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Women's Studies B.A.

An education in women, gender, and sexuality studies offers students a flexible program of study examining feminist scholarship and the history, status, contributions and experiences of women in diverse cultural communities.

The B.A.

The program of study emphasizes the significance of gender as a social construct and as an analytical category. The B.A. degree prepares students both for continuing advanced study in women, gender, and sexuality studies; law; medicine; media studies; and for direct entry into careers in a wide range of fields including social services, government, public policy, education and the nonprofit sector.

Prospective students and current students who joined in or after 2020 follow the degree requirements listed here.

Only students admitted to the program prior to 2020 follow the degree requirements listed in the pre-2020 section below.

Degree Requirements

Note: Students admitted prior to 2020 should follow the degree requirements for the old women's studies major, described in the section below. These requirements are for students admitted in or after 2020.

Download a printable, accessible PDF of these requirements.

Students will earn a total of 37 credits, distributed as indicated below. At least 30 credits must be at or above the 300 level. No course with a grade less than “C-” may be used to satisfy the major. An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation. Students will design their programs in consultation with a WGSS advisor.
 
1. Introductory course – 3 credits
(1 course, any of the following, usually taken in the first or second semester in the major)

LGBT200: “Intro LGBT Studies”
WMST200: “Women and Society”
WMST250: “Women, Art and Culture”
WMST263: “Intro Black Women’s Studies”
WMST298D: “Bodies in Contention”
 
2. Foundational Courses – 9 credits
(3 Courses, usually taken during sophomore or junior year)

WMST301: “Introduction to Research in Gender, Race and Queer Studies” (Required)
WMST302: “Feminist, Critical Race, and Queer Theories” (Required) (replaces the former WMST 400)
WMST319:, “Workshop in Gender, Race and Queer Studies.” The topical focus will vary, such as WMST 319C: “Gender, Drag, and Burlesque” or 319D: “Disability Justice.” Only one WMST319 course is required.
 
3. Thematic Concentration Area – 12 credits
(4 courses, taken over the course of the degree)

Students will identify an area of interest with the advisor when they declare the major.
9 credits of these must be upper-level and 6 credits may also fulfill other major requirements.
*See the thematic concentration area descriptions described on this page for more information*
 
Scholarship in Practice: Experiential Learning – 3 credits (1 course, usually taken senior year)
WMST358: “Teaching Assistantship”
WMST368: “Internship”
WMST378: “Research and Creative Works Assistantship”
 
Capstone – 6 credits (2 courses, usually taken senior year)
WMST487: “Advanced Research in Gender, Race and Queer Studies” (Required)
 
and 1 of the following courses
WMST489: “Individual Research in Gender, Race and Queer Studies”
LGBT488: “Senior Seminar”
WMST488: “Senior Seminar”
WMST486: “Advanced Feminist, Critical Race, and Queer Theories”
 
4. Professional Development – 1 credit (1 course, usually taken senior year)
 
5. Cognate – 3 credits (1 course) A 300- or 400-level course outside of the department that provides supporting context for the thematic concentration.

Among their 37 credits, students must take at least 1 course utilizing each of the following approaches: historical, transnational and cultural Production. Students will review their course plan with the advisor to ensure completion of this requirement.
 
Courses can fulfill multiple requirements and students can fill any remaining credits needed towards the 37-credit requirement with approved electives, ex. WMST319C: “Gender, Drag, and Burlesque” fulfills the WMST319 workshop requirement and also counts towards the arts, technologies, and cultural production thematic concentration area.

 

Thematic Concentration Areas

As a central aspect of the 2020 WGSS major and WGSS certificate the department has introduced thematic concentration areas. Students will choose from the 6 areas designed by the department or create an area of their own with the advisor. These informal thematic concentrations are:

Social Justice
Transnational Politics and Perspectives
Race, Ethnicity, and Class
Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities
Arts, Technologies, and Cultural Production
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer + Studies
Student Designed

There is a degree of overlap in the concentrations and in the courses offered under each, since the subfields within gender, race and queer studies necessarily overlap and intersect, but each concentration reflects a particular set of interests and scholarly approaches within the fields that make up WGSS. Each of our courses (and many from related departments) will be assigned to a particular concentration (and most will count toward two or even more concentrations).

  • Social Justice: Courses in this concentration come from a variety of perspectives that examine social inequalities and ways to address them. This can include histories of social movements and contemporary activist engagement. Students will develop tools to act as a force for change in the world.
  • Transnational Politics and Perspectives: There will be an emphasis on explorations beyond the U.S. context and include an analysis of imperial histories and interventions. TPP courses examine how power works in the circuits that connect people in different geographic locations. Students explore the asymmetric flows of bodies, goods and ideas and how questions of race, class and gender can be compared and connected across geographic regions.
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Class: These courses are rooted in global imperial histories and American experiences of enslavement, dispossession, colonization and immigration. Among other things this includes an emphasis on the Black diasporic experience in the United States.
  • Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities: Students interested in this area will explore how knowledge about the human body has been shaped by cultural ideas of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and ability. Courses will range across a variety of geographic locations and disciplinary approaches.
  • Arts, Technologies, and Cultural Production: This concentration explores the role of media, culture and technology in challenging and perpetuating systems of gendered and racialized oppression. Courses are likely to focus on art and culture created by members of marginalized communities, the relationship between aesthetics and politics, digital feminisms and/or on analysis of the cultural systems that shape media and technology.
  • LGBTQ Studies: These courses offer focused, interdisciplinary study of the lives, experiences, identities, creative work, political movements, knowledge production and cultural representations of LGBTQ people and communities. This concentration area recognizes the breadth of perspectives on identity, representation, politics and interlocking systems of oppression that comprise the growing, dynamic and expansive field of the study of genders and sexualities today.
  • Student Designed: This concentration area is one that a student creates with the department advisor based on a clear and compelling interest that can not be explored in the existing thematic concentration areas.

