Gender, Sexuality & Culture

The Gender, Sexuality & Culture strand of the MA in Literature & Culture is a dynamic, interdisciplinary programme designed for students with a strong interest in exploring and interrogating gender and sexuality in literary and cultural production and representation. Our programme was the first, pioneering postgraduate programme in the analysis of gender and sexuality in culture in the Humanities in Ireland, and it attracts students from all over the world and from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. Drawing on the internationally recognised expertise in gender and sexuality studies from across the Humanities and Social Sciences in UCD, we provide our students with a rigorous training in the analysis of gender and sexuality in literature, film, television, media, performance, visual culture, digital culture and more. We enable our students to develop as theoretically sophisticated researchers, writers and critics equipped with cutting-edge critical skills and methods for understanding and analysing the formations of gender and sexuality in culture and society. Students will explore issues of gender and sexuality with specific attention to race, class, migration and citizenship within an intersectional feminist and anti-/de-colonial framework. 

Our programme values deeply informed, rigorous and innovative analysis, an openness to new perspectives, and self-reflective, socially and politically engaged critical practice. We foster and model these values in seminars and individual supervisions that prioritise challenging, high level discussion and debate within a mutually supportive and respectful environment. The MA is taught through a combination of taught modules delivered in the form of seminar classes, and supervised individual research projects in the form of the dissertation. Assessment is through a combination of research dissertation, research essay, class presentation, short assignments and peer review exercises.

We work closely with our colleagues in UCD Women’s Studies through joint coordination of the UCD Research Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities, and through collaboration with the MA in Gender Studies in the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social. We encourage our MA students to engage with and benefit from the dynamic interdisciplinary Gender, Feminist and Sexuality Studies community in UCD and to take part in the many events that UCD hosts in these areas.

On successful completion of this MA strand, students should be:

  • Highly proficient in both established and new approaches to gender studies and sexuality studies as theoretical, cultural, social, political and historical fields of investigation.
  • Well-grounded in a diverse range of theoretical, analytical and methodological frameworks for understanding gender, sexuality and culture transnationally and across different societies and geo-political regions.
  • Adept readers and thinkers, able to understand, analyse and critically evaluate cultural production and cultural theory in relation to gender and sexuality, with a keen attention to how these are constituted through and by coloniality, race, ethnicity, class and citizenship.
  • Effective independent researchers, who can identify a research topic and develop this into a minor thesis project.
  • Socially and politically engaged readers, writers and critics who understand the importance of systems of representation in both the maintenance and transformation of gendered systems of power.


As well as the MA core Research Methods and Dissertation modules, students on this strand choose from the following specialist modules in Gender, Sexuality & Culture:

Core module:

ENG40940 Theories of Gender and Sexuality


Options (choose from the following - subject to change):

ENG41860 Queer Frictions: Gender, Sexuality, Race & Migration in Contemporary Literature & Culture

FS40240 Chick Flicks: Women & Hollywood Story-telling

WS40330 Gender, War and Violence

WS40050 Gender and Globalisation

WS40360 Sexuality and Reproductive Justice

FS40060 Contemporary Irish Cinema

FS40330 Theory of Social & Digital Media

ENG41850 Social Network Analysis & Fiction – Gender, Genre & Nation


Testimonial from Crescent Rainwater, PhD Candidate, UCLA (USA)

UCD School of English, Drama & Film offered a specialised program in Gender, Sexuality and Culture that allowed me to combine my undergraduate English degree with my growing interest in gender and sexuality. I was planning to apply to PhD programs following this MA, and I thought that it offered a unique opportunity that would help me to stand out from my fellow applicants. The coursework was still primarily based in literary studies, but it helped me to quickly acquire a specialisation, and offered diverse range of courses. The dissertation aspect of the MA was a wonderful opportunity to develop my research interests and write a piece of work that really prepared me for doing a PhD. It also gave me an excellent writing sample. It also pushed me to build on the confidence I had started to cultivate as an undergraduate student, challenging me to take on the role of a scholar with a voice.Doing this MA at UCD absolutely made all the difference in my acceptance to UCLA’s PhD in English. It strengthened my research and writing skills, and also added greater diversity to my training and preparation.


More information and link to UCD online postgraduate applications HERE

For further information, contact the Gender, Sexuality & Culture MA strand coordinator, Dr Anne Mulhall (