The Women & Politics Ph.D. Program was established in the 1980s after a external review identified expertise in gender and politics as a unique strength among faculty in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University. As a result, Rutgers became the first university in the United States to offer Women & Politics as a formal field of study toward the Ph.D. in Political Science. The first cohort of graduate students was admitted for the 1986-1987 academic year. The Proseminar in Women and Politics, the entry-level course in the Ph.D. field of Women & Politics, was offered for the first time in the fall of 1986 and has been offered every year since.
The Women & Politics Program aims to apply the theoretical prism of gender to the study of governing institutions, political processes, and theories of politics, thereby provoking a rethinking of traditional analyses and expanding and enriching the discipline of political science. The program has graduated more than 70 Ph.D.'s in Women & Politics and trained scores more graduate and undergraduate students in gender and politics analysis. The prominence of the program has grown over the years as the innovative scholarship of Rutgers faculty and newly minted Ph.D.'s has made its mark on the disciplines of political science and women’s and gender studies. In recent years, faculty, graduates, and current students have also been involved in editing three of the major disciplinary journals related to women, gender, and politics: the Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy; Politics, Groups, and Identities; and, since 2022, Politics & Gender.
The Program enjoys close working relationships with two important gender and politics centers on campus: the Center for American Women and Politics, established in 1971, and the Center for Women's Global Leadership, created in 1989.
Celebrating 30 Years of RU Women & Politics
Many generations of graduate students and faculty came together to celebrate 30 years of the Rutgers Women & Politics Program on the first night of the week-long "Resisting Women's Political Leadership Conference," organized by current Program faculty and graduate students at the Eagleton Institute in May 2017.
Celebrating 25 Years of RU Women & Politics
Rutgers Women & Politics celebrated its 25th anniversary with a Critical Perspectives symposium published in 2013 in Politics & Gender, the official journal of the Women, Gender, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Introduced by founding faculty member, Professor Susan J. Carroll, the symposium featured contributions from Program graduates Claire Snyder-Hall, Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd, Ronnee Schreiber, Cristina Beltrán, Kate Bedford, Rose Corrigan, and Debra J. Liebowitz.
Celebrating 10 Years of RU Women & Politics
The Program celebrated its first 10 years with a reception in 1996 at the Eagleton Institute.