The Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies offers a master's, a doctorate and a collaborative program (at the master’s level) in women’s studies.

The objective of the MA program in women’s studies is to encourage the acquisition of in-depth, plural, diversified, and heuristic knowledge of the different currents of feminist thought, including theoretical and methodological proposals. The program aims to develop an aptitude for research in the university or the community, while enriching the student’s personal work through the supervised writing of a research paper or thesis.

The primary objective of the Doctoral program is to prepare candidates for a career in teaching and research. The program, however, also prepares candidates for other careers by giving them a comprehensive knowledge in feminist theory, methodology and analysis in a context that highlights the need for scholarship engaged with the realities of an increasingly transnational world. PhD graduates will have acquired and demonstrated their aptitude to produce scholarly work engaged with some of the most urgent issues in the global and local socio-political, cultural and economic landscape while identifying new directions for feminist scholarship and intervention.

The programs offer a specialization in one or the other of the research fields below.

Gender, Power and Representations

The field of Gender, Power and Representations examines gendered representations in such domains as literature, arts, communications, history, politics and the law (among others). Such scholarship interrogates commonplace understandings of masculinity and femininity and examines the ways in which sex and gender intersect with race, class, sexuality, ability and age. Focusing on the locations and forms of power with regard to the notions of “sex”, “gender”, “difference” and interlocking oppression, this field also examines how these perspectives are created, inscribed, and regulated through various spheres of social and institutional activity in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Women, Rights and Citizenship in a Globalized World

The field of Women, Rights and Citizenship in a Globalized World explores scholarly and practice issues related to feminist gendered analyses of globalization and cosmopolitanism, citizenship and development, transnational migrations and activism, as well as rights, social justice and health in an increasingly globalized world. The field responds to the need to examine the ways in which women are now located in a world characterized by a reordering of economic, political and cultural processes and a reconfiguration of the territorial and discursive boundaries of rights, justice, participation, and collective agency, as well as the implications of the intersections of gender with race, class, and sexuality in such analyses.

The programs are offered full-time and part-time. Courses are offered both in English and in French. In accordance with University of Ottawa regulations, students can write their papers, exams, and theses in the official language of their choice (either English or French). Students are encouraged to acquire at least a passive knowledge of the second official language before graduation.

The programs are governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies. 

For the most accurate and up to date information on application deadlines, language tests and other admission requirements, please visit the specific requirements webpage.

To be eligible for admission to the PhD program, students must hold a master’s degree (thesis or research paper) in women’s studies or a master’s degree with specialization in women’s studies and have a minimum average of 75% (B+) calculated in accordance with graduate studies guidelines. Applicants with a master’s degree in a related discipline may also be considered if the subject of their thesis or research paper is linked to women’s studies and if they possess the theoretical and methodological background necessary for the doctoral program in women’s studies.

Language Requirements

Proficiency in either English or French is required. Applicants whose first language is neither English nor French must provide proof of proficiency in one or the other. The list of acceptable proofs is indicated in the “Admission” section of the general regulations of in effect for graduate studies. 

Transfer to the PhD Program

Students enrolled in the MA program in Women’s Studies, whose academic performance is exceptional and who have demonstrated good aptitude for doctoral research (as evaluated by the Women’s Studies Graduate Committee) may be admitted to the PhD program without having to complete their MA. To qualify for transfer to the PhD program, students must have completed four graduate courses (12 units) including three FEM courses with a minimum average of 80% (A-); have demonstrated potential for doctoral-level research; and have received approval from the Women’s Studies Graduate Committee.

Transfer to the PhD program must take place within the 16 months following initial enrollment for the master’s degree. Following transfer, students must successfully complete two graduate FEM courses (6 units), the comprehensive examination (within the 24 months following transfer), the thesis proposal and prepare the doctoral thesis.

The request for transfer must be made during the third term of full-time enrollment (or equivalent), and the transfer must take place before the end of the fourth term.

