Gender Studies (Applied)

MLitt, MSc


The MSc/MLitt in Gender Studies (Applied) equips students with conceptual and practical skills in gender analysis and research, underpinned by feminist theory. Through core modules – Understanding Gender, Feminist Research, and Key Feminist Thinkers – students are exposed to a range of theoretical and methodological approaches for studying gender. We give history and context to the development of key feminist debates, exploring commonalities and differences in the ways they have played out in different disciplines. At the heart of the course is a concern about how academic debate informs, is shaped by, and is – at times – distanced from, how gender ‘works’ in real world contexts. Students explore these issues through a seminar-based course and are offered the opportunity to apply their learning in real world contexts through the Research Placement module.

This course is interdisciplinary, but, within this, students can emphasise Arts and Humanities (MLitt) or Social Science (MSc) approaches. The MSc is a recognised doctoral training programme for the Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences (see more below under "funding") and places a greater emphasis on social science research methods and data analysis. It is the recommended route for students interested in PhD study in Social Sciences.  The MLitt offers students more optional modules and is better suited to students looking for an all-round education in Gender Studies and/or is interested in PhD study in the Arts and Humanities. 

The MSc/MLitt in Gender Studies (Applied) at the University of Stirling is unique in the UK in that it places the application of learning to real-world contexts at the heart of its course. It is housed within the Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies and students have access to its seminar course of visiting academics and practitioners working on gender and feminist issues in a variety of professional contexts. Students have the opportunity to apply their learning to a real-world research placement and the course team have established links with potential placement providers from the feminist third sector as well as with a number of organisations who are committed to gender equality as part  of their work in arts, culture and sport.

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a taught postgraduate degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: MLitt, MSc
  • Study methods: Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: The course is available on both full-time (12 month) and part-time (27 month) routes.
  • Start date:

    September 2014

  • Course Director: Programme Director - Professor Karen Boyle.
Download postgraduate prospectus

Karen Boyle

Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Division of Communications, Media & Culture
University of Stirling

  1. You will be taught by experienced and committed staff, teaching in a field they are passionate about.
  2. You will have one-to-one supervision from staff engaged in ongoing research at the forefront of their disciplines: from Kirstein Rummery’s work on care policies and gender equality in small states, to Kat Lindner’s work on queer film festivals.
  3. You will engage with debates from a wide variety of different disciplines and work with unique materials in feminist archival collections.
  4. You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a real world setting.
  5. You will become a member of the Centre for Gender & Feminist Research and have access to its seminar programme of visiting academics and practitioners working on gender and feminist issues in a variety of professional contexts.

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

For more information go to English language requirements

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email to discuss your course of study.

Fees and costs

2017/18 Overseas £13,050
2017/18 Home/EU £4,600


2018/19 Overseas £13,650
2018/19 Home/EU To be confirmed

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

The University of Stirling is delighted to announce two scholarships specifically for students on the Msc/Mlitt in Gender Studies (Applied) for study beginning in September 2017: the Dr Dee Amy-Chinn Gender Studies Scholarship and the Gender Studies Community Bursary.

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Gender Studies (180 credits) combines interdisciplinary core courses on gender theory, feminist research and the history of feminist thought, with optional courses within a range of disciplinary traditions. Its core modules (60 credits) focus on providing students with an interdisciplinary frame for the critical study of gender that is underpinned by feminist theory and acknowledges the ways in which gender informs – and is informed by – other structural inequalities. Collectively, they equip students with a knowledge and understanding of key feminist debates about ontology, epistemology and methodology, and enable them to identify both commonalities and differences in the ways these debates have played out in different disciplinary contexts. Students following the MSc route take two further core modules in Quantitative Data Analysis and Qualitative Data Analysis (worth an additional 40 credits), which provide advanced Social Science-oriented research methods training, essential for students considering undertaking further postgraduate research (e.g. at PhD level) in the Social Sciences.

The optional courses – of which MLitt students take three (totalling 60 credits) and the MSc students one (20 credits) – offer opportunities for more discipline-based learning, collectively providing a multi-disciplinary perspective for the study of gender issues. The Gender Studies Research Placement module is open to both MLitt and MSc students and allows students the chance to put their learning into practice in diverse real-world contexts.

Students complete the course by producing a 60-credit dissertation (12,000-15,000 words) on a topic of their choice within Gender Studies. Given the disciplinary reach of the course team, we are well qualified to provide expert supervision in a range of fields.

Delivery and assessment

The core modules are delivered in weekly seminars and the assessment is all in the form of coursework. The assessments are designed to allow students to develop and enhance academic skills in writing and research. The Understanding Gender, Feminist Research and Key Feminist Thinkers modules all have more than one assessment point to allow for feedback and improvement. In the Research Placement module, students will deliver their research in a form agreed in advance with the placement provider so as to best meet their needs and give students the opportunity to develop skills in delivering research in real-world contexts. 


Please note: Module options on offer may vary from year to year, but by way of illustration, those offered in 2016-17 were as below.

