Major/Minor Requirements

Spring Break 2018 in Standing Rock: Esa Tilija '19, LaDonna Bravebird Allard, Teena Pugliese, Elena Creef, and Irina Chen '18 with 
"Not Afraid to Look" sculpture at Sacred Stone Camp in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Women's and Gender Studies

Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that explores gender and its intersections with other relations of power such as race, sex, social class, sexuality, nationality, ability, age, and ethnicity. It critically examines the worlds in which we live in their historical, contemporary, and transnational contexts. Department faculty foster a supportive and inclusive community through intellectually rich and inclusive student-centered learning environments. We are committed to small class sizes with innovative pedagogies and assignments and encourage collaborative research opportunities and summer internships. Our research and teaching span a wide range of theoretical and empirical scholarship within not only traditional disciplines but also various interdisciplines. We provide a rigorous, exciting, and supportive intellectual experience for undergraduate students eager to explore the complexities of gender and sexuality. 

Women’s and Gender Studies Major

Learning Objectives for the Women’s & Gender Studies Major

By their senior year, students majoring in Women’s & Gender Studies will:

• Demonstrate an understanding of the social and historical constructions of sex and gender, shifting definitions of our ideas of sex/gender/race/nation, and why debates about definitions matter

• Use gender as a category of analysis in their own writing

• Be able to explain the intersectionality of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality and the interlocking systems of privilege, oppression, and opportunities. They will also be able to explain how structural changes and historical moments intersect with individual lives

• Demonstrate an understanding of cutting-edge theories used in Women’s and Gender Studies, including feminist theories, intersectional feminisms, queer and trans studies, disability studies, reproductive and environmental justice, science and technology studies, and indigenous, decolonial and postcolonial studies

• Cultivate a transnational awareness about shifting frames in global geopolitics

• Demonstrate knowledge of the history of women’s activism and of strategies for social change

• Demonstrate understanding of methodologies used by scholars in Women’s and Gender Studies

• Construct arguments with evidence obtained from research and scholarship

• Think and write critically, engage in critical self-reflection and self- awareness, and compare different perspectives on issues

• Develop an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge by connecting knowledge and experience, theory and activism, and connecting Women’s & Gender Studies courses with other courses


Requirements for the Women’s and Gender Studies Major 

Student entering in Fall 2024 and beyond (Please see Note below for those who started the major before)

Minimum major is 9 units; There are 4 requirements: 

  • One unit must be taken at the 100 level (WGST120, WGST 108, WGST 104 or WGST 102). 
  • WGST 224: Feminist Approaches to Research
  • Two units must be taken at the 300 level within the WGST department. These can (but not required) include WGST 313 (Fieldwork in Women’s and Gender Studies) and/or WGST 360/WGST 370 (Senior Thesis).
  • A total of at least 6 units must be taken in the WGST department.

WGST is an interdisciplinary field that engages disciplines across the Humanities, Social and Natural Sciences. We encourage students to develop a focus that helps towards their interests and career goals. For example consider: Representations, Media, and Race; Feminist Science, Health and Technology; Labor, Families, and the State; Transnational Feminism(s) in Global Contexts; Sexuality Studies; Queer and Trans Studies; Abolition Feminism; Environmental Justice; Reproductive Health and Justice.

NOTE: Students who have entered the major before 2024:

  • WGST 224: Feminist Approaches to Research is not required.
  • Students may (but are not required to) choose to select from the following concentrations:
    • Representations, Media, and Race
    • Feminist Science, Health and Technology
    • Labor, Families, and the State
    • Transnational Feminism(s) in Global Contexts
    • Self-designed concentration (in consultation with and approved by the advisor)

About Courses: 

Courses at the 100 level are introductions to topics in Women’s and Gender Studies. They are taught from the perspective of each faculty member’s specialty. Courses at the 200 level are overviews of substantive areas. Courses at the 300 level provide in-depth examination of material covered in 200-level courses. 

Honors in Women’s and Gender Studies 

There are two routes to honors in the major. Under Program I, a student completes two semesters of independent research (WGST 360 and 370) culminating in an honors thesis. Under Program II, a student completes one semester of fieldwork or independent research (WGST 313) related to previous 300-level course work, writes a formal paper, and then submits to an examination that includes both topics covered in the general area of Women’s and Gender Studies and also one that is related to the 313 project. Honors may only be undertaken in the senior year. To be admitted to the WGST honors program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100 level; the department may petition on the student's behalf if the student's GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. See Academic Distinctions. 

If a student is a rising junior and is interested in either a WGST 360/WGST 370 (senior thesis) or in a WGST 313 honors they must have their paperwork, including a proposal, into the department by April 19, 2024. Students applying for honors should see their WGST advisor for specific preparation and proposal guidelines.

Advanced Placement Policy in Women’s and Gender Studies 

Women’s and Gender Studies does not allow students to count AP credits toward the fulfillment of the major or minor.

The Minor

Requirements for the Women’s and Gender Studies Minor
A minor in Women’s and Gender Studies consists of five units:

  • One unit must be taken at the 100 level (WGST 120 or WGST 102, WGST 104 or WGST 108). 
  • One unit must be taken at the 300 level (not WGST 350 or WGST 350H) offered within the department.
  • A total of at least three courses must be taken within the Women’s and Gender Studies department.

What is it like to major in Women's and Gender Studies? Click here for stories from WGST majors.