JD/MA Womens Gender & Sexuality Studies

About the Joint Degree

Cincinnati Law has long-been a leader in supporting social justice and human rights thought leadership and action through its institutes and specialized coursework.

Our first-of-its-kind joint JD/M.A. in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program provides students unique opportunities to engage in rigorous, interdisciplinary and feminist study of law and social justice.

The University of Cincinnati’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and the College of Law are two of the oldest and most respected programs in the country in their respective fields. They remain on the cutting edge of research and practice in the studies of gender, sexuality, race and social justice.

In our JD/MA program, you can earn both degrees over the course of just FOUR years. You will take courses in both programs, develop your own research projects and have the opportunity to put your learning to use in the real world along the way. 

Your peers have helped survivors of domestic abuse, advocated for greater LGBTQ rights in Ohio and worked in national feminist legal organizations, including the National Women’s Law Center, Equality Now and Legal Momentum.

Plan of Study

Your core courses are designed to be completed in your first two years of study. Your last two years, then, remain open to a wide array of courses across the WGSS Department and the College of Law, allowing you to focus on issues of gender, sexuality, race and social justice as you follow your passion. Our expert faculty will help you tailor your courses to help you meet your professional and personal goals.

WGSS Core Courses

  • Intro to Graduate Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Foundations of Feminist Theory
  • WGSS: Teaching Practicum
  • Feminist Theory: Race/Class/Nation, Global or Contemporary I & II
  • Feminist Methods or Feminist Theory (sequence)

College of Law First-Year Courses

  • Constitutional Law I & II
  • Contracts
  • Torts
  • Civil Procedure I & II
  • Criminal Law
  • Property
  • Legal Research and Writing/Advocacy

Selected Elective Course Offerings

  • Global Sexualities
  • Law, Literature, and Feminism
  • Women, Gender, and Social Movements
  • Gender, Migration, and Citizenship
  • Gender and the Law
  • World Politics and Global Feminisms
  • Critical Race Theory


Law students must complete 90 credit hours, with at least 77 credits resulting from classroom work. Joint Degree candidates may finish both degrees in four years by applying a number of credits to both programs. Specifically, Joint Degree students may satisfy 8 law school classroom credit hours through the MA program, so only 82 additional credit hours are required; 69 of those must be classroom hours. In addition to the general credit requirements, law students have an upper-level writing requirement and a seminar requirement.

Learning in Action

As a Joint Degree student, you can also enhance your educational experience through a semester-long externship, worth 12 credit hours, working on issues of gender and the law at public interest organizations throughout the nation. Follow your passion and work alongside experienced advocates as you find ways to apply your knowledge to the latest legal issues.  To qualify for an externship, you must:

  • Take a two-credit practical lawyering course;
  • Spend 10 weeks of a semester working on issues concerning gender and the law at a public interest organization;
  • Write a seminar paper under the supervision of a faculty advisor; and
  • Present experiences and research in the form of a conference paper.

Past Joint Degree program externship sites include National Women’s Law Center (Washington, DC), The Women’s Law Project (Pittsburgh, PA), Legal Momentum (New York, NY and Washington, DC) and Equality Now (New York City, NY).

You'll also be able to take advantage of experiential opportunities offered by both the College of Law and the WGSS department.

  • Work with the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic (LINK)
  • Study abroad opportunities available to you through the WGSS Department (LINK).

Programming and Symposia

The JD/MA program sponsors, hosts and organizes a wide range of panels, lectures, film screenings and forums—as well as an annual symposium—that promote interdisciplinary engagement with issues surrounding gender and sexuality. We seek to engage students, scholars and the community at large by promoting debate, research and scholarship. One example? The Second Annual Black Feminist Symposium, Feb. 23, 2018, focused on Black feminist activism, leadership and research.

You must apply separately to and meet admission requirements of both programs for the Joint Degree. You are required to submit an LSAT score; the MA program will waive the GRE requirement for applicants demonstrating they are applying to the JD/MA Joint Degree program. 

Learn more:

College of Law Faculty

Kristin Kalsem
Professor of Law
Affiliated Faculty, WGSS Department

WGSS Faculty

Valerie Weinstein
Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Graduate Program Director