Sample Four-Year Graduation Plan

Year 1 (3 credits of WMST coursework and 27 of Gen Ed)

  • 3 credits of any WMST introductory course ex. WMST250: “Women, Art, and Culture”

Year 2 (6 credits of WMST coursework, 24 credits of Gen Ed and elective courses)

  • WMST301: “Introduction to Research in Gender, Race and Queer Studies”
  • Choose a thematic concentration, ex. Arts, Technologies, Cultural Production Concentration
  • 3 credits of coursework in the thematic concentration ex. WMST255: “Reading Women Writing”

Year 3 (15 credits of WMST coursework, 15 credits of Gen Ed and electives)

  • WMST302: “Feminist, Critical Race, and Queer Theories”
  • WMST319 Workshop in Gender, Race and Queer Studies
  • 3 credits of upper-level thematic concentration ex. LGBT327: “LGBT Film and Video”
  • 3 credits of experiential learning ex. Undergraduate Internship
  • 3 credit cognate course ex. ENGL368J: “Special Topics in the Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora; Contemporary Black Literature”

Year 4 (13 credits of WMST coursework, 17 credits of electives)

  • Capstone (1) WMST487: “Advanced Research in Gender, Race and Queer Studies”
  • Capstone (2) ex. WMST488: “Senior Seminar – Black Women in the Arts”
  • WMST497: “Professional Development”
  • 6 credits of 300 or 400 level thematic concentration ex. ENGL408: “Literature by Women before 1800,” WMST448: “Literature by Women of Color”

 

Sample Three-Year Graduation Plan

Example of no courses taken during the first year.

Year 1 (9 credits of WMST coursework and 21 of Gen Ed)

  • 3 credits of any WMST introductory course, ex. WMST250: “Women, Art, and Culture”
  • 3 credits of foundation – WMST 301: “Introduction to Research in Gender, Race and Queer Studies”
  • Choose a thematic concentration, ex. Arts, Technologies, Cultural Production Concentration
  • 3 credits of coursework in the thematic concentration ex. WMST255: “Reading Women Writing”

Year 2 (15 credits of WMST coursework, 15 credits of Gen Ed and electives)

  • 6 credits of foundation – WMST302: “Feminist, Critical Race, and Queer Theories” and WMST319: “Workshop in Gender, Race and Queer Studies”
  • 3 credits of upper-level thematic concentration, ex. LGBT327: “LGBT Film and Video”
  • 3 credits of experiential learning, ex. Undergraduate Internship
  • 3 credit cognate course, ex. ENGL368J: “Special Topics in the Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora; Contemporary Black Literature”

Year 3 (13 credits of WMST coursework, 17 credits of electives)

  • Capstone (1) WMST487: “Advanced Research in Gender, Race and Queer Studies”
  • Capstone (2) ex. WMST488: “Senior Seminar – Black Women in the Arts”
  • 1 credit – WMST497: “Professional Development”
  • 6 credits of 300 or 400 level thematic concentration, ex. ENGL408: “Literature by Women before 1800,” WMST448: “Literature by Women of Color”

Pre-2020 Women's Studies Major Requirements

Note: Students admitted in or after 2020 should follow the degree requirements for the women, gender, and sexuality studies major, described above. These requirements are for students admitted prior to 2020. Students in this version of the major may request to switch to the 2020 program, but can not switch back.

Requires 39 credits (generally 13 courses); including 30 credits at the 300-400 level distributed as follows:

1. Foundation Courses (18 credits)

  • WMST200: “Introduction to Women’s Studies: Women and Society,” or WMST250: “Introduction to Women’s Studies: Women, Art and Culture”
  • WMST300: “Feminist Reconceptualizations of Knowledge”
  • WMST350: “Feminist Pedagogy” or WMST380: “Feminist Analysis of the Workplace
  • WMST400: “Theories of Feminism”
  • WMST488: “Senior Seminar”

2. Distributive Courses (9 credits)
Choose one course from each area. See advisor for list of approved courses:

  • Arts and Literature
  • Historical Perspectives
  • Social and Natural Sciences

3. Cultural Diversity (6 credits)
Two courses chosen with approval of the advisor. Courses in this category may overlap with other requirements.

4. Student Developed Emphasis (9 credits)
Three courses chosen with approval of the advisor and ordinarily drawn from those approved for the major.

No course with a grade less than “C-” may be used to satisfy major requirements and an overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation.

 

Undergraduate Alumni

Learn more about the career and life paths of our alumni who work in fields ranging from law to social work.

Alumni