Admissions Frequently Asked Questions


Jump to Section

  1. Questions about the Program
    1. Program Fit
    2. Stipend/Funding
    3. Diversity
    4. Dual Degrees
    5. Online Courses
  2. Questions about the Application
    1. GRE
    2. English Proficiency Exams
    3. GPA
    4. Application Deadlines & Official Documents

Questions about the Program

Program Fit

Q: How will I know I’m a good fit for the program?

A: You alone can judge whether or not you are a good fit for our program and determine whether or not this program will be the right step for your career goals. Determining fit, by researching potential advisors, departmental research interests, coursework requirements, and degree expectations, is one of the best ways to discover which graduate program is right for you.

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.

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

Q: I have a background in something other than WGSS/I have not taken many WGSS courses. Can I still apply for the MA or PhD?

A: As one of the top Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies programs in the country, our application process is very competitive. For admission to our MA program, it is recommended that applicants should have completed at least four courses in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies or a related field. A major, minor, or certificate in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies or related field is preferred, but not required. For admission to our PhD program, it is recommended that applicants should have a bachelor's or master's degree in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies or a related field. It is also recommended that doctoral applicants have a grounding in feminist theory.

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.



Q: Does the department offer any stipend/funding if accepted into the program?

A: With rare exceptions, the department offers full funding during Autumn and Spring semesters for all admitted MA and PhD students, including international students, through a Graduate Associateship or a fellowship. Most Graduate Associates will serve as Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs). GTAs are expected to teach one class during Autumn semester and one class during Spring semester in exchange for tuition and fee waivers, a health insurance subsidy, and a nine-month stipend. There’s no additional application needed for this opportunity as all admitted WGSS graduate students receive funding.
The following are the stipend levels for 2019-2020 academic year:

  • Level I – Masters Students: $1,948/month
  • Level II – PhD Students, Pre-Candidacy: $1,974/month
  • Level III – PhD Students, Post-Candidacy: $2,111/month

Q: Do I need to be present on the campus to receive this stipend/funding?

A: 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.

Q: Will I be funded over the summer?

A: 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 students pursue other employment opportunities in the summer. However, due to visa restrictions international students are limited in the work they can pursue and should not anticipate summer funding.



Q: How diverse is your graduate program?

A: 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 cis-gendered women and female identified students, male and trans* 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.


Dual Degrees

Q: I’m interested in pursuing a dual degree. What are the steps I need to take?

A: Applicants wishing to pursue dual and 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, Jackie Stotlar, as part of the process of admission. Applicants must be accepted into both programs before a dual degree plan can be created.

However, you may only need to pay one application fee to apply for both programs. Contact Jackie for additional information.


Online Courses

Q: Do you offer any online courses for the graduate programs?  

A: 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.


Questions about the Application



Q: Is the GRE required to be accepted into the WGSS MA or PhD program?

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

Q: I've already taken the GRE. Should I send in my scores anyway?

A: 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.

Q: I have under a 3.0 GPA for my undergraduate/graduate work. Do I have to take the GRE?

A: Please contact the Program Coordinator if your undergraduate or graduate GPA is under a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Q: I have a degree from an unaccredited university. Do I have to take the GRE?

A: Please contact the Program Coordinator if you have a degree from an unaccredited university.


English Proficiency Exams (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB)

Q: I am an international applicant. Do I need to submit proof of English proficiency in order to be eligible for consideration?

A: As an international applicant, you will be required to submit proof of English proficiency. Ohio State accepts official TOEFL, IELTS and MELAB scores sent directly from the testing agency. 

Q: All of my undergraduate instruction was in English. Am I still required to submit English proficiency test scores?

A: There are some exemptions to the English proficiency requirement. Please visit the English Proficiency Requirements page on the Graduate and Professional Admissions website for a detailed explanation of these exemptions.

Q: What are the minimum English proficiency scores required for admission?

A: The minimum English proficiency scores required for admission are as follows:
550 Paper-based TOEFL
79 Internet-based TOEFL (IBT)

Q: I’ve already taken the TOEFL/IELTS/MELAB. Do I need to retake the test for the admissions process?

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



Q: What is the minimum and average undergraduate GPA for admitted students in your program?

A: 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.  


Application Deadlines & Official Documents

Q: Can you offer any advice on my application or review my application in advance? 

A: 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."

Q: What are the deadlines to apply for next fall?

A: The application for the 2019-2020 academic year opens September 1.  The submission deadline is Dec. 4 for all applicants. All the required documents and the steps to apply are listed on the admissions page of our website.

Q: Can I apply to start in a semester other than next fall?

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

Q: Can I get a fee waiver for my application?

A: 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 Graduate School’s list of students eligible for a fee waiver for additional information. For information on applying for a fee waiver, see the Application Fee Waivers page on the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions' site.

Q: Do I need to send official transcripts to be considered for admission?

A: 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 “Admission Process” -> “How do I attach my transcript to the application?” on the Graduate and Professional Admissions FAQ 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  If you have any difficulties with your transcripts, please contact the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions.

Q: Should I send official transcripts to the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies?

A: 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. Their mailing address can be found here. Please note that they prefer official electronic transcripts whenever possible.

Q: Should I have my recommenders send hard copies of my letters of recommendation to the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies?

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

Q: My recommender doesn’t have access to the online portal. What should I do?

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

Q: Will I be considered if my test scores for the GRE/English proficiency exam won’t arrive until after the deadline?

A: 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.

Q: Will I be considered if my transcripts/letters of recommendation won’t arrive until after the deadline?

A: 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.

Q: What am I responsible for submitting by the deadline?

A: 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.

Q: Can I have access to the videochat interview questions ahead of time?

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

Q: When will I hear from the department about my admission decision?

A: 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.


If you have further questions that have not be addressed in this FAQ, please contact Jackie Stotlar, Academic Program Coordinator, via email or by phone at 614-292-1268.