208 Bartlett Hall
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Program Director: Professor Arlene Avakian. Associate Professors Deschamps, Subramaniam; Assistant Professors Gore, Kