American student thinking of Master's in Gender History in the UK

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almina
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I'm finishing up my B.A. in history and international studies this year and I'm trying to find a graduate program I like. For some weird reason I am passionate about women in history (particularly women writers) (even more particularly late medieval to Enlightenment) (but I'm not too attached - I would definitely consider other particularities as long as it pertained to women) and am thinking about doing a master's degree in that field of interest.

I know there is an MSc Gender History at University of Edinburgh, is it good? Does anyone also know about the gender history track at University of Glasgow? Are there other unis that offer specializations in gender history? Is gender history even a good field to enter?!

Also, I'm an American student getting my Bachelor's from a small, little-known public university. Do I have a chance of getting into a British postgraduate program? I do have a good GPA (3.9-4.0) and I'm hoping that it will be enough.

Thank you so much for your help!
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madamemerle
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Gender, or Women's Studies courses might work too. Birkbeck's Gender, Sexuality and Culture MA might be of interest. You shouldn't have any trouble being accepted with that GPA, it's excellent.

Since your interest is in women writers, English departments are also a possibility, especially those with strengths in Medieval and Early Modern (York, Oxford, to name a couple). Also, you could look at Medieval Studies courses, e.g. York's.
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almina
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(Original post by madamemerle)
Gender, or Women's Studies courses might work too. Birkbeck's Gender, Sexuality and Culture MA might be of interest. You shouldn't have any trouble being accepted with that GPA, it's excellent.

Since your interest is in women writers, English departments are also a possibility, especially those with strengths in Medieval and Early Modern (York, Oxford, to name a couple). Also, you could look at Medieval Studies courses, e.g. York's.
Thanks a lot! So you think it would be possible to change to English/literature as a Master's from a Bachelor's in history? I have taken a few English literature classes, but as they were not part of my major they were survey courses and not very advanced. (But I did enjoy them a great deal!)
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QHF
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(Original post by almina)
Also, I'm an American student getting my Bachelor's from a small, little-known public university. Do I have a chance of getting into a British postgraduate program? I do have a good GPA (3.9-4.0) and I'm hoping that it will be enough.
I'd have thought you certainly have a chance—I've seen students from small and obscure US colleges get places on British postgrad humanities courses. Funded places, even, in a couple of cases. Generally speaking the people making admissions decisions are likely to be much more interested in your academic performance and your ideas than in the university you attended. Your GPA, at least, sounds very good.

But I did just raise the spectre of funding. There isn't much of it for masters courses in the humanities in the UK and a big chunk of what little there is is only available to domestic students. It's worth applying for what's out there, though—can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.

(Original post by almina)
So you think it would be possible to change to English/literature as a Master's from a Bachelor's in history? I have taken a few English literature classes, but as they were not part of my major they were survey courses and not very advanced. (But I did enjoy them a great deal!)
With questions like this the best course of action is always to contact the departments you're considering and ask. If you were applying for a straight English masters you might wind up with problems, but I don't know—some departments like to consider applications from different backgrounds, and maybe if you could get together a good literary-critical writing sample and strong references which vouched for your interest in and ability in English it'd work. That said, my impression was—not being a historian I wouldn't really know for sure—that historians have ways of writing about writing and writers, so I don't know if turning to straight English qualifications is the way forwards. You're probably better-placed to judge for yourself than I am.

I know Oxford's Women's Studies MSt isn't in the English faculty, being a collaboration between English, History, Classics, Philosophy and Medieval and Modern Languages instead. So that wouldn't require an English qualification and in fact they probably look favourably on the breadth of US undergraduate degrees. I don't know how many medieval or early modern options it offers, though. It'd be worth checking.

(Original post by almina)
Is gender history even a good field to enter?!
Practically speaking or intellectually speaking? If practically, I don't think any of the humanities are good fields to enter at the moment.
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madamemerle
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(Original post by almina)
Thanks a lot! So you think it would be possible to change to English/literature as a Master's from a Bachelor's in history? I have taken a few English literature classes, but as they were not part of my major they were survey courses and not very advanced. (But I did enjoy them a great deal!)
Like QHF said, it will very much depend on individual departments. Some English departments welcome history-focused work (my supervisor, for instance, is a Cultural Historian, with an area studies PhD). I was just suggesting investigating a few in case they might be a good option for you; I do know people without English degrees who have done English MAs, but your circumstances are unique so you'll need to check with any departments you're interested in.

Depending on the sorts if courses each programme requires, you might find that English coursework is too literary-focused for your needs.

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crayz
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There is a gender history course?
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almina
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(Original post by QHF)
I'd have thought you certainly have a chance—I've seen students from small and obscure US colleges get places on British postgrad humanities courses. Funded places, even, in a couple of cases. Generally speaking the people making admissions decisions are likely to be much more interested in your academic performance and your ideas than in the university you attended. Your GPA, at least, sounds very good.

