MA in Gender, Sexuality & Culture

*Applications for 2024/25 are open*

The MA in Gender, Sexuality & 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 Gender Studies through joint coordination of the UCD Research Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities (CGFS), and through collaboration with the MA in Gender Studies in the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. 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.

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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

ENG41570 World-Systems, World-Literature

ENG41670 Contemporary U.S. Genre Fiction: Intersection, Disruption, Protest

FS40240 Chick Flicks: Women & Hollywood Story-telling

GS40300 Gendered Space and Place: Interrogating Feminist Geographies

GS40360 Sexuality and Reproductive Justice

GS40330 Gender, War and Violence

SOC40930 Crit Race and Decolonial Theory

ENG41760 Memory Cultures
ENG41850 Social Network Analysis

The Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities has at its core an interdisciplinary vision spanning the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences with the aim of fostering and facilitating multi-disciplinary research and collaboration focused on the changing construction of gender and gender relations and theories of power, identities and sexualities. Active engagement with activists, social movements and civil society organisations and activities to effect social change will be a central principle of the new Centre. CGFS will also serve as a forum for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working in gender and sexuality studies.

What we do

CGFS organises events including lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and cultural events that are open to the public as well as scholars and students. We aim to provide a vibrant, vital, inclusive space to discuss and learn about issues related to feminism, gender and sexuality, and their interrelations with issues of race, class, migration, citizenship, religion, ethnicity, and ability/disability.

Since its launch, visiting speakers have included Lisa Duggan, Alexander Kondakev, Chamindra Weerawardhana and Jack Halberstam amongst others.

Have a look at CGFS on Facebook and the 2018 CGFS conference ‘Thinking Gender Justice’ to get a sense of the events, discussions and actions that our MA students have the opportunity to participate in!

Testimonial from Katherine Maller (Queens, New York City)

Pursuing the programme in Gender, Sexuality and Culture helped me a great deal in publishing – it put me on the path to a higher-paying and more prestigious job than I could have gotten without the Masters. The gender and sexuality lens I cultivated in my degree has been helpful at both my last job and my current job as Assistant at the Goethe Institute New York. The focus on writing and analysis is strong at UCD, helped by the truly stellar faculty and academic support. I feel that in general my master’s education has made me a more considerate and thoughtful person, which is invaluable professionally and fulfilling personally. I learned so much and made life-long friends in the programme. During my time in UCD, I got involved with UCD for Choice and the Abortion Rights Campaign on work to repeal the 8th Amendment and with LitSoc, in the Writer’s Bloc writing group.

  • Applications for the MA must be made online.  
  • Scanned copies of relevant academic qualifications and the writing sample and references should be included in the online application. Referees will receive an email and link to upload the letters of recommendations. References should be on headed paper and signed.

This programme is intended for applicants with a background in the humanities, or literature, film studies, cultural studies, visual culture, sociology, anthropology, psychology, psychoanalysis as well as women’s studies, gender studies and sexuality studies. A keen interest in gender and sexuality and an ability to analyse textual representations are the key characteristics required.

  • An upper second class honours degree (NFQ Level 8), or the international equivalent is normally required. However, all applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and relevant work experience will be taken into account, so that in certain exceptional cases candidates with a 2.2 or an award at a lower NFQ level, together with experiential learning, may be admitted.
  • Applicants wishing to have experiential learning taken into consideration must show evidence of significant appropriate levels of such learning – a CV, portfolio and/or interview may be required.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.
  • Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until all places have been filled by suitably qualified and capable applicants. We advise applying early to avoid disappointment.

For further details, please the programme's UCD webpages.

If you have any inquiries about the programme, please contact Dr Anne Mulhall at or for general enquiries please direct to our Graduate Administrator at or telephone 716 8323.