The application file must include a curriculum vitae, official transcripts and two letters of recommendation. Applicants must also submit a letter of intent describing their interest in studying in one of the fields of the program, their research interests and their university and practical experience deemed relevant for admission to the program.

Doctoral Program

Compulsory Courses:
FEM 5103Feminist Methodologies 13 Units
FEM 5300Feminist Theories 13 Units
3 course units from:3 Units
Gender, Power and Representations
Women, Rights and Citizenship in a Globalized World
FEM 8101Seminar in Women's Studies3 Units
Thesis Proposal:
FEM 9997Doctoral Thesis Proposal
Comprehensive Examination:
FEM 9998Comprehensive Examination
THD 9999Doctoral Thesis


Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 units), the thesis proposal, or whose research progress is deemed unsatisfactory are required to withdraw.

Duration of the Program

Students are expected to fulfill all requirements within four years. The maximum time permitted is six years from the date of initial enrollment in the program, or seven years in the case of the students transferring from the master’s to the doctorate.

Research Fields & Facilities

Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, a few steps away from Parliament Hill, the University of Ottawa is among Canada’s top 10 research universities.

uOttawa focuses research strengths and efforts in four Strategic Areas of Development in Research (SADRs):

  • Canada and the World
  • Health
  • e-Society
  • Molecular and Environmental Sciences

With cutting-edge research, our graduate students, researchers and educators strongly influence national and international priorities.

Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences

The Faculty of Social Sciences represents a place of excellence in knowledge creation, research and training. Driven by both disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, research at the Faculty is rich, innovative and varied, contributing to the depth of understanding and breadth of discussions on a variety of issues nationally and internationally.  This research, whether it be fundamental, theoretical, applied or action-oriented, is generated by our renowned expertise, ultimately culminating in applications designed to influence individual communities and the betterment of society.

We have identified five research themes which collectively represent a large proportion of the research undertaken at the Faculty of Social Sciences:

  • International Studies
  • Francophonie
  • Public Policy
  • Health, Well-Being
  • Justice, Society

Facilities, Research Centres and Institutes at the Faculty of Social Sciences

Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Citizenship and Minorities (CIRCEM), Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS), Centre for Public Management and Policy, Centre for Research on Educational and Community Service (CRECS), Centre on Governance (COG), Human Rights Research and Education Centre (affiliation), Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies and Institute for Science, Society and Policy.

For more information, refer to the list of faculty members and their research fields on Uniweb

IMPORTANT: Candidates and students looking for professors to supervise their thesis or research project can also consult the website of the faculty or department of their program of choice. Uniweb does not list all professors authorized to supervise research projects at the University of Ottawa.

FEM 5103 Feminist Methodologies (3 units)

Methodologies developed in Women's Studies. Critical examination from both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Course Component: Seminar

FEM 5300 Feminist Theories (3 units)

Approaches to contemporary feminist theory. Critical examination from both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Course Component: Seminar

Permission of the Department is required.

FEM 5503 Méthodologies féministes (3 crédits)

Méthodologies élaborées en études des femmes. Examen critique dans une perspective à la fois pluridisciplinaire et interdisciplinaire.

Volet : Séminaire

Permission du Département est requise.

FEM 5700 Théories féministes (3 crédits)

Différentes approches de la théorie féministe contemporaine. Examen critique dans une perspective à la fois pluridisciplinaire et interdisciplinaire.

Volet : Séminaire

FEM 6100 Special Topics in Women's Studies (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

FEM 6101 Gender, Power and Representations (3 units)

This course analyses the diverse body of feminist scholarship theorizing conceptions of gender, power and representation. Examining the construction and representation of gender/sex differences, the course explores the power relations inherent in these representations, while also examining how gender roles and expectations are linked to representations of class, race, sexuality, age, nationality and ability.

