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Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Program

Graduate school provides highly specialized training in a specific subject for you to create independent academic research. You have the best understanding of your own research and career goals. Determining whether or not our program is a good fit for you is a matter of situating whether your research and career aspirations can be supported by our community of scholars. 

At the application stage, we recommend determining fit by analyzing potential advisors, investigating faculty and student research trends, and reviewing graduate level coursework requirements and degree expectations. Consider questions like, "is there someone currently here that could understand and support what I do?" And, "which faculty members' work do I admire? Does their research support my field of study or not?'

To further explore if an MA or PhD in WGSS at Ohio State is right for you, we recommend researching our current core faculty to determine potential advisors, and our department personnel at large (graduate students, core and affiliated faculty) to determine whether your research interests would be supported by the program. You can do so by searching the directory.

After researching our core faculty, you must communicate your interest with your potential advisor to see if they have the capacity to advise you before submitting your application. Contact the core WGSS faculty members you wish to work with via email in order to determine research fit and advisor capacity. Email contacts for our faculty members can be reviewed by searching the directory. Applicants who have not communicated with their potential faculty advisor will not be considered.

You can learn more about our program requirements, including coursework, degree expectations, and time to degree, in our Graduate Student Handbook.

While our strongest applicants have a direct background in WGSS or feminist studies, a background in another discipline does not disqualify you from applying. The admissions committee recognizes that not every institution offers WGSS courses, and by virtue of being an interdisciplinary department, we do admit students from a variety of disciplines. The strongest applicants demonstrate their commitment to and understanding of feminist theories and topics in their application. They also outline what they would like to accomplish in their graduate studies and how a degree in WGSS from Ohio State fits into their broader career goals.

With rare exceptions, the department offers full funding during Autumn and Spring semesters for all admitted MA and PhD students, including international students. Please see the funding page for the most up to date information regarding stipend levels and funding packages.

Our funding packages dictate that you must be present on campus to perform your teaching duties and provide requested service to the department as needed. Therefore, we do not permit students to live anywhere they choose upon completion of coursework. We try to accommodate students if their research requires fieldwork by offering online teaching assignments for up to two semesters. Relocating longer than two semesters for the purpose of fieldwork jeopardizes funding.

At present, we cannot guarantee summer funding for every student. Our base funding package is a nine-month stipend that covers September through April, along with half of May and half of August. Summer funding opportunities are limited to a handful of GTA positions, with priority granted to advanced PhD candidates. Many of our domestic students pursue other employment opportunities in the summer. Due to visa restrictions international students are limited in the work they can pursue and should not anticipate summer funding or employment of any kind.

We work diligently to ensure we have a diverse and welcoming graduate student body. Since 2007, just under half of the graduate students in our program have racially or ethnically identified as something other than white. While we tend to have a larger number of cisgendered women and female identified students, trans and male identified students are represented.

We never require anyone to disclose their identities to the department, which can make it hard to consistently quantify this information. Some students choose to disclose identity information to us, but particularly with gender and sexual identities the data available does not always represent the whole picture.

Applicants wishing to pursue dual or combined master's degrees that include Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies as one discipline must apply to Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies for admission. This intention should be communicated directly to the Academic Program Coordinator, Rebekah Sims, as part of the process of admission. Applicants must be accepted into both programs before a dual or combined degree plan can be created.

Unfortunately at this time we do not offer any of our graduate courses or graduate degree programs online. The only way to enroll in the program after acceptance is to relocate to Columbus. We realize this is untenable for many prospective students for a variety of reasons, but it is currently the only way to enroll. This remains the case in the aftermath of the pandemic and relocation to Columbus is still required to complete our programs.

Questions about the Application

All prospective students must communicate their interest with their potential advisor to determine research fit and advising capacity before submitting their application. Prospective students should contact the core WGSS faculty member they wish to work with via email and confirm their advisor is capable of advising their proposed project. Only core faculty members, not affiliated faculty members, are capable of serving as primary advisors for our students. Securing interest from an affiliated faculty member must be done in tandem with a core faculty member.

The following core faculty members will not be taking new advisees at this time:

  • Dr. Jian Chen
  • Dr. Treva Lindsey
  • Dr. Linda Mizejewski
  • Dr. Shannon Winnubst

Email contacts for our core faculty members who are accepting students can be found on the people page. Applicants who have not communicated with their potential faculty advisor will not be considered.