But I did just raise the spectre of funding. There isn't much of it for masters courses in the humanities in the UK and a big chunk of what little there is is only available to domestic students. It's worth applying for what's out there, though—can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.



With questions like this the best course of action is always to contact the departments you're considering and ask. If you were applying for a straight English masters you might wind up with problems, but I don't know—some departments like to consider applications from different backgrounds, and maybe if you could get together a good literary-critical writing sample and strong references which vouched for your interest in and ability in English it'd work. That said, my impression was—not being a historian I wouldn't really know for sure—that historians have ways of writing about writing and writers, so I don't know if turning to straight English qualifications is the way forwards. You're probably better-placed to judge for yourself than I am.

I know Oxford's Women's Studies MSt isn't in the English faculty, being a collaboration between English, History, Classics, Philosophy and Medieval and Modern Languages instead. So that wouldn't require an English qualification and in fact they probably look favourably on the breadth of US undergraduate degrees. I don't know how many medieval or early modern options it offers, though. It'd be worth checking.


Practically speaking or intellectually speaking? If practically, I don't think any of the humanities are good fields to enter at the moment.
Thanks a lot for your thoughts and suggestions. Concerning funding, what about for European students? I have double nationality, which in any case would make fees a lot lower than those for oversees students. I do realize that humanities is a tough field though, money-wise and career-wise.

Ok thanks, I'll be sure to contact departments that interest me. I looked up the options at MSt Women's Studies at Oxford and they are highly interesting! I will definitely keep it in mind but I don't think I have what it gets to be accepted into Oxford.
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almina
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(Original post by madamemerle)
Like QHF said, it will very much depend on individual departments. Some English departments welcome history-focused work (my supervisor, for instance, is a Cultural Historian, with an area studies PhD). I was just suggesting investigating a few in case they might be a good option for you; I do know people without English degrees who have done English MAs, but your circumstances are unique so you'll need to check with any departments you're interested in.

Depending on the sorts if courses each programme requires, you might find that English coursework is too literary-focused for your needs.

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Thanks! That's a good point about English coursework being too literary-focused. I will definitely look around into different programs and see how they are structured/what kind of courses they require and offer. I might end up doing an interdisciplinary master's like Middle Ages and Early Modern Studies - I love the idea of using different subjects and having them complement each other in research. Lots of things attract me so this is going to be a long Thought Road! Thanks for your help
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almina
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(Original post by crayz)
There is a gender history course?
The only Master's I know of that is purely gender history is at University of Edinburgh!
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QHF
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(Original post by almina)
Thanks a lot for your thoughts and suggestions. Concerning funding, what about for European students? I have double nationality, which in any case would make fees a lot lower than those for oversees students
IIRC at least a couple of years ago it was the case that EU students were eligible for research council grants like domestic students, but the grants would only pay for fees, not fees and living costs as they do for domestics. I don't know if that's still the case, and I don't know if there are any extra criteria—I think to qualify as a home student you need to fulfil a residency requirement (like, three years previously spent in the UK, or something) as well as have British nationality, so it's possible there're other restrictions on EU status besides nationality too. But it would definitely be worth checking.

(Original post by almina)
Ok thanks, I'll be sure to contact departments that interest me. I looked up the options at MSt Women's Studies at Oxford and they are highly interesting! I will definitely keep it in mind but I don't think I have what it gets to be accepted into Oxford.
There aren't that many postgrads at Oxford who do think they have what it takes to be at Oxford, but ultimately it's just a good, wealthy university. I think if you think the course suits you then you should seriously consider applying. That said you need a course that's right for you and it's quite possible that other places have courses which fit what you need better.
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ellie.rew
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(Original post by almina)
Ok thanks, I'll be sure to contact departments that interest me. I looked up the options at MSt Women's Studies at Oxford and they are highly interesting! I will definitely keep it in mind but I don't think I have what it gets to be accepted into Oxford.
The minimum entry requirement for most Oxford taught masters (in the History faculty anyway) is a high 2.1 (67+), which, I think, is around a 3.5 GPA (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). So you're as qualified as anyone to apply and with grades like you have, I imagine you do actually have a good chance of getting in.

Of course, as has been said before, you should focus on the best course to fit your interests, not just one with a big name.
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ukmed108
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(Original post by almina)
I'm finishing up my B.A. in history and international studies this year and I'm trying to find a graduate program I like. For some weird reason I am passionate about women in history (particularly women writers) (even more particularly late medieval to Enlightenment) (but I'm not too attached - I would definitely consider other particularities as long as it pertained to women) and am thinking about doing a master's degree in that field of interest.

I know there is an MSc Gender History at University of Edinburgh, is it good? Does anyone also know about the gender history track at University of Glasgow? Are there other unis that offer specializations in gender history? Is gender history even a good field to enter?!

Also, I'm an American student getting my Bachelor's from a small, little-known public university. Do I have a chance of getting into a British postgraduate program? I do have a good GPA (3.9-4.0) and I'm hoping that it will be enough.

Thank you so much for your help!
I think you won't have to much of a problem as a 3.9-4.0 is considered a 1st class honors and that would get you into a program like MSc at Edinburgh. I don't know much about the strengths of each uni in this department, but I know that Edinburgh was the first to admit women into medicine and Sophia Jex Blake (one of the alum) later founded the London School of Medicine for Women which has been merged into UCL Medical School today.

I'm not really sure about job prospects for a degree like that, just be wary that a degree in Gender History doesn't lead to many obvious routes of employment.
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almina
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(Original post by QHF)
IIRC at least a couple of years ago it was the case that EU students were eligible for research council grants like domestic students, but the grants would only pay for fees, not fees and living costs as they do for domestics. I don't know if that's still the case, and I don't know if there are any extra criteria—I think to qualify as a home student you need to fulfil a residency requirement (like, three years previously spent in the UK, or something) as well as have British nationality, so it's possible there're other restrictions on EU status besides nationality too. But it would definitely be worth checking.
Thanks. I haven't done enough research yet to fully understand grants/financial aid in the UK, so your post was helpful! Would you know if the Research Council Grants be more likely to fund MRes students as opposed to taught Masters students?


(Original post by QHF)
There aren't that many postgrads at Oxford who do think they have what it takes to be at Oxford, but ultimately it's just a good, wealthy university. I think if you think the course suits you then you should seriously consider applying. That said you need a course that's right for you and it's quite possible that other places have courses which fit what you need better.
Okay thank you! Actually Oxford's Medieval Studies also really really interests me, especially as there are several optional courses and professors that are right down my alley. So much to think about. And other places interest me too - there is more investigating to do!
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almina
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(Original post by ellie.rew)
The minimum entry requirement for most Oxford taught masters (in the History faculty anyway) is a high 2.1 (67+), which, I think, is around a 3.5 GPA (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). So you're as qualified as anyone to apply and with grades like you have, I imagine you do actually have a good chance of getting in.

Of course, as has been said before, you should focus on the best course to fit your interests, not just one with a big name.
Thank you! Yes, I think that's about the equivalence. I did not know if American degrees from obscure little universities had "less value" than those from bigger and more well-known ones because that is sometimes the case here in the US. It seems that in the UK academics have more importance, which reassures me.
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almina
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(Original post by ukmed108)
I think you won't have to much of a problem as a 3.9-4.0 is considered a 1st class honors and that would get you into a program like MSc at Edinburgh. I don't know much about the strengths of each uni in this department, but I know that Edinburgh was the first to admit women into medicine and Sophia Jex Blake (one of the alum) later founded the London School of Medicine for Women which has been merged into UCL Medical School today.

I'm not really sure about job prospects for a degree like that, just be wary that a degree in Gender History doesn't lead to many obvious routes of employment.
Thanks, that's a great and interesting tidbit about Edinburgh! Hmm yes that is an excellent point about career prospects. I guess the only solid career lane with such a degree/specialization would be in academia, right? I'm not completely opposed to it but I also know it is very very difficult. I also have interests in other areas like economic history, which has better career prospects than gender history, but which doesn't make my heart sing as much as areas closer to culture/art/literature. It's difficult to balance interest and realistic job prospects - but I still have time to mull all this over as I'll be applying near the end of the year (and maybe even next spring). Anyway, thanks for your information and advice!
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QHF
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(Original post by almina)
Thanks. I haven't done enough research yet to fully understand grants/financial aid in the UK, so your post was helpful! Would you know if the Research Council Grants be more likely to fund MRes students as opposed to taught Masters students?
I don't know off the top of my head but I suspect not. There was a decision a few years ago to concentrate a shrinking pool of funding more on full PhD studentships, and they're likely to be focused on those.
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Georgie_M
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(Original post by almina)
I'm finishing up my B.A. in history and international studies this year and I'm trying to find a graduate program I like. For some weird reason I am passionate about women in history (particularly women writers) (even more particularly late medieval to Enlightenment) (but I'm not too attached - I would definitely consider other particularities as long as it pertained to women) and am thinking about doing a master's degree in that field of interest.

I know there is an MSc Gender History at University of Edinburgh, is it good? Does anyone also know about the gender history track at University of Glasgow? Are there other unis that offer specializations in gender history? Is gender history even a good field to enter?!

Also, I'm an American student getting my Bachelor's from a small, little-known public university. Do I have a chance of getting into a British postgraduate program? I do have a good GPA (3.9-4.0) and I'm hoping that it will be enough.

