Designated Emphasis



The Designated Emphasis program was developed to accommodate some of the many students who conduct graduate-level research in gender and/or sexuality related topics. Administered by the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies and its affiliated faculty, the DEWGS provides its students with certification as well as with a context for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and development of research.

Applicants will be selected according to their academic qualifications, the appropriateness of their interests to the program’s teaching resources, and the enrollment capacity of its graduate seminars. To be admitted to the program, applicants must already be accepted into an existing Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley (master’s students and students at other institutions are not eligible). Graduate students should apply in their third semester for admission to the program in their fourth semester. Students must apply before completing their qualifying examinations.

Students admitted to the Designated Emphasis program should enroll in the required introductory seminar (GWS 200) offered the following spring if possible, and must complete that seminar before taking their qualifying exams. Students must fulfill the following requirements before completion of the degree: The introductory seminar (GWS 200), a 200 level elective seminar taught in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies (or an approved substitute taught by a member of the affiliated faculty), and a dissertation research seminar (GWS 220). A member of the GWS department or its affiliated faculty must be on the qualifying examination committee; a topic on women, gender, and sexuality must be on the qualifying examination, and a member of the GWS department or its affiliated faculty must be on the dissertation committee.

Advisory Committee

Karen Nakamura

Karen Nakamura is a cultural and visual anthropologist whose research focuses on disability, sexuality, and minority social movements in contemporary Japan. Her first book, Deaf in Japan, was on sign language, identity, and deaf social movements. She recently finished a second book on schizophrenia and mental illness in Japan entitled, A Disability of the Soul. For the past year, she has been working on a project exploring the intersections of disability, gender, and sexuality.

Damon Young

Damon Young is co-appointed with the department of French and is affiliated faculty in the Program in Critical Theory. He teaches courses on French and francophone cinema, on sexuality and media, and on topics in digital media and film theory (including classical film theory, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, semiotics, feminist and queer theory). His book, Making Sex Public, and Other Cinematic Fantasies, is forthcoming in the Theory Q series at Duke University Press in December 2018. It examines fears and fantasies about women’s and queer sexualities—as figures for social emancipation or social collapse–in French and US cinema since the mid-1950s. It also considers the way cinema produces a new model of the private self as it challenges the novel’s dominance in the twentieth century.

Leslie Salzinger

Leslie Salzinger is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies. She got her PhD in Sociology at UC Berkeley and previously taught in the sociology departments at the University of Chicago and and Boston College. She is an ethnographer, focused on gender, feminist theory, economic sociology, and neoliberalism. Much of her research has focused on Latin America. Her primary theoretical interests lie in the cultural constitution of economic processes, and in the creation of subjectivities within political economies. Her award-winning first book, Genders in Production: Making Workers in Mexico’s Global Factories (, analyzed the gendered dimensions of transnational production.


DEWGS Requirements

  • GWS 200 – Theory and Critical Research
  • GWS 220 – Dissertation Research Seminar
  • Elective seminar – A 200 level seminar in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies.
Note: Students may petition the DEWGS Director to use a gender- or sexuality-focused graduate course taught outside GWS to fulfill the elective requirement. That request must include a copy of the course syllabus and a cover letter indicating how that course was directly related to your studies in DEWGS (assigned readings, research focus, or paper completed). GWS 200 and 220 can not be substituted by other classes.
  • Graduation Information
    1. Contact the GWS Graduate Student Affairs Office (GSAO) early in the semester you are scheduled to graduate to review the completion of the DE program requirements.
    2. Complete the DE Final Report
    3. Please inform the GSAO if you will be attending the Gender and Women’s Studies Commencement Ceremonies in May.
    4. Submit name of your home department, title of your dissertation, and a permanent address to the GSAO.
  • Upon completion of these requirements and the dissertation, the student will receive a designation on their transcript and their diploma to state that they have completed a “Ph.D. in (…) with an Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality.” The GWS department also provides each DE graduate with a DEWGS medal at the GWS commencement ceremonies.

Required Forms

DEWGS Graduate Student Affairs Officer
Althea Grannum-Cummings
608 Barrows Hall

DEWGS Faculty Advisor
Leslie Salzinger

Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Pedagogy
616 Barrows Hall

Application Process

The department will be updating the admissions process before the next application cycle. Please check this page in September 2019 for details.

Materials should include 4 copies of the following:

  • a one page statement of purpose which includes: any previous academic training in the field of Gender/Sexuality Studies, a short description of your dissertation project and/or overall research interests (be as specific as possible), and an explanation of where the DE would fit into that project
  • one letter of recommendation from your home department faculty indicating readiness to complete the DE requirements (letter can be mailed under separate cover or emailed to <>).
  • a gender/sexuality relevant writing sample (25 pages or less)
  • a Curriculum Vitae
  • an (unofficial) Berkeley transcript

Deadline for Spring admission: October 30
(If October 30 falls on a weekend, please submit materials the following Monday.)

Send all application materials to:

c/o Gender & Women’s Studies Department
608 Barrows Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1070


Students admitted to the DEWGS Program can apply for stipends to support research and activities related to their participation in the program. Awards are made available once a year in the Fall. The total budget for graduate student stipends varies each year; individual awards can be up to $500. Each DE student is eligible for one stipend over the course of their career at Berkeley.

Purpose of the Stipends: The stipends are intended to provide a source of funding for students in the DEWGS to engage in DEWGS-related activities or to pursue DEWGS scholarship. As such, it is for projects that are outside of the normal range of your home department activities. Examples would be: travel to conferences or workshops that focus on gender or sexuality; travel to an archive or field work site for the purpose of engaging in gender or sexuality-related scholarship; purchase of primary research materials that are necessary for your gender-related project and are not readily available on campus.

Deadline to Apply: October 30 (If October 30 falls on the weekend, please submit materials the following Monday.)

Application Procedure: Download the application (pdf file) and forward the completed form to:

DEWGS Graduate Student Affairs Officer
Althea Grannum-Cummings

You do not need letters of recommendation.

(please note: you will need to download and save a blank copy of the application to your computer before filling it out)

Evaluation Criteria: The Executive Committee of the DEWGS will meet shortly after each deadline to decide which applications to fund. Evaluation will be based on the following considerations:

  1. Does the student have a well-defined use for the stipend, and has the student documented the specific costs involved?
  2. Does the student have a previous history of DEWGS funding, and if so in what amount? Students who have never received funding will be given the highest priority and no one can receive a stipend more than twice.
  3. Has the student exhausted other avenues of funding including their home department and Graduate Division?
  4. Would the funds contribute to the student’s intellectual growth and / or professionalization in DEWGS scholarship?
  5. Is the project clearly a DEWGS related project which would not be likely to be funded elsewhere?

Receiving Your Award: You will be notified by email immediately after the committee has met as to whether you received a stipend or not. In the event that your application was successful, you will be given instructions on how to receive your stipend. If your application was not successful, your message will contain an indication of why it did not succeed.

Teaching Opportunities

GWS provides GSI opportunities for DEWGS students to assist the instructor of record for:

GWS 10      Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies (4 units)
GWS 20      Introduction to Feminist Theory (4 units)
GWS 195    Gender and Women’s Studies Senior Seminar (4 units)
LGBT 20AC  Alternative Sexual Identities and Communities in Contemporary American Society (4 units)

Calls for applications go out every semester via the DE listserv and all DE students are encouraged to apply.