Timeline of the Women’s, Gender and Feminist Studies at the University of Edinburgh

The Beginning

First adult education women's studies course runs in the Extra Mural Department.

Introduction of Gender Studies

Patricia Jeffery comes into Sociology with the explicit brief of introducing gender studies teaching to the mainstream academic curriculum.

'Gender and Society'

The course 'Gender and Society' begins, put together and taught by Patricia Jeffery and Rosemary Johnson.


Courses with an explicit gender dimension begin to be offered in other schools such as Law, and Literature.

Lynn Jamieson is teaching sociology on temporary lectureships, providing a second year optional course on the sociology of sexuality and sexual relationships.

Patricia Jeffery starts a course on state engagements with gender in post-1947 India and post-1949 China, housed in the Sociology department. This will later become the Gender and Development honours and masters course that is still running today. The course was also open to students from New College, as part of Christian Aid's newly initiated Theology and Development masters course.

Inclusion of Women in Soviet and East European Politics

Mary Buckley starts as a temporary lecturer in politics and is the only woman in the department. She takes over a pre-existing Soviet and East European Politics course, and includes sections on women's councils and women in relation to population politics.

'Gender and Social Policy'

Fran Wasoff is hired as a lecturer of Social Policy, and immediately devises a Gender and Social Policy course as an honours option.

'With Gender Studies' Degree

Liz Bondi begins teaching an option course 'Gender and Geography', the first gender focused course in Geography.

The first gender studies course in the politics department,  'Women in Politics', begins, co­taught by Alice Brown and Mary Buckley, and later Fiona MacKay.

The idea of a Gender Studies degree option is first raised by a collective of women scholars across disciplines. This is formulated into the 'with gender studies' degree option at undergraduate and then masters level.

'With Gender Studies' Degree Options Fully Running

The 'with gender' degree options are fully up and running. The overarching seminar for this degree option was what would later turn into the 'Contemporary Feminist Debates' course that continues to run today.

'Contemporary Feminist Debates' Formalised

The 'with gender' degree option at both undergraduate and master's level is scrapped and ceases to exist. 'Contemporary Feminist Debates' is formalised as an honours level course. While the degree option is cancelled, the School of Social and Political Sciences make a commitment to maintain and expand gender studies curricula.

'Gender, Marginality, and Social Change'

The course 'Gender, Marginality, and Social Change' begins to run in the School of Social and Political Science. It has a distinct focus on intersectionality and feminist politics in the global south.

'Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World'

The undergraduate course 'Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World' begins to be offered to students across the university. It is the flagship of the University of Edinburgh­EUSA Gender Initiative.

The course was co-designed in 2015 through a participatory project involving the School of Social of Political Science, Edinburgh University Students' Association, academics from across the University, and students.

A group of 4th year undergraduates (from SPS and PPLS) co­designed and tested many of the learning resources and interactive activities through an 'SPS in Practice' course in 2015.

'Introduction to Queer Studies'

'Introduction to Queer Studies' begins to be offered, housed in the Edinburgh College of Art.