We have a vibrant PhD programme in Gender, Culture & Society which includes a PhD Forum, Seminar Series and the option of following a structured PhD programme.
The Gender, Culture & Society @UL Postgraduate Forum is open to PhD students pursuing feminist or gender-related research in any discipline. It is a facilitated group and includes discussions of key theorists, talks from recent PhDs and experts in writing and publication, as well as support with the practical issues relating to postgraduate research and career planning.
MA in Gender, Culture & Society: Overview
Our MA programme in Gender, Culture & Society has been designed specifically to cater for students interested in the interdisciplinary study of gender in culture and society. Students can opt for modules offered by several departments in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and may choose to specialise in historical, socio-political or literary / cultural approaches to gender.
The programme aims to:
Modules offered include:
SO6021: Theoretical Approaches to Gender, Culture and Society I
This course will review and critically examine the main theoretical approaches to gender, sexuality and the position of women and men in society, starting in the late eighteenth century, but concentrating on the period from the 1970s onwards. The module will analyse theories about the social and cultural construction of gendered identities, their origin, maintenance and representation. It will pay attention to intersectionality, the connection between gender and other identity markers like age, ethnicity, race, ability, sexuality, class etc. Of central importance is the practical application of different theoretical positions to specific topics like gender and employment, gender and childhood, gender and the body, gender and nationalism, gender and the media, gender and the family.
EH6032 : Theoretical Approaches to Gender, Culture and Society II
This course will build on the knowledge of feminist, gender and queer theory students will have acquired in the module ‘Theoretical Approaches to Gender, Culture and Society I’. Specifically, it will be shown how different scholars have used these theoretical concepts and methods to study topics like family, work, technological change, mass and consumer culture and globalization. The module will also analyse theories about the social and cultural construction of gendered identities, their origin, maintenance and representation. It will pay attention to intersectionality, the connection between gender and other identity markers like age, ethnicity, race, ability, sexuality, class etc.
SO6031: Feminist Approaches to Research
This 3 credit module will enable students to bring feminist critiques of knowledge and methodology to their research and writing up the dissertation. Students will address questions such as: What have feminist theorists to say about objectivity and truth/ the distinction between knower and known/ self and other/ mind and body/ subject and object? How might we understand culture and society differently if we incorporate reproduction, bodily work, and intimate relations in our research? What might be the limits of ‘feminist standpoint’, the idea that women, as a subordinated group, are in a better position to arrive at an adequate representation of social reality than men? What kinds of questions guide feminist research? How do feminist researchers approach the objects of their research? What is the relationship between the object of research and the feminist researcher?
CU6032: Thesis Writing
This 3- credit module on thesis-writing focuses on structural, rhetorical, and strategic issues. The thesis as the point of order is examined, as is the question of how order in sections and subsections either interrupt or serve to unify the overall text. Academic rigor and stylistic appropriacy is examined in terms of the social and rhetorical contexts. Individuals’ writing strategies are examined and evaluated to determine their effectiveness. New strategies are explored.
Students are required to take four core modules and four optional modules in a combination of lectures and seminar discussion. An additional and substantial research element includes: Assessed course research papers; and a dissertation of 15,000 words written on a topic of choice under the guidance of an appropriate supervisor. The MA may be completed on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years.
Students must choose two modules among the following:
Theoretical Approaches to Gender, Culture and Society II
Students must choose two modules among the following:
All elective modules may not be offered if student numbers are too small or if there are irresolvable timetable clashes.
The MA aims to equip students with transferable skills which will be attractive to employers in a wide range of occupation areas. The interdisciplinary nature of the MA means that it encourages intellectual flexibility, good imaginative and conceptual abilities, as well as strong interactive, communication, team-working and social skills. The programme also provides a sound basis for doctoral research.
Primary degree in a relevant discipline with First or Second Class Honours or an approved equivalent qualification. Candidates must be proficient in English.
GENDER, CULTURE AND SOCIETY
"The University of Limerick’s (UL) Gender, Culture and Society course has been very informative and given me new perspective on both major world issues and on how we may research them. This is a subject which men (particularly straight men) are often socially discouraged from taking to preserve their own social image. I have found this course to be very welcoming and the environment to be very inclusive, with my classmates keeping in regular contact and supporting each other. The teachers have also been very supportive having geared the course contents to reflect the practices as well as the contents of the research subjects, and expecting more of their students in terms of quality and effort. For example, while I used to have difficulty understanding qualitative research, I have come to understand not only how but why it is practiced and of what benefit it can be. I would highly recommend this UL program!" -- (Luke Bleka American student on MA GCS@UL programme 2016/7).
"The MA in Gender, Culture & Society at UL was the perfect choice to allow me to continue my studies surrounding the representation of transgender people in popular culture by giving me access to a wide range of modules across disciplines. The most important aspect of the program was that I was able to move beyond the basics of ‘gender as a social construct’ into the very real, radical ways we can, given the knowledge base formed as part of the MA, educate the rest of the world to be more tolerant and accepting of gender beyond binaries, and the ways in which resistance to transphobia and heteronormativity can be broadened in myriad important ways to combat other problematic areas of society such as racism, religious intolerance, and class inequality. I would very highly recommend this program to anyone with a strong interest in gender and a desire to do challenging and meaningful work in this sphere of academia." -- (Alena Kiel, American student on MA GCS@UL 2015/6 currently PhD student at UL).
"I am really enjoying the Masters in Gender, Culture and Society course. It is challenging as it makes me question some of my beliefs and assumptions about the world but this just shows me how important gender and other categories such as race and class are in today’s society, not just for other people but in my life and work also. There is great variety with the topics covered which can span from classical sociology theory to popular culture and there is a practical focus on research skills which will be very useful in the future. If you think you are even a bit curious about these subjects, I would recommend this course to you!" (Margaret O'Connor, MA GCS @UL programme – 2016/7).
"I wanted to do the MA Gender, Culture and Society course in UL for a few years and in 2016 the opportunity finally came up. The course is really interesting and there are a number of different modules to choose from depending on your interests. While it has been intense in parts the course director and lecturers are really supportive and approachable, I have learned so much and it was great to meet so many likeminded people. I am enjoying my time in UL and on this course and don’t regret my decision to return to third level education." (Yvonne Murphy , MA GCS@ UL student 2016/7).
'I was initially drawn to the MA in Gender, Culture and Society by the wide range of modules on offer and the fact that I could complete the course part-time. I was particularly interested in the socio-political approach to gender and was able to choose electives which focussed on both the theory and sociological methodology which laid the groundwork for my choice of PhD topic. The MA Dissertation, in particular, helped to develop and consolidate my research and writing skills in preparation for study at doctoral level'. (Patti O'Malley MA GCS @UL student P/T 2011-2013; Currently PhD Candidate, Gender, Culture & Society, Department of Sociology)