Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Major Program

Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary major founded on the understanding that the social production of gender is inseparable from that of race, sexuality, class, nationality, ability and other categories of difference. Our curriculum places feminist concerns within a transnational context, while respecting the need for geographic and historical specificity. These frameworks inform our teaching, our research, our institutional & community practices, and the principles we bring to our classrooms. Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies offers a wide range of classes that use the lenses of gender & sexuality studies to examine colonialism and post colonialism, globalization, history, queer & trans experiences, science & technology, literature, popular culture, feminist video production, cinema & digital media, fashion, and food. The Department offers both an undergraduate major and minor. We also work collaboratively with other units on campus to sponsor two undergraduate minors, Sexuality Studies and Social, Ethnic & Gender Relations.

The Department

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of the Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies Department is that students, in consultation with peer and faculty advisors, can pursue their particular academic interests and design their course of study accordingly. In devising their major plan, students will draw on courses offered in African American & African Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Asian American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Comparative Literature, English, French, German & Italian Studies, History, Linguistics, Native American Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Science & Technology Studies, Sociology, Spanish, and other related disciplines.

In addition to offering a broad array of courses that deal with gender, class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality, the Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies Department affords interested students the opportunity to earn internship credit and conduct independent research as well as take advantage of the Honors Thesis option.

Students design a program of study in consultation with an advisor that is in accordance with their individual career goals. Many Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies majors find it advantageous to pursue a double major, or to minor in another field of study. Upon successful completion of the degree requirements, students majoring in the program will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies.

Career Alternatives

A degree in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies opens many possibilities for future employment. The major introduces students to relevant social issues, fosters critical thinking, develops strong verbal, writing and research skills and encourages social advocacy.

Pre-professional students will discover that a major in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies offers useful preparatory training for medical or law school. It is particularly suitable for those interested in specializing in social policy, international development, social justice or gender-related work in a wide range of institutions and contexts. Students who plan to do practical work in counseling, clinical psychology, social services, education, media or politics will also find a major in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies provides a strong foundation. Those who wish to pursue graduate level research in such fields as anthropology, comparative literature, cultural studies, economics, education, ethnic studies, English, cinema & digital media studies, history, languages & literatures, performance studies, philosophy, political science, and sociology will also benefit from a strong Gender, Sexuality &  Women’s Studies background in feminist theory, social analysis, history and a sound understanding of cultural representation and narratives of difference.

Increasingly, media & cultural institutions, corporations, and personnel firms seek to hire specialists in Gender, Sexuality, & Women Studies who are trained in institutional practices that support inclusive practices in recruitment & hiring and that foster diverse workplace environments. State & federal agencies need people who have special understanding of the workplace challenges faced by women, and by all groups who are under-represented in specific industries and professions. Educational institutions and non-profit organizations across the spectrum need specialists to develop and administer gender, sexuality & women’s studies programs, multi-cultural community centers, LGBTQ organizations and other organizations designed specifically to deal with gender, social diversity and inequality, and a growing range of old and new social challenges arising in the context of globalization.

Some of our alumni have developed careers other than those described above. Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies faculty and peer advisors can provide even more ideas about possible future careers. Doing internships related to coursework enables students to integrate theory with hands-on practice and service in the community.

Graduate Study

The Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies Department offers a designated emphasis in Feminist Theory & Research for students enrolled in the Ph.D. programs of fifteen other affiliated departments. For more information, see Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory & Research.

Major Advisor

Advising is located in 1200 Hart Hall;; 530-752-6429.

Preparatory Subject Matter
Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies
GSW 050Introduction to Critical Gender Studies4
GSW 070Theory & History of Sexualities4
WMS 060Feminist Critiques of Western Thought4
One additional lower division GSW/WMS course:4
Lower-division GSW/WMS courses used to meet this requirement may not duplicate those used to meet other GSW requirements.
First Year Seminar
Directed Group Study
Special Study for Undergraduates
Gender & Global Cinema
Choose one:4
African-American Culture & Society
Women in African Societies
Objects & Everyday Life
Images of America & Americans in Popular Culture
Cultural Anthropology
Comparative Cultures
Historical Experience of Asian Americans
Contemporary Issues of Asian Americans
Introduction to Chicana/o Studies
Chicana/o & Latina/o Health Care Issues
Chicana & Chicano Culture
Introduction to Women Writers
Theatre, Performance & Culture
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Literature
Women & Gender in America, to 1865
Women & Gender in America, 1865-Present
Nature, Man, & the Machine in America
Native American Experience
Native American Music & Dance
Contemporary Issues in Law & Politics
General Psychology
General Psychology
Introduction to Science, Technology & Medicine Studies
Introduction to the History of Science & Technology
Introduction to the History of Science & Technology
Drugs, Science & Culture
Self & Society
Social Problems
Sociology of Labor & Employment
Cultural Representations of Gender
WMS 080
Special Topics in Critical Gender Studies
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal20
Depth Subject Matter
Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies
GSW 103Introduction to Feminist Theory4
WMS 104Feminist Research4
WMS 137Contemporary Debates in Western Feminist Theory4
WMS 170Queer Studies4
WMS 190Senior Seminar (Discontinued)4
Thematic Track
In consultation with the Faculty Advisor & Major Advisor, choose four upper division Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies courses (WMS) and two elective courses that can be taken outside of the department (see options below) addressing a specific theme or topic; courses used to meet this requirement may not duplicate those used to meet other GSW Requirements.24
Choose two:
African Descent Communities & Culture in the Caribbean & Latin America
African Descent Communities & Culture in Asia
Black Female Experience in Contemporary Society
The Black Family In America
Hip Hop in Urban America
Women & Development
Self, Identity, & Family
Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Race, Class, Gender Systems
Gender & Sexuality
Asian American Women
Filipino American Experience
Chicana/o Theoretical Perspective
Chicanas/Mexicanas in Contemporary Society
Globalization, Transnational Migration, & Chicana/o & Latina/o Communities
Chicana/o Psychology
Psychology Perspectives Chicana/o & Latina/o Family
United States-Mexican Border Relations
Chicanas in Politics & Public Policy
Chicanas in Politics & Public Policy
The Chicana & Chicano Movement
The Chicana/o Novel
Mexican Film & Greater Mexican Identity
Contemporary Issues in Chicano Art
Mexican & Chicano Mural Workshop
Race & Juvenile Justice
Women Writers
Gender & Interpretation in the Renaissance
Women in Literature
History of Fashion
19th-Century British Novel
Love & Desire in Contemporary American Poetry
Literature by Women Before 1800
Literature by Women from 1800-1900
Literature, Sexuality, & Gender
Italian-American Cinema
Russian Film
Post-Colonial & Francophone Literature
From Marlene Dietrich to Run, Lola Run: German Women & Film
Multiculturalism in German Literature
Classic Weimar Cinema
Undergraduate Proseminar in History: United States Since 1896
Women & Society in Europe: 1500-1789
Women & Society in Europe: 1789-1920
Women & Gender in Latin American History
Spain & America in the 16th Century
History of Sexuality in America
History of the Modern Middle East, 1750-1914
History of the Modern Middle East, From 1914
The Middle East Environment: Historical Change & Current Challenges
Language, Gender, & Society
Race, Culture, & Nation
Gender Construction in Native Societies
Native American Women
Women in Politics
Sexual Orientation & Prejudice
Gender & Human Reproduction
Hindu Women & Goddesses
Modern Islam
The Family
Sexual Stratification & Politics
Gender & Rural Development in the Third World
Health & Medicine in a Global Context
Gender & Science
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal44
Total Units64