Course Requirements

Common Core


Students must also complete a four-course concentration. Concentrations include: International Perspectives; Gender, Culture, and the Arts; Gender and Human Development; Social Justice and Public Policy; Theoretical Perspectives; Perspectives on Race and Class; or Individualized.

Major Field Electives

Three additional electives chosen by the student from the list of courses approved for the Women’s and Gender Studies major.

WGS 100


This course will introduce students to Women's & Gender Studies by exploring a range of issues that contemporary women face through experiences stratified by race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability. Topics will include women's identities; body image and the media; women's sexuality; intimate relationships and families; women, violence and criminalization; women's work, wage discrimination, and welfare reform; women's health issues, such as reproductive rights, and medical research. Participants will have opportunities to examine ways that this stratification interacts in varied eras, cultures, and sub-cultures to shape women's lives. Students will engage in an activist focus as they are introduced to the layers of oppression that affect many women's lives, from the personal to the global. As they analyze social, cultural, and political issues through "gendered lenses", participants may expand a view of their personal lives to include a framework that encourages resilient responses to such oppression.

WGS 200


This course is a transnational approach to Women's & Gender Studies, examining how goods, money, and media images of women cross national in new ways. A further focus is on how this transformation of national boundaries depends not only upon political changes but also upon economic and cultural shifts. This transnational perspective pays attention to the inequalities and differences intersecting race, class, and gender that arise from new forms of globalization as well as from older histories of colonialism and racism. The course is designed to give the student an in-depth look at a world of connections that do not necessarily create similarities in how women variously experience that world. It introduces students to research by and about women that reflects transnationality in all of its possibilities and challenges.

WGS 250


This course introduces feminist theories and methodologies with an emphasis on how theoretical frameworks shape specific research, policies, and praxis. The course will provide an introductory exploration of feminist frameworks in relationship to specific issues and questions within women's studies, with some attention to the resulting research/analytic methods. The class will delineate, analyze and compare the underlying assumptions and frameworks of a variety of feminist theories (i.e. historical materialist, liberal, radical, standpoint and identity-based, critical race, postcolonial, and transnational theoretical frameworks) in relation to a set of issues and questions (e.g. violence against women, sex discrimination, reproductive rights). The class will explore the relationship between these frameworks and knowledge production, public policy, and social change efforts within transnational contexts. Thus, the students will be able to discern how theories frame research questions and methods, as well as how they frame policy issues and action proposals; and students will be able to analyze the theoretical frameworks comparatively.

WGS 300


Disagreements about what counts as feminist theory have raged as the borders of feminist discourse have shifted over the past two and a half decades. Yet most feminists continue to insist that sex/gender be considered basic categories of analysis and theory. Broadly conceived, feminist theory--historical or contemporary--represents an attempt to understand and interpret the roots and causes of women's place in the world. This course examines how different theoretical perspectives address gender, class, racial, and sexual inequalities and the method(s) proposed for social change. Students will be required to critically engage these theories in terms of how they address the commonalities and differences among women, especially insofar as these are grounded in race, class, and sexual identifications and dissonances. This course is a core requirement for the Women's & Gender Studies major.
WMS 250 is a prerequisite for this class.

WGS 391


An exploration of the transforming effects that feminist methodologies and scholarship have had in the social sciences and humanities. This course emphasizes interdisciplinary research approaches, feminist publishing, and the interplay of research and activism, as it prepares students to write a research proposal. Not recommended for non-majors. (Cross-listed as WGS 491)

WGS 395


The Advanced Seminar emphasizes interdisciplinary methodology and students' independent research. Designed to be an integrating experience, the seminar will focus on discussion, response to research, and blending theory and application. Not recommended for non-majors