Course Component: Seminar

Prerequisites: FEM 5103 and FEM 5300

FEM 6102 Women, Rights and Citizenship in a Globalized World (3 units)

This course examines women's rights and citizenship; gender and development; and gender, migration and health in the context of globalization. Topics include the following: mainstreaming gender and health development; initiatives bringing feminist Southern voices across the world; health consequences of the massive incorporation of Third World women into a transnational labour force; women's agency and resistance; social capital and pluralism in health services and health care.

Course Component: Seminar

Prerequisites: FEM 5103 and FEM 5300

FEM 6103 Directed Readings (3 units)

Course Component: Lecture

FEM 6500 Thèmes spéciaux en études des femmes (3 crédits)

Volet : Cours magistral

FEM 6501 Rapports sociaux de sexe, pouvoir et représentations (3 crédits)

Ce cours analyse les diverses théories féministes qui visent à formaliser les concepts de genre, de pouvoir et de représentation. Les représentations des différences entre les genres/les sexes y sont abordées sous l'angle de leur construction sociale, ainsi que des rapports de pouvoir qui leur sont intrinsèquement liés. Le cours examinera également la façon dont les rôles et les attentes quant au genre sont aussi façonnés par des représentations concernant la classe, « la race » et l'ethnicité, la sexualité, l'âge, la nationalité et la présence/l'absence de handicap.

Volet : Séminaire

FEM 6502 Femmes, droits et citoyenneté dans un monde globalisé (3 crédits)

Ce cours englobe les domaines d'études connexes touchant aux droits des femmes et à la citoyenneté : genre et développement international; genre, migrations et santé dans un contexte mondialisé. Des sujets variés y sont abordés, qu'il s'agisse de l'intégration des rapports sociaux de sexe dans le développement de la santé, des initiatives novatrices permettant de faire entendre les voix féministes du sud ou encore des conséquences sur la santé de l'enrôlement massif des femmes du Tiers monde dans un marché du travail multinational et mondialisé. On s'intéressera aussi à l'agentivité et aux résistances de ces femmes, à leur capital social et au pluralisme en matière de services et de soins de santé. Préalables : FEM 5503, FEM 5700.

Volet : Séminaire

Préalables : FEM 5503 et FEM 5700

FEM 6503 Lectures dirigées (3 crédits)

Volet : Cours magistral

FEM 6900 Thèmes spéciaux en études des femmes / Special Topics in Women's Studies (3 crédits / 3 units)

Volet / Course Component: Cours magistral / Lecture

FEM 6997 Projet de thèse de maîtrise / Master's Thesis Proposal

Master's Thesis Proposal

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

Préalables : FEM 5503, FEM 5700 et 6 crédits de la banque de cours au choix. / Prerequisites: FEM 5103, FEM 5300 and 6 credit from the list of electives.

FEM 6999 Mémoire / Research Paper (6 crédits / 6 units)

Préalables : FEM 5503, FEM 5700 et 12 crédits de la banque de cours au choix. / Research Paper

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

Préalables : FEM5503, FEM5700 et 12 crédits de la banque de cours au choix. / Prerequisites: FEM 5103, FEM 5300 and 12 units from the list of electives.

FEM 8101 Seminar in Women's Studies (3 units)

This seminar deals with professional development (the preparation of grant applications, conference papers and articles), and reviews the central issues and debates of the discipline.

Course Component: Seminar

Prerequisites: FEM 5103 and FEM 5300. Reserved for students registered in the PhD program in Women's Studies.

FEM 8501 Séminaire en études des femmes (3 crédits)

Ce séminaire porte sur le développement professionnel (préparation de demandes de subvention, conférences, articles) et sur les enjeux principaux de la discipline.

Volet : Séminaire

Préalables : FEM 5503 et FEM 5700. Réservé aux étudiantes et étudiants inscrits au doctorat en étude des femmes.

FEM 9997 Projet de thèse de doctorat / Doctoral Thesis Proposal

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

Préalable: FEM 9998 / Prerequisite: FEM 9998

FEM 9998 Examen de synthèse / Comprehensive Examination

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research