Academic Year 2017/18

Structure - MLitt Full-time

Autumn Understanding Gender (20) Feminist Research (20) Option (20)
Spring Key Feminist Thinkers (20) Option (20) Option (20)
Summer Dissertation (60)


Autumn Understanding Gender (20) Feminist Research (20)
Spring Key Feminist Thinkers (20)  
Summer Advanced Readings in Gender Studies OR Gender Studies Research Placement
Autumn 1 or 2 options (depending on summer choices) 
Spring/Summer Dissertation  

Option modules as follows:

Public Affairs and Advocacy Autumn
Female Gothic Autumn
Approaches to International Politics Autumn
Gender Studies Research Placement Spring
Advanced Readings in Gender Studies Spring
Communication & Democracy Spring
Managing and Developing a Diverse Workforce Spring
Criminalisation, Social Control & Human Rights Spring

Structure - MSc Full-time

Autumn Understanding Gender (20) Feminist Research (20) Quantitative Data Analysis (20)
Spring Key Feminist Thinkers (20) Qualitative Data Analysis (20) Option (20)
Summer Dissertation (60)
Autumn Understanding Gender (20) Feminist Research (20)
Spring Key Feminist Thinkers (20)  
Summer Advanced Readings in Gender Studies OR Gender Studies Research Placement 
Autumn Quantitative Data Analysis  
Spring Qualitative Data Analysis Dissertation
Summer Dissertation (60)

Option modules as follows:

Gender Studies Research Placement Spring
Advanced Readings in Gender Studies Spring
Managing and Developing a Diverse Workforce Spring
Criminalisation, Social Control & Human Rights Spring

This listing is based on the current curriculum and changes may be made to the course in response to new curriculum developments and innovations. The module information is currently linking to the 2016/17 module listing and the information for 2017/18 will be made available on 21st April 2017. 

Recommended reading




Connell, R. W. - Gender (2002)


Davis, K.; Evans, M.;Lorber, J. - Handbook of Gender and Womens’ Studies (2006)


Evans, M.; Williams, C. - Gender: the Key Concepts (2013)


Kimmel, M. S.; Hearn, J.; Connell, R. - Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities (2005)


Pilcher, J.; Whelehan, I. - Fifty Concepts in Gender Studies (2004)












Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.


Understanding Gender GNDPP01

Thur: 11.00-13.00

Feminist Research GNDPP02

Thur: 14.00-16.00

Quantitative Data Analysis


Key Feminist Thinkers GNDPP03

Thur: 11.00-13.00

Qualitative Data Analysis

Optional module

Please note this is an illustrative timetable and not the timetable for 2017/18.

Why Stirling?



In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


As this is an interdisciplinary course, there is no one unit of assessment which captures the work of all colleagues involved in its delivery. The Course Director was part of the Communications, Media & Culture submission which – in REF2014 – was top in Scotland for research impact, with 71% of its research deemed world leading or internationally excellent. Colleagues in the social policy unit of assessment will also make critical contributions to the course, with the Data Analysis core courses for the MSc delivered by the Faculty of Social Sciences. In REF2014, 78% of research in Social Policy was world leading or internationally excellent.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .


  • Only course of its kind in Scotland
  • Offers both an MLitt and MSc route to allow for different specialisms and research-training needs
  • A genuinely interdisciplinary course, which reaches beyond the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and involves colleagues in the Faculty of Social Science and the Stirling Management School, with further collaborations planned as the course develops.
  • Research Placement offers opportunities for applied research in real-world contexts. We have connections with a wide range of potential placement providers, from the leading feminist organisations in the third sector within Scotland to a number of organisations who are committed to gender equality as part of their work in arts, culture and sport. 

Academic Strengths 

The MSc/MLitt in Gender Studies (Applied) is intellectually robust and, with a trio of core courses, developed and delivered by a course team with a range of research and teaching specialisms but with a core commitment to feminist and gender analysis and issues, it is genuinely interdisciplinary. The course is co-ordinated by Karen Boyle – Professor of Feminist Media Studies – who brings more than 20 years of both academic feminism and active involvement in the feminist anti-violence sector to the role.

This is an exciting and innovative course – the only one of its kind in Scotland. It’s also a crucial time in the development of women’s soccer in Scotland and, as the top team in the country, we’re delighted to be able to offer research placements to Gender Studies students. 

Laura Montgomery, Club Manager, Glasgow City FC


In recent years Glasgow Women's Library's connection with Gender Studies has grown and developed into a important, vital and productive partnership. We welcome Research students on placement and as part of the Feminist Research modules. Their involvement in the life of the library has brought important new perspectives, research questions and valuable ideas and access tools to our collections and programmes. Students from Stirling signal that they gain much from their connection with GWL and in turn our collection and learning teams value the impact they have in enriching and developing our work.

 Adele Patrick, Glasgow Women's Library


Our staff

Karen Boyle is the first Professor of Feminist Media Studies in the UK. Karen has research and teaching interests across a range of topics within feminist media studies, having published most widely on representations of gendered violence (e.g. her monograph Media & Violence: Gendering the Debates, Sage, 2005) and pornography (e.g. her edited collection Everyday Pornography, Routledge, 2010), although she is also interested in feminist debates about film authorship and popular film genres, and in researching cinema audiences. She is a member of the Board of Directors of The Women’s Support Project, a feminist anti-violence organisation, and has presented her research both nationally and internationally to policy makers, feminist activists and media practitioners as well as fellow academics.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

The course combines subject-specific knowledge of Gender Studies with transferable skills in research and analysis. These are the skills required to flourish in a range of organisations in the public, private and third sectors, with the subject specialism being particularly advantageous for graduates seeking to work on gender and equality issues. The Research Placement allows students to develop skills in delivering research in real-world contexts and will be valuable in enabling students to build relevant networks in sectors in which they might be seeking employment post graduation. The course is also flexible enough to allow students to continue their postgraduate studies. Although the MLitt/MSc is new, the MSc builds on successful courses provided by the Faculty of Applied Social Science. Over the past five years, over half of the graduates from the MSc Applied Social Research have entered social research-related careers in the public, voluntary and private sectors, including a manager commissioning research for a local authority, a research fellow at a university and a senior research executive for a European-wide commercial research organisation. A third of its graduates continue with academic study and undertake a PhD.

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