No. The GRE is not required for admission to the PhD or MA program. Please do not submit GRE scores.

No. In fairness to all applicants, any GRE scores will be stripped from your record and not taken into consideration during the admissions review process. Please do not submit GRE scores.

Yes. Per the Graduate School's rules, all applicants with a GPA under a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale must take the GRE. Please contact the Program Coordinator if your undergraduate or graduate GPA is under a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and you are planning on applying.

Yes. Per the Graduate School's rules, all applicants with a GPA under a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale must take the GRE. Please contact the Program Coordinator if you have a degree from an unaccredited university and you are planning on applying.

As an international applicant, you will be required to submit proof of English proficiency. Ohio State accepts official TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo scores. Please see the International Applicants section of our Graduate Admissions page for additional information.

There are some exemptions to the English proficiency requirement. Please visit the English Proficiency Requirements page on the Graduate and Professional Admissions website for current exemptions.

    • 19 on each section of the paper-based TOEFL
    • 79 on the internet-based TOEFL or TOEFL Special Home Edition
    • 7.0 on the IELTS exam or IELTS Indicator
  • Duolingo

TOEFL, IELTS scores cannot be older than 2 years. If you are outside of this window, you will need to retake the exam.


The minimum undergraduate GPA for graduate admissions is a 3.0. Any applicant with a GPA less than a 3.0 may only be admitted under exceptional circumstances. The average GPA for admitted students for the past 3 years is 3.7, with a range from 3.04 to 3.94. Successful WGSS applicants have generally had GPAs of 3.4 or higher.  


While we cannot provide insight into individual applications in advance, we do recommend reviewing NWSA's "Advice to Graduate Applicants from Women's Studies Graduate Directors and Department Chairs."



The application for the 2023-2024  academic year opens September 15.  The submission deadline is December 3 for all applicants. All the required documents and the steps to apply are listed on the admissions page of our website.

No, we only take applications to start Autumn semester of the following academic year.

The Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies cannot issue fee waivers at this time. However, you may qualify for a fee waiver provided by the Graduate School. Please see the Office of Graduate and Professional Admission's page on fee waivers for additional information.

You only need to submit official transcripts after you are admitted to the program. For the purposes of admissions, you can upload scanned images of official paper transcripts issued by your institution’s Registrar via the document uploader. Make sure to mark out all U.S. social security numbers before scanning. See “How do I attach my transcripts or other documents?” on the Graduate and Professional Admissions Application Tips page for information on how to upload your transcript.

You will need to submit unofficial transcripts from every transcript issuing institution. Transfer credits or study abroad credits must be submitted on separate transcripts and will not be accepted on another school's transcript. Ohio State will not accept web reports, advising reports, self-reported scores, or transfer credit on another school’s transcript.

If you need to order electronic transcripts, send them via email to gpadocs@osu.edu.  If you have any difficulties with your transcripts, please contact the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions.

No. After you have been accepted all official transcripts must be sent directly to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions, as they are the only authorized body to handle official transcripts. Due to security measures, transcripts mailed to the department must be destroyed and cannot be used. The Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions mailing address can be found here. Please note that they prefer official electronic transcripts whenever possible.

No. Please have your recommenders use the online portal to electronically submit your letters of recommendation.

Please contact the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions for assistance with any issues related to the online application process.

You are encouraged to schedule any exams early (preferably 4 weeks before the deadline), but standardized test scores may come in after the application deadline.

Provided that you have alerted your recommenders and have ordered any transcripts before the deadline, letters of recommendation and transcripts may arrive up to one week after the deadline.

You are responsible for submitting all of the materials you have direct control over, such as your statement of purpose, CV, writing sample, scans of transcripts, etc., by the marked deadline.

No. Part of the interview process is to see how you are able to respond candidly to questions without preparation. 

Admission decisions will be conveyed from the late December through the beginning of April. At minimum, every applicant will hear about their status by the national accept/decline deadline of April 15.



Still have a question?

Make sure you've checked out our Graduate Admissions and Funding pages for the most up to date information on our program.

If you've still got a question, please contact Rebekah Sims, Academic Program Coordinator.