Ahfad University For Women
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The Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies


In 1986, Ahfad University for Women, introduced a compulsory (University Requirement) course on women's studies. In 1989, a unit of Women’s Studies and Population Education was established with a financial support from UNFPA. The Academic Council formally established the Women’s Studies Unit as an independent Unit in the University in June 1997. In 2002, the Academic Council promoted the Unit to the Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies (IWGDS)

Current Situation

The IWGDS is responsible for the M.Sc. Gender and Development (GAD) Program, the Ph.D. Program in Gender and Development Studies, the Women and Gender Studies undergraduate university requirement course, the GAD training programmes and civic education, and the Women’s Studies Unit. The IWDGS is also responsible for coordinating and enhancing all research, advocacy and awareness-raising activities at the university level. In addition, the Centre establishes and strengthens linkages at the national, regional and international levels on issues related to peace, civic education, good governance and gender.

The Institute has a total number of seven staff members, three with a Ph.D. degree, four with a Master's Degree, of whom two are currently on scholarship to prepare for their Ph.D. The institute has a computer pool, audio-visual equipments, reading space, lecture room and three offices.

Objectives of the Institute Back to Top

The objectives of the Institute are as follows:

  • To enhance research on gender and engendered development studies at the University and other universities at national and state levels.
  • To promote the integration of gender studies as University courses at both Ahfad University and other universities.
  • To advocate for gender mainstreaming in development and influence policies.
  • To disseminate information on gender and development issues and women’s empowerment at different levels.
  • To integrate civic and peace education programmes and to prepare students to become future change agents in their societies.

Functions of the Institute

The IWGDS shoulders the following responsibilities.

Planning and Administration

The Institute is responsible for the policy-advice on gender related issues, planning, administration, management and promotion of all activities assigned to it by the university.


The Institute is responsible for teaching the university required course of Women and Gender Studies This is a 90-hour course spread over two semesters. In addition, to its responsibility for leading the M.Sc. Gender and Development (GAD) courses (with some collaboration from other university faculty members) and the teaching of the Advanced Research Methodology course for the Ph.D. candidates.


The Institute is responsible of all GAD short training courses offered by the university to the different target groups of the society as well as the civic education training which includes issues of human rights, good governance and conflict resolution and peace issues.


Coordination Of all GAD activities at the university level particularly research activities relevant to GAD.

Education Materials production and promotion

The Institute together with the AUW Library is responsible for acquiring books, journals, etc for the students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is also responsible for developing textbooks, readers and training manuals for the students and other target groups from government and non state actors.


The IWGDS has links with other universities (both at home and abroad) that offer similar or relevant programmes that may help in training of students, staff and promote research.


The Institute offers consultancy services in GAD related fields including commissioned research, evaluation of projects developing of programs, courses, readers etc. as well as training on women and gender issues as well as civic education.

Gender and Development M.Sc. Programme Back to Top


The objectives of this graduate program are to:

  • Develop and conduct courses leading to the award of a M.Sc. degree in Gender and Development to meet the pressing demands for such specialization.
  • Train cadres as gender sensitive policy makers and change agents.
  • Establish of a pool of qualified researchers and personnel to promote gender studies at university level.
  • Encourage and support research and publications on GAD as necessary for planning and advocacy.
  • Promote of the cause of women empowerment to achieve gender equality, and
  • Strengthen regional and international links with other universities and institutes that offer similar programme.


The Target Group and Duration

The programme is opened for females only. The duration of the programme is 16 months, divided into 4 semesters including a summer semester. The programme starts on August and continues throughout the year with short holidays of 15 days at the end of semesters 1 and 2.

The Gender and Development M.Sc.. Programme includes eight courses taught in module forms over two semesters and a dissertation to be prepared in two semesters.

The courses are:

801: Theories and Concepts of Women’s and Gender Studies:

The course introduces the students to the concepts and theories used in the feminist and gender studies. It traces the evolution of the discipline and its main concerns. As well as it orients the main philosophical thoughts and social science theories, that impacted on the evolution of women and gender studies as an academic discipline.

802: Theories of Development:
The course introduces the students to the world’s views, definitions and theories of development, underdevelopment and the changes that took place in development thinking. It introduces approaches, and efforts to mainstreaming gender issues in development.

803: Gender, Culture and Social Change:
The course focuses on cultural constitution of gender and identity. It aims at recognizing the dynamics of gender power relations, the changing aspects of women’s lives and exploring the responses of women to cultural and religious constraints and challenges.

