Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Penn State Psychology is one of only two graduate programs in the U.S. to offer a dual-title Ph.D. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and Psychology. Graduate students in Psychology also have the option to pursue a graduate minor in WGSS.

Students in the dual-title Ph.D. program learn to synthesize feminist and psychological theories and methods in their research. Our faculty advise students to work from intersectional, critical, queer, and/or feminist approaches to diversify the perspectives historically omitted or overlooked in psychological science. Students also gain experience with a variety of methodological tools such as experimental paradigms, qualitative inquiries, survey design, physiological measures, and longitudinal and field-based studies that can be used to inform positive social change. Our faculty are experts in addressing a number of timely social issues, such as intersectionality in psychology, power, masculinity, sex and sexuality, LGBTQ+ issues, prejudice, allyship and activism, human emotion, workplace outcomes, and health disparities. Graduates are well positioned to pursue both academic and non-academic career tracks. Some graduates are tenure-line faculty at various institutions (e.g., Ramapo College; University of Nebraska; University of California, Merced), while others are researchers in industry (e.g., FactWorks; Geico Insurance).

Students interested in WGSS may receive the M.S. and/or Ph.D. in “Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.” The Psychology requirements are no different than those for students seeking the Psychology degree alone, except that students also take 3 required courses in WGSS and 3 electives hosted within WGSS or cross-listed between Psychology and WGSS. There are also requirements for the thesis or dissertation and the composition of the candidate’s committee. To learn more about the dual-title Ph.D. and minor requirements, please see: https://psych.la.psu.edu/graduate/program-areas/cross-cutting-program-initiatives/dual-degree-programs/psychology-and-wgss/requirements/

How to Apply

Students interested in the dual-title Ph.D. program may choose to express their interest in their online application to Psychology during the initial admission process. After a student is admitted to Psychology at Penn State, they may apply to WGSS for admission to the dual-degree program within the first two years or prior to defending their master’s project. WGSS determines whether to admit the student into the dual-title program. Students should take at least one required WGSS seminar and complete at least one semester in the Psychology graduate program before applying for admission into the dual-title Ph.D. program. Students interested in a WGSS minor do not need to formally apply into WGSS, but they must complete an online form after completing the required coursework.

Current Students of Psychology and WGS

  • Roua Daas
  • Tiyobista Maereg
  • Brianna Donaldson-Morton
  • Olivia Goldstein
  • Jude Sullivan
  • Emerson Todd

Graduates of Psychology and WGSS

  • Brittany Bloodhart, California State University, San Bernardino
  • Jessica Cundiff, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Elaine Dicicco, Capital One

·       Terri Frasca, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

  • Sarah Gervais, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Johanna Johnson, Infor
  • Lizbeth Kim, Sandberg Goldberg Bernthal Family Foundation
  • Mary Kruk, Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
  • Katie Lewis, University of Washington in St. Louis
  • Heather MacArthur, Blueprint
  • Kaitlin McCormick-Huhn, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Flora Oswald, University of Connecticut
  • Lindsay Palmer, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Katina Sawyer, University of Arizona
  • Nathaniel Schermerhorn, University of Essex
  • Kristy Schlenker, CarePoint Health
  • Srijana Shrestha, Wheaton College
  • Maggie Thomas, Earlham College
  • Leah Warner, Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Kevin Weaver, FactWorks
  • Matthew Zawadzki, University of California, Merced