Modules and Structures

 photo of a group of womenClasses are delivered by a course team that combines extensive academic and practitioner experience in the areas covered by the course. The programme offers students an exciting combination of engagement with academic debates and ideas, hands-on practical assignments and community engagement.  In addition to taught modules and the dissertation, practical workshops are offered throughout the year to strengthen academic research and writing skills and other aspects of professional development.

The MA involves completion of 90 credits (ECTS) including a minor dissertation (30 credits). In the first semester, fulltime students take four core modules. Two modules (10 credits each) examine the gender dimensions of globalisation and human rights respectively, including in-depth discussion of key concepts and practice, and initiatives to advance gender equality, in each domain. In the second semester students choose 25 credits from a range of options. Information on each available module is included below.  Part-time students normally complete 45 credits of coursework in the first year, and 15 credits of coursework and the dissertation in the second year.

Modules are assessed on the basis of learning journals, practical assignments, in-class presentations, and final essays and, in the case of Clár collaborations, a portfolio, including an applied project agreed with the partner organisation. Teaching and learning sessions are organised around weekly seminars in which active student participation is paramount, encouraged and supported. Seminars are designed around inputs and guidance from lecturers, multimedia resources, group discussions, presentations. Regular guest speakers and field trips are a feature of the programme.

 Semester One – Core Modules

jigsawFeminist and Gender Theorising (10 ECTS)

This module provides participants with an opportunity to explore key ideas in feminist theory and gender studies. It takes a retrospective look at some of the most important works in the field, encouraging students to engage critically with the texts and to discuss real world examples and applications of feminist and gender concepts. Students are guided through an exploration of selected influential thinkers and their critiques of social, cultural and political ideas, structures and practices. The module explores how gender works on different levels and in different situations, especially in relation to: bodies and sexualities, public institutions and policies, and gendered representations in literary, film and scholarly text.

Gender Perspectives on Globalisation (10 ECTS)

This course focuses on globalisation from a gender perspective. It examines the dynamics between gender inequality and the socio-economic and political processes of globalisation. In particular, it focuses on how the changing nature of production with global flows of capital and people, have a gender differentiated impact on the lives of women in different locations. Two case studies are presented. The first explores in greater depth the working conditions in the new global factories and the second builds understanding of new opportunities for rural women in the context of globalised agriculture. A third theme of the course is the global flows of people with a particular emphasis on the migration/sex trafficking/care work nexus. Finally, women’s responses or resistance to globalisation are discussed, particularly their activism in various local and transnational contexts – through grassroots organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and international forums.

Human Rights, Women and Gender: Issues Debates and Practices (10 ECTS)

This module offers a broad introduction to international human rights concepts, mechanisms, organisations, and practices with particular reference to women and gender. The primary focus is on the global human rights system of the United Nations, with some examples from regional systems. Participants consider feminist and other critiques of mainstream human rights thinking and practice, exploring ideas of universalism, cultural relativism, Western-dominance, the public-private divide and the principle of state sovereignty. The role of different identities and experiences, linked to gender, socio-economic background, ethnicity, citizenship, ability/disability, age and sexual orientation, in limiting enjoyment of human rights is a major theme. Significant “women’s human rights” and gender issues of recent years are examined, including violence against women (VAW) and sexual and reproductive rights. This module provides a solid basis on which to build a deeper understanding of human rights practice and advocacy from gender perspectives in other modules.

Research Methods (5 ECTS)

This introductory module aims to strengthen basic skills of students to prepare them for a more in-depth grounding in research methods. The topics covered include definitions of research, argument and logic, sources of information, tools for information searches, research skills and presentation of analysis. The module will be conducted in a lecture format with recommended preparatory readings and practical in-class exercises.

FarmerSemester Two – Option Modules

 Applied Gender Analysis (10 ECTS)

This module introduces approaches and tools that are used in developing, implementing and monitoring policy frameworks and the programmes of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Students will engage in critical discussions of gender mainstreaming as a strategy for advancing gender equality in both policy and programme. Participants in this module will also gain experience in a variety of practical tools – gender analysis frameworks, gender proofing, gender auditing, and gender budgeting – used by development practitioners.

Clár Collaboration (10 ECTS)

Community learning and research collaborations involve 6-8 weeks spent with a partner organization, as an assessed component of the MA experience. The Clár module enhances the civic engagement, collaborative research, and student-led dimensions of the programme. Students are partnered with a well-established NGO or agency concerned with social issues, development, equality or human rights where they have opportunities to bring their knowledge, critical analysis and gender lens to assist in meeting the needs of the organisation and the groups it serves. Community partners include organisation engaged in research, education, advocacy, policy processes and/or service provision in areas relevant to the MA themes, at local, national and/or international levels. Examples of participating partners include: Amnesty International, Connemara Community Radio, Front Line Defenders, Galway Rape Crisis Centre, Galway City Partnership, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Trócaire and Safe Ireland.

