from religious and ethnic diversity, with special attention to the impact on family life of slavery and the rise of asceticism.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the visual and material world of Victorian Britain between 1837 and 1901. You will look at the key changes in art, photography, and architecture, as well as consumption, popular culture and the use of built space. You will examine the role of the visual and the material in the construction of key narratives in Victorian economic, social and cultural history, including class, gender, and other forms of identity.

  • 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.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the range, scope and access to physical and digital archives, museums and resources. You will learn how to evaluate and interpret documents, recordings and artefacts; how to construct a convincing historical narrative; and how to effectively communicate your findings in print, oral and digital formats. You will interpret a variety of evidence including manuscript and printed texts, oral testimony, film and photography, and material objects, as well as look at some key interpretative methods such as oral and digital history. You will learn from members of staff who are experts in their fields and from visiting speakers who are specialists and practitioners, examining a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to historical interpretation and its communication to academic and public audiences.

  • Gender, Justice and Emotion in Georgian Britain

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 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

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