804: Women and the State:
The course informs the students about theories and debates on gender and politics at local and international levels. It assesses and evaluates the legal positions of gender element of laws that affects the individual as a child, youth from human rights perspective.

805: Research Methods:
This course aims to introduce the students to the debate on feminist and gender research methods such as epistemologies and gender issues in social research. It provides the students with skills and techniques of how to conduct a social research using quantitative and qualitative approaches in research design, data analysis and interpretation of results.

806: Gender and Economy:
The course introduces the links and conceptualization of gender, economics, and the changes in the global economy and, household based and market production. It focuses on feminist economist discussion of gender mainstreaming in development, analyses women’s marginalization and exploitation in productive sectors and non-remuneration and counting of their role in the household.

807: Gender Challenges in the 21st Century:
This course acquaints students with both knowledge and practical skills in discussing issues of concern to women and men currently and in the future life. It poses questions as to the challenges that face women in technology transfer, environment and other issues related to third world women access to basic needs. It also challenges students to the way they foresee their future of the discipline and feminist movements in shaping a new world.

808: Gender Sensitive Project Planning:
This course provides the students with knowledge, skills and techniques of policy formulation and gender sensitive planning. It introduces the students to different frameworks developed for such purpose. Details and elaborated course outlines are available for registered students.

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General Regulations

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the M. Sc. in Gender and Development a candidate must meet the following requirements:

  • Should be full-time student.
  • Holder a university degree with at least B average.
  • Graduates with other academic qualification who show promoted academic capacities and/or field experience may be considered for admission.
  • May be subjected to an English proficiency test.

The programme is confined to women intake and offers 20 places annually.

Degree Award

For the award of the degree of M.Sc. in GAD, the candidate is expected to satisfy the examiners in all components of the degree (8 courses and dissertation). The language of instruction is English.

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Required Courses: Women and Gender Studies Undergraduate Program

These are compulsory courses for all fourth year students of AUW.

URWS 401 Women’s Studies (3 credit .hours):
The course introduces Women‘s and Gender Studies and the concepts and debates within these studies. It also tackles the assessment of the Sudanese women’s profile, in particular, and feminism and women’s movement, in general, as tools for promotion of women’s condition and positions to achieve empowerment and solidarity for action.

URGS 411 Gender Studies: (3 credit .hours):
The course is divided into four main topics: The gender dimension in development, The gender analytical frameworks and approaches, Feminization of poverty and impact of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) on women and finally, Case studies of integrating women in development/gender mainstreaming

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Balghis Badri, B.Sc., (Honours) University of Khartoum (1971) M.Sc., University of Khartoum (1974) Ph.D. Hull University, U.K. (1978), Professor. Director of the Institute. Joined AUW as full-time 1996 (as part-time since 1974)

Amel Abdelrahman,
B.Sc., AUW (1986), M.Sc. ISS - Holland (1990), Ph.D. University of South Africa. Joined AUW in 1987.

Salma A. Nageeb, B.Sc., AUW (1990), M.Sc. ISS - Holland (1993), Ph.D. University of Belfield – Germany, (on leave). Joined AUW in 1990.

Awatif Atta Elmanan, B.Sc., (Honours) University of Khartoum, (1984), Post-graduate Diploma in Development Studies, (DSRC), University of Khartoum, (1991), M.Sc. ISS, The Netherlands, (1993), (on leave for PhD). Joined AUW on 1997.

Lamya Badri, B.Sc., Omdurman Ahlia University (1990), M.Sc. Aberdeen, UK (1998). Joined AUW in 1999.

Tayseer El Fatih, B.Sc., AUW (1995), Post-graduate Diploma in Development planning, (DSRC), University of Khartoum, (1998) M.Sc., AUW (1999). Joined AUW in 1999.

Mai Ali, B.Sc., University of Khartoum, (1996). Post-graduate Diploma in Development Studies, (DSRC), University of Khartoum, (1999). MSc. AUW (2000) Joined AUW 2002

Rawda Hassan,
B.Sc., AUW (1993), Administrative Assistant. Joined AUW in 1994.

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Advisory Committee

The Institute has an Advisory Committee of 11 members from Ahfad University and Khartoum University staff to act as the Institute academic board. The members of the advisory committee are as follows:

Professor Abdel Gadir Khatab
Professor Ahmed hassan El Jack
Professor Amna El Sadig Badri

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Sponsored by the
Ahfad University for Women (AUW)

P.O. Box 167
Omdurman, SUDAN

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