Thank you so much for your help!
For postgrad in England they do not take in to account which university you attended as long as it is an accredited university and I would imagine the US has a similar enough situation that this would also be the case for you. They look at your degree classification (GPA), references and Personal Statement. However funding is extremely limited everyone I know who has done/does a masters self-funds using savings.

Have you thought about Bristol University? They do international relations or development and gender, that was what I wanted to do but alas I had to go with the funding.
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European Son
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(Original post by almina)
I'm finishing up my B.A. in history and international studies this year and I'm trying to find a graduate program I like. For some weird reason I am passionate about women in history (particularly women writers) (even more particularly late medieval to Enlightenment) (but I'm not too attached - I would definitely consider other particularities as long as it pertained to women) and am thinking about doing a master's degree in that field of interest.

I know there is an MSc Gender History at University of Edinburgh, is it good? Does anyone also know about the gender history track at University of Glasgow? Are there other unis that offer specializations in gender history? Is gender history even a good field to enter?!

Also, I'm an American student getting my Bachelor's from a small, little-known public university. Do I have a chance of getting into a British postgraduate program? I do have a good GPA (3.9-4.0) and I'm hoping that it will be enough.

Thank you so much for your help!
This may be of interest to you.. http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanit...313593_en.html

I'm currently studying for my undergrad degree at the University of Glasgow and have developed a strong interest in gender history. The Msc is brand new, although the university has for many years offered a number of courses in gender history at both undergraduate and postgraudate level (it's a particular strength of the dept which includes the likes of Lynn Abrams and Alex Shepard)

I'm sure the Edinburgh course is fine as well, the university and history department has a similarly excellent reputation. I plan to apply for both courses when i graduate next spring. Good luck and let me know if you want any more information on studying in Scotland!
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Almina, you may want to look at Uni Bristol too. I don't know if they have a Gender studies program, but I'm going in September for the MPhil Medieval Studies. I'm also American and coming from a background of Anthropology an European studies. The dept is very interdisciplinary, so it may be good for you too! Definitely contact any dept if you want more info - in this case, Marianne Ailes is the head of my dept at Bristol. If you explain your situation and write a good purpose statement, then you should be fine! As far as I know, UK schools like Americans too


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almina
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(Original post by QHF)
I don't know off the top of my head but I suspect not. There was a decision a few years ago to concentrate a shrinking pool of funding more on full PhD studentships, and they're likely to be focused on those.
Ok thanks - that is good news for PhD students then!


(Original post by Georgie_M)
For postgrad in England they do not take in to account which university you attended as long as it is an accredited university and I would imagine the US has a similar enough situation that this would also be the case for you. They look at your degree classification (GPA), references and Personal Statement. However funding is extremely limited everyone I know who has done/does a masters self-funds using savings.

Have you thought about Bristol University? They do international relations or development and gender, that was what I wanted to do but alas I had to go with the funding.
Thank you! I did not know about Bristol, thanks for bringing it up. Even though international relations is not my number one interest I am not ruling it out, especially considering programs like Bristol's that specialize on gender. Too bad funding was elsewhere for you, I hope you are still happy in the program/university you ended up in


(Original post by European Son)
This may be of interest to you.. http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanit...313593_en.html

I'm currently studying for my undergrad degree at the University of Glasgow and have developed a strong interest in gender history. The Msc is brand new, although the university has for many years offered a number of courses in gender history at both undergraduate and postgraudate level (it's a particular strength of the dept which includes the likes of Lynn Abrams and Alex Shepard)

I'm sure the Edinburgh course is fine as well, the university and history department has a similarly excellent reputation. I plan to apply for both courses when i graduate next spring. Good luck and let me know if you want any more information on studying in Scotland!
Wow thanks, I had no idea Glasgow had a Gender History MSc. I gather it starts in the fall. How exciting! Glasgow's Centre for Gender History and the journal that it publishes sound very good, and I'm glad to hear an actual human confirm the excellence of the department.

Have you found any other good gender history Master's programs or do you think Glasgow and Edinburgh are the two best ones? And sure I would be glad to hear a little about what it's like to study in Scotland! What is Glasgow like? I have visited Edinburgh so I can picture it a little (as much as a tourist can!) - how does Glasgow compare/contrast? Otherwise how is the university atmosphere?


(Original post by smithka164)
Almina, you may want to look at Uni Bristol too. I don't know if they have a Gender studies program, but I'm going in September for the MPhil Medieval Studies. I'm also American and coming from a background of Anthropology an European studies. The dept is very interdisciplinary, so it may be good for you too! Definitely contact any dept if you want more info - in this case, Marianne Ailes is the head of my dept at Bristol. If you explain your situation and write a good purpose statement, then you should be fine! As far as I know, UK schools like Americans too


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Congratulations on getting into that program! What kind of research are you going to do? I looked into Medieval Studies at Bristol and I see what you mean about interdisciplinary; they really take it seriously there! I will definitely keep it in mind.
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