Academic Programs

Majoring in Women's & Gender Studies

The Women's and Gender Studies major requires just 27 credit hours:

Required Courses (9 hours)

WGS 250: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
WGS 350: Feminist Theory
WGS 490: Capstone Course in Women's and Gender Studies

Electives (18 hours)

Includes any 18 hours of approved WGS courses. These may involve internship and independent study credits.

Possible electives: BCN 325; CED 574; COM 559; CST 559; CUI 555; ENG 331, 332, 531;ESS 532; HEA 260; HEA 302; HEA 333/NUR 330; HDF 407; HIS 304, 328, 329, 359, 555; PSC 335, 336; PSY 346; REL 309, 310; SOC 329, 354 MGT 354; SPA 222; WGS 270, 333, 400*;450, 460, 493. Special topics courses or sections with central focus on women and gender may be approved for elective credit by the advisor.

*only two Independent Studies equivalent to six credit hours may be taken toward the WGS major.


Assessment: Let us stress from the start that your portfolio will provide us with a means of assessing the effectiveness of the program. It will not be a test of you and will not be used to evaluate your performance as a student. Instead, the assessment process (including informal conferences with advisors and faculty members) will be your opportunity to give us ongoing feedback and advise us on how best to meet the needs of the WGS major.

Learning Objectives: In order for you to assess the Women’s and Gender Studies Program effectively, you will need to be aware of the 8 goals that the program organizers have identified. These 8 goals or “learning objectives” specify what it is that the program intends to impart to its students. The program organizers hope that students will reach these goals by the time they are ready to graduate with a WGS major:

  • To know how women’s lives have been affected by social institutions around the world and throughout the United States.
  • To understand women’s lives as they relate to the disciplinary areas of arts and sciences, education, business and health-related professions.
  • To appreciate the variety of choices and limitations in women’s lives as they are shaped by biology and society.
  • To explore all these areas by conducting research (both qualitative and quantitative), by reading deeply and widely and by thinking and writing critically and reflectively.
  • To investigate the history of ideas about gender.
  • To understand in critical context feminist theory, pedagogy and organizational models.
  • To complicate understandings of gender with critical awareness of interrelationships to race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, nationality, and religion.
  • To understand the interrelationship between theories and practices through fieldwork, observation and discussion of experiences.

Graduates will have learned to question rigid divisions between mind and body, male and female, personal and public, individual and society, subjectivity and objectivity, reason and passion—all dualisms that their research and reading will help them mediate. They will have tested their emerging ideas about women, gender, culture and society both individually and collaboratively in a program of study that aims for critical understanding and transformed practices. They will have the experience of interrelating theory and practice in fieldwork observation, in action in the community, and in classroom discussion and interaction.

Conclusions: Each department and program in the university is required to compose a set of learning objectives and assess how effectively those learning objectives have been met. As a participant, you will not be asked to do any extra work. Simply keep copies of the papers or other coursework you have completed for each WMS course in a file we call the “portfolio.” In WGS 490, the capstone course, you will be asked to assemble your portfolio and write a brief essay reflecting on your work in the program. We thank you for participating in this process and helping to shape the future of the WGS program.


Find information on filing for graduation here.

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