Gender, Race and Diversity

This specialisation is one of seven included in our Master in International and Development Studies. These specialisations are interconnected curricula that provide the possibility for you to tailor your individual path.

The specialisation in Gender, Race and Diversity addresses how intersecting power relations based on gender, race, class and other forms of differentiation interact with international and development policy problems.

The specialisation provides a critical understanding of how such categorical differences structure global politics and how international politics often reproduce inequalities based on the hierarchisation of difference. It also explores the potential of different policies and initiatives to redress such inequalities. Drawing on rich expertise in the Graduate Institute’s five departments, you will gain an interdisciplinary training that addresses a broad range of issue areas and topics, including histories of colonialism and decoloniality; anthropologies and sociologies of racism and antiracism, class and gender; the economics of gender and development; and the politics of gender, race, and class in international governance and international law.

how to apply

This specialisation is for students who are passionate about issues of inequality. We would like to teach you, among others, the theories that help you understand how inequality and difference matter in international politics.
Lisa Prügl
Head of the Gender, Race and Diversity specialisation

Programme details and objectives

Power relations based on difference (such as gender, race, and other identity markers) constitute key divides in our world, seeding fundamental inequalities as they intersect with class and other status distinctions.

They structure politics, societies, and economies, distributing wealth and privilege and leading to the disenfranchisement and disempowerment of whole groups of people. They also become the basis for multiple forms of violence, including physical and psychological harm, stigmatisation and discrimination, systemic economic deprivation, and colonising forms of knowledge and silencing.

The intersectional operations of race, class, and gender -- in conjunction with other identity markers -- constitute a core problem of contemporary international politics. They also cause and aggravate a range of international problems -- from violent conflict to hunger and pandemics.

Specifically, the specialisation

  • introduces you to critical theory, including feminist, critical race and decolonial theorising;

  • provides a grounding in methodologies that take the view from the margins;

  • teaches empirical knowledge from the interdisciplinary perspectives of global gender, race, and post-colonial studies;

  • enables you to assess the effectiveness of existing policies and initiatives to counter inequalities and value difference; and

  • equips you with practical tools for fostering change.


You will be able to choose from a rich portfolio of courses in various thematic groupings, such as:

  • Elites and Inequalities

  • Comparative Race and Ethnic Relations

  • Sociology of Gender

  • Feminist Theory  

  • An International History of Racism

  • Race and Mobility: Historical and contemporary perspectives

  • Histories beyond Nation

  • Violence, History and Memory in Twentieth Century Africa

  • Slavery and Abolition

  • Gender and Development: From theory to practice

  • Extraction, Poverty and Inequality

  • Public Policy, Economic Development and Gender
  • Gender and Bodies in Global Health

  • Gender, Sexuality and Decolonization in the Global South

  • Global Population and Reproductive Politics

  • Anthropological Perspectives on Reproduction

  • Gender and International Relations

  • Gender and International Affairs

  • Religion, politique et sexualité : perspectives comparatives

  • On Doing Good: Ethics, power and privilege in international engagement

  • Political Justice and Human Rights: Foundational questions

  • The Anthropology of Human Rights

  • Histories, Truth, Facts and Uncertainty

  • Gestion de projets, genre et inclusion

Opportunities and Career Options 

The specialisation includes skills courses that teach you professional methods and tools for advocacy, such as for example mainstreaming gender and race considerations into organisations, project management, and policies; or communication tools for activism. It prepares you for jobs in the public, non-profit and private sectors, including those focusing on infusing gender and diversity considerations into policies and programming, those seeking to enhance diversity in organisations, firms, and institutions; and those seeking to advance equality through political action and activism. The specialisation offers Applied Research Projects (or Capstone Projects) developed in collaboration with a wide range of partners in International Geneva, which provide unique opportunities for networking and for gaining practical experience.

The specialisation also connects you to a diverse community at the Graduate Institute, including researchers at the Gender Centre and student groups organised around anti-racism, feminism, and efforts to decolonise the curriculum. It is part of larger conversations at the Institute and beyond, in which we invite your participation.