Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

Masters Dual-Degree with Social Work

Curious, Creative, Transformative

The Graduate Programs in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies draw from a variety of departments and programs on campus to analyze how knowledge is shaped by power (especially around the intersecting axes of gender, sexuality, and race) and to create new pathways for promoting social justice.  The WSGS community at Loyola is broadly interdisciplinary; culturally and intellectually diverse; tight-knit and supportive; politically and socially engaged; and committed to open-ended critique, inquiry, and invention. 

Loyola University Chicago is one of a very few institutions offering a dual degree in Social Work and Women's Studies and Gender Studies. Earning both an MA in Women's Studies and Gender Studies and an MSW in Social Work together allows students to complete these degrees more quickly by taking courses that carry credit in both fields. This dual degree program enables women's studies students to utilize their course work in an applied setting and allows social work students to enhance their capacity to work with women in social work settings after graduation.

As with all dual degree programs, students interested in the dual degree in Social Work and Women's Studies and Gender Studies must apply to each school simultaneously and be admitted based on the criteria for admission to each school. There are no separate admissions criteria for completing a dual degree program; however, there are course substitutions and logistics to be worked out with the liaisons. Students are encouraged to contact the liaisons from both schools at the time of admission. Although it is possible for a student to obtain both degrees in two years, the program can be extended as needed to three or four years, depending on a student's personal situation and special interests.

Course Requirements

The required WSGS courses include WSGS 401, which surveys the historical development of feminist thought from Mary Wollstonecraft to second-wave feminism and analyzes the impact of feminism on the general culture. WSGS 402 begins with a history of women's education in the United States and traces the institutional and intellectual development of women's studies as a field, focusing on the evolution of women's studies in the academy (here and in other countries) and on the changes in concepts of knowledge, in methodologies, and in pedagogy that women's studies scholarship has produced in various fields. WSGS 402 also introduces students to archival research using Loyola University's Women and Leadership Archives. The third core requirement is a course that explores feminism in a global dimension; a number of different courses can satisfy this requirement. In addition, students in the dual degree program are required to take three 3-credit WSGS electives. Electives in the program that may be especially relevant to dual degree students include Queer Theory (WSGS 497), Principle Healthcare Ethics (Philosophy 471), Sociology of Gender (Sociology 426), Christian Sexual Ethics (Theology 480), and Feminist Jurisprudence (Law 425), and several others. 

Dual degree students must take all the required foundation social work courses. Students in this program could specialize in either the health and mental health or the children and families clusters. Students interested in the school of social work concentration could also participate in the dual degree program with some modifications to the plan outlined above related to required social work courses.

Second year electives for dual degree students include the following courses: Family Therapy (SOWK 612), Treatment of Women (SOWK 619), and Family Violence (SOWK 631). The two additional electives would enable students in the dual degree program to meet the requirements for the child and family cluster if they wish to pursue this area. Students interested in health can meet the requirements for this specialization by taking Health Policy and Systems (SOWK 602) instead of Social Policy and Practice (SOWK 610); in addition, one of their social work electives would need to be Clinical Social Work Practice in Health Care (SOWK 614).

Students in the dual degree program must complete two social work field placements, one each year, which are focused on women. This means that the placements must provide students with experience in modalities of treatment that are women focused and/or involve students in advocacy activities in areas of concern for women. While there are some agencies that clearly meet these criteria by virtue of their focus and service population (some are listed below), other agencies may be considered if at least 50% of the student's activities in these agencies meet the criteria listed above. All placements must be supervised by social workers with an MSW.

Possible Field Placements at Women-Focused Agencies

  • A Friend's Place—DV
  • Constance Morris House—DV and shelter
  • Deborah's Place—homeless women
  • Genesis House—women who have been involved in prostitution
  • Hospice Horizon—lesbian women; death and dying
  • Hull House Uptown DV Counseling Center
  • Rape Victim Advocates
  • Sarah's Inn—DV counseling and shelter
  • Lake County Sexual Assault Program—adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Arlington Heights Sexual Assault/DV Program—physical and sexual assault on women

Upon completion of the program, all WSGS students do a capstone presentation -- reflecting on the culmination of their work in the program as well as future applications of their WSGS curriculum -- at the biannual WSGS capstone ceremony and celebration.  Along with the capstone presentation, students are required to submit a brief synthesis paper and annotated bibliography of ten sources in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies that have been influential to their work. 

More Information

For information about graduate programs in Women's Studies and Gender Studies, contact the Graduate Program Director Dr. Suzanne Bost at sbost@luc.edu To request materials or information online, please fill out this form.

For information on the MSW, contact the liaison for the dual degree with Women's Studies and Gender Studies or the Director of Admissions for the School of Social Work at 312.915.7005, or visit the School of Social Work Website.


To apply to a Women's Studies and Gender Studies graduate program, visit Graduate and Professional Education at Loyola or click here to apply online. Applicants for the dual MSW/MA degree should apply for admission to the programs using one application, indicating their intent to pursue the dual degree.

The MA program application requires three letters of recommendation, transcripts from all universities attended, a personal statement of purpose and a writing sample of five to twenty-five pages that includes citations and references, as well as the completed application form with application fee. Letters of reference from professors are preferred. The writing sample may be on any topic.


The application for the Masters degree in Women's Studies and Gender Studies is due by:
Fall entry: June 1
Spring entry: November 1