University of Chester

Programme Specification
Gender Studies MRes
2017 - 2018

Master by Research

Gender Studies

Gender Studies

University of Chester

University of Chester 

Chester Campus for resident students, distance methods for students studying away from Chester. 

Postgraduate (MRes)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory, Distance,

1 year full time; 2 years part time

6 Years

Annual - September


17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities English





English PG MAB

Wednesday 18th May 2016

The aims of this programme are 

  • to offer a flexible, full-time or part-time postgraduate degree programme in the interdisciplinary study of gender;
  • to foster critical skills necessary to analyse gender from a variety of perspectives and to enable students to become independent researchers;
  • to develop advanced knowledge and understanding of epistemological, philosophical, historical, literary and textual approaches for examining the construction of gender in institutions, structures, cultures, and lived experiences;
  • to develop engagement with discourses such as  women's studies, feminism, postmodernism, queer theory, post-structuralism, critical and literary theory, post-colonial perspectives, as they relate to the study of gender;
  • to explore the relationship between gender and society, culture, politics, technologies, and identities; 
  • to develop a number of methods of interdisciplinary study, such as philosophical, historical, textual, sociological, qualitative, and to evaluate these methods; 
  • to provide the opportunity and to support independent study in gender studies, in line with professional academic and ethical standards;
  • to prepare students for further research.

By the end of the programme by completing all modules, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. a self-reflexive, systematic and critical understanding of a range of advanced theories in the study of gender;
  2. an advanced knowledge of current problems and new insights at the forefront of gender studies;  
  3. a sophisticated understanding of the interdisciplinary approaches to examining gender;  
  4. an advanced understanding of the construction of gender in institutions, structures, textual and cultural products, societies, and individual lives. 

By the end of the programme, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. Critical engagement with different methodological approaches to the study of gender and with prominent discourses,  such as postmodernist, postcolonial, feminist, queer and post-structuralist discourses; 
  2. Critical interaction with scholarly debates in the study of gender; 
  3. The ability to interpret, analyse and evaluate primary sources and evidence drawing on theoretical frameworks as appropriate, and to deploy secondary literature with independence of mind; 
  4. The ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively and make sound judgements based on the evidence available; 
  5. Appropriate research skills, including the capacity to propose a realistic project using appropriate methods, showing awareness of the norms and methods of such research; 
  6. Self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and the ability to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level. 

By the end of the programme, across all modules, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Information Literacy and Technology: this is audited at induction. Students must be able to use information technology and computer skills to identify and retrieve material, and support research and presentations; 
  • Reflexivity and improvement of own learning and performance: the threshold assessment criteria (where relevant to modular learning outcomes) assess the independent learning ability and self-evaluation required to continue to advance the student's knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills appropriate to a professional context.
  • Ability to work with others: some learning methods (including seminars etc.) develop and demonstrate these skills; 
  • Problem solving: the threshold assessment criteria include assessment of the ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and make sound judgements; and (where relevant to modular learning outcomes) collaborative or individual problem-solving, and planning and implementing of tasks appropriate to a professional context. 

Students will be assessed on their ability to act autonomously in planning and implementing a negotiated study demonstrating critical reading of a wide range of scholarly resources, including refereed research articles and primary sources, with evidence of originality in the application of knowledge and critical awareness. They will thus demonstrate the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations and the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development. 

By the end of the programme, in all modules,  students will be able to:

  • express themselves clearly in oral and written media, with accurate spelling and grammar and observing academic form in written work;
  • communicate conclusions clearly for specialist and non-specialist audiences as appropriate. 


The Masters by Research in Gender Studies is a flexible full or part-time programme with distance and blended-learning styles of delivery. As well as reaching traditional students, the delivery styles will enable it to reach students who would not otherwise have access to Masters Level provision in this subject area. Such groups include those with caring responsibilities, mobility problems, and students balancing work and study commitments.  

All modules are available in Distance Learning format, through the VLE (Moodle). These consist of substantial tutor-written text to guide students through reading, formative tasks, and opportunities for virtual interaction with tutor and other students. Induction and a symposium is also offered to support the virtual learning with face to face lectures/seminars/tutorials/group work/presentations etc.

The programme requires students to be trained in a range of disciplines, methods and approaches to the study of gender through the following modules:

EN7001 Advanced Research Methods in Gender Studies (20 Credits)

EN7002 Consensus and Dissent: Contemporary Debates in Gender Studies (20 Credits)

EN7003 Research Dissertation (140 Credits) 

EN7001 and EN7002 provide students with the advanced level of theoretical and methodological orientation required as the foundation for the advanced study of gender, and to skill students to undertake their own research. After successful completion the students take EN7003 Research Dissertation and are assigned an appropriate supervisor. 


Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
EN7001 7 Advanced Research Methods in Gender Studies 20 Comp
EN7002 7 Consensus and Dissent: Contemporary Debates in Gender Studies 20 Comp
EN7003 7 Research Dissertation 140 Comp

Masters by Research 180 Credits  




The academic ability, motivation and potential of a student required for entry to the programme can be established from a number of forms of evidence:

  • an upper second or first class Honours degree in Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences 
  • an upper second or first class honours degree in another area, together with evidence of certificated learning in gender studies or substantial related experience;
  • evidence of a lower qualification plus substantial appropriate professional experience (such as teaching), evidenced in a summary of non-certificated and experiential learning.

Where applicants present qualifications or experience that are not included in the University’s stated entry criteria, an Admissions Equivalence Form is completed and signed by two members of the programme team, outlining the basis upon which an offer can been made.

The structure and content of this programme conforms to the QAA in Sociology and English for degrees in these disciplines. 

The statements specify the qualities, understanding and skills to be demonstrated by those awarded a degree.  It emphasises capacities for independent learning and thinking, methodological competence, research skills and critical reflection. This programme is designed to enable students to develop and demonstrate these attributes in a number of ways indicated in the programme outcomes. 

Several elements of this programme encourage and require the development of a independence and self-direction.  The programme’s structure is key to this formation. The core modules' learning and assessments on research methods and contemporary debates help develop this quality in research skills. Students take responsibility for choosing a dissertation topic, which comprise the majority of the programme. The modules allow or require students to negotiate assignment topics or exercise responsibility for selecting and designing research projects. The nature of the modes of teaching and learning deployed across the programme, which privilege student participation, also foster this capacity. These learning experiences prepare students for the dissertation module, where the opportunity and enabling of independent, self-directed learning is greatest.

All modules encourage a engagement, interaction and independent thinking,  through the use of face to face and online interactive media and fora as primary opportunities for learning. All module assessments encourage independent thinking, including critical distance from source materials and an awareness of the complexity of the subject matter, as indicated by benchmark statements.  All modes of assessment help students develop the ability to frame original arguments based on critical evaluation of source materials, in keeping with the statements. All these assessments, and especially the dissertation, require and aid the development of the ability to source primary materials and scholarly literature, including electronic resources, and to deploy them with a sophisticated critical awareness, in accordance with the statements.

The research tasks on the core module enable students to learn about appropriate methodologies and methods, to acquire adequate research skills, also in keeping with the statements. These components, like all modules and their assessments, help students to reflect critically on their own perspectives and situatedness, and on the methodological and hermeneutical issues raised. The modules also helps students grasp the ethical issues raised by their research and compliance with relevant codes of practice, including the Faculty’s Research Ethics approval process. 

At level 7, a wide range of developed study skills can be assumed. Students have a large measure of responsibility for their own learning: autonomy and interdependence are key to the learning experiences. Students experience a variety of teaching methods and are encouraged in a range of learning methods appropriate for this programme. The student learning experience is supported by face to face teaching, e-mail, telephone and virtual support such as Skype, and fieldwork activities. Research methodology is an early part of the learning experience on the Dissertation module and in EN7001 Advanced Research Methods in Gender Studies. 

The programme uses holistic summative assessments (4000 word equivalent) that reflect the content and skills of the modules.

EN7001: Presentation Paper 25% (1000 word equivalent) and Research Proposal 75% (3000 words)

EN7002: Critical Book Review 25% (1000 word) and Essay 75% (3000 words)

EN7003: Research Dissertation 100% (28000 words) 

There are no examinations. Formative assessment is available in the modules and in the mid-term symposium.  Masters Level students in the Humanities should be able to write at length, in the style of academic genres such as conference papers, book reviews, and peer-reviewed essays. Following the dissertation, students may be required by the examiners to defend the submitted work by oral examination

Distance learning students will have the option to Skype in to EN7001 and EN7002, which will also be audio-recorded and available via Moodle (depending upon permission of all students). During EN7003, distance learning students will be supported via skype, telephone and email tutorials with supervisors, will have the access to recordings of the Institute for Gender Studies research events (where permission is given) and PG training events run across the University (such as those made available on the Theology and Religious Studies website). In addition, students will have the opportunity to attend the mid-term symposium in person or via Skype. 


This programme of study will be used for mainly personal and academic development. 

The Faculty of Humanities acknowledges the standard University policies regarding admissions, widening access and participation, equal opportunities and APL, as supplied centrally by the University.  Consistent with the University's commitment to widening access and participation, the programme conforms to the University's flexible approach and welcomes applications from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education. The University of Chester values the diversity of its student body and aims to promote quality of opportunity in all its activities.  All suitably-qualified students are welcome on this programme irrespective of race, gender, dis/ability or age.  Every effort will be made to accommodate students with specific learning or physical needs and to ensure that all students benefit equally.  Each case will be examined individually and the University's Inclusion Plans will provide guidance and support, as appropriate. 

International students who meet the admissions requirements are welcome to take this programme by Distance Learning and will enrich both the programme and the postgraduate community at the University.

The programme offers opportunities for examining questions of inclusion and exclusion across the intersections of identity such as gender, sexuality, race, religious identity, dis/abilities, class, and age. 


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