Gender and Conflict (10 ECTS)

This module examines the gendered dimensions of armed conflict, peace, and security issues with a focus on the role of the United Nations. It introduces students to literatures on gender and conflict in sociology, international relations and international law. Particular attention is paid to the evolution of the ‘women, peace and security’ (WPS) agenda of the UN Security Council and tensions between its different elements, namely ‘protection of women’ (usually from sexual violence) versus ‘participation of women’ in different aspects of conflict resolution, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction. Participants consider how the WPS agenda relates to other non-gender specific policy agendas such as ‘human security’ and the ‘protection of civilians’, including the roles of UN peacekeeping and humanitarian actors, as well as timely debates around military intervention in the name of humanitarianism.

‌Gender, Sexuality and Global Health Crises (10 ECTS)

This module considers current global health crises created by the worldwide drive to privatise healthcare, the rise of disease pandemics, particularly HIV/AIDS, as well as other complex emergencies. Students consider deeply gendered dynamics, impacts and human rights crisis of such crisis, and explore the interconnections between sex, biology and gender for sexuality and reproductive health. They explore the different ‘solutions’ available vis-à-vis policy, human rights standards, and cultural practice and the roles therein of public, private and civil society actors, locally and globally.

Independent Study (10 ECTS)

The Independent Study affords the opportunity to undertake a student-initiated project on a topic that students feel passionate about and/or in an activity that enhances professional skills.  Independent studies can be academic, practical or community engaged.  Depending on the interests and capacities of students, the outcome of an independent study can include a: specialised bibliography, visual exhibit, radio/video documentary, grant application, or organisation of a community workshop or conference panel. This module allows for collaborative engagement with academic staff in a mutual determination of the goals and planned outcomes of the study.

Clár Leadership Project (5 ECTS)

Community learning and research projects offer opportunities to exercise leadership through collaboration with staff in designing and carrying out actions that enhance links with community partners on and off campus through organisation of joint activities (e.g., for International Women’s Day or the 16 Days of Action against Gender Violence).     

 women in world graphicDevelopment and Human Rights (5 ECTS)

This module provides an overview and illustration of the connections between human rights and global development, exploring in detail key substantive aspects of development and rights. It takes an inter-disciplinary and gender-sensitive approach to human rights and development theory and practice. Topics to include: 1) the historical, political and social context 2) The Right to Development 3) Rights to food, health and education 4) the environment, sustainability and (in)justice 5) participation and indivisibility of rights 6) the human development and capabilities paradigm and 7) new approaches to measuring, monitoring, evaluating and new rights advocacy.

History and Narrative in Gender Research (5 ECTS)

This module explores how analysis of gender identities and roles is crucial to reconstructing and recognising the historical efforts of women in the past. It considers developments relating to international approaches, resources and research, questions of civic participation and the construction of life histories. Students have an opportunity to consult a range of primary sources of a private and public nature, from diaries and photographs to parliamentary debates and public memorials, in order to more critically understand and question discourses and debates of the period. Possible topics include: pre-franchise electoral participation, working class political engagement and representations, formal campaigning for political rights, imperial political spaces, independence and revolutionary participation, displacing women in institutions, citizenship in post-enfranchisement societies.

 African womenEngaged Research Practice: Women in Agriculture (5 ECTS)

This applied research module focuses on the role of women in commodity agriculture and rural entrepreneurship. Emphasis is on three main areas: women’s roles in family farming; women’s roles in agricultural organisations; women’s roles in diversification of the rural economy. Theories of agency and empowerment are used to analyse women’s changing roles in the context of different policy and socio-economic contexts. Students are guided to implement a Gender Analysis Framework (GAF) assignment over the course of module, with supportive interactions from lecturers and practitioners in key agri-food agencies and interest groups.

Semester two and summer

Dissertation (30 ECTS)

All students undertake a dissertation research project (minor thesis) of approximately 18,000 words with the guidance of a designated advisor. The dissertation is an independent, focused piece of work on a question of the student’s choosing relevant to the content of the MA programme. The research question or puzzle addressed may be policy-oriented; or it may be concerned with a particular set of events or developments, past or present; or in some cases, it may focus on theoretical debates, ideas and concepts. The dissertation module includes research and methods workshops, group work, and one-to-one supervision. 

Two students from the class of 2016 talk about their MA Student Research Interests

 Erin MA Student 2016 with name Angella with name

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