Duration: 1 year full time
Institution code: R72
UK fees*: £10,600
International/EU fees**: £19,100
Gender Studies: Politics pathway (MSc)
The MSc Gender Studies is a unique interdisciplinary degree that provides students with critical, advanced knowledge of gender research, theory and practice, based in contemporary intersectional gender and sexuality studies, while also allowing them to develop specialist knowledge in their 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 & Politics will put questions of power, inequality, and identity at the heart of your studies here at Royal Holloway. Studying this interdisciplinary degree closely aligned with our Gender Institute ) and our Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy means that you will learn from internationally renowned experts specialised in gender research and politics. 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 cover a range of topics such as gender and protest, international security, analysing international politics, to name a few.
Through the MSc Gender Studies & Politics you will:
- Gain a critical awareness of gender activism
- Study general gender studies modules and specialise in your subject of choice
- Learn about gender and politics while gaining research skills tailored to your interests and future projects
- Learn how gender intersects with inequalities, notably race, sexuality and class, in political and social structures and relationships
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.
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 (two will be run each year)
- Body and Embodiment
- Gender, Power and Protest
- Gender and Technologies
and 60 credits from International Relations themed optional modules offered by the Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (PIRP).
Indicative modules offered by PIRP include:
This module aims to introduce students to new conceptualizations of identity, difference, power, and politics that are associated most notably with what has been termed “Post-Marxist” or “New Left” politics and political philosophy. Its premise is that recent changes in both political theory and practice – some of which are associated with changes linked to globalization and the emergence of new social movements – are compelling a paradigm shift in the way politics is understood. It will focus on four concepts – identity, power, resistance, and otherness – that have become salient in contemporary political philosophy and international relations theory and on four theorists – Althusser, Gramsci, Laclau & Mouffe, and Foucault – whose thought on these issues has underpinned a great deal of “New Left” political theory and practice. It will also look at how these issues and theories have become prominent in the theory and politics around feminism and lesbian politics and at new problematics for thinking about political thought and practice, with particular focus on what has been called the “micropolitical” realm.
The module aims to give an advanced grounding in the central ideas and concepts in contemporary Anglo-American political theory, enabling you to engage in its ongoing debates, and to acquire a sense of the state of the discipline as a whole. Attention will be paid to some of the main ideas and concepts of contemporary political theory, including political obligation, punishment, egalitarianism, meritocracy, human rights, and global justice. Throughout, we will explore how different thinkers have offered different theoretical articulations of these ideas, as well as their practical implications. The module aims to enable you to offer critiques and commentary of various positions in contemporary political theory, and to develop your own ideas.
- Gender and Global Politics
This module examines the relationship between media, power and public affairs in contemporary political life. You will look at a number of important themes, including theories of media effects, the construction of political news, election campaigning, government communications and spin, media regulation, the globalisation of media, agenda setting, and propaganda and the role of media in foreign policy and military intervention.
This module will introduce you to advanced quantitative methods that address common problems such as non-linearity of data, multicollinearity in time-series data, causality and experiments. Through the seminar exercises and the assignments, you will gain not only a theoretical but also a practical understanding of quantitative methods and how these can be used in research. In this way, the module is envisaged to set you up for success in your MSc dissertation.
This module expands on the qualitative methods taught in the first term. It explores the ways in which scholars in politics and International Relations engage in qualitative research. Each week we will explore one type of object for analysis and several methods of analysing it. We will explore grounded research, discourse and narrative analysis, case studies, visuals, emotions and archives and we will ask questions about knowledge and power, decolonisation and critical explication.
Teaching & assessment
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 also be considered.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
MSc Gender Studies: Politics 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.
Your future career
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.
Fees, funding & scholarships
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
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. 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.
All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration). This means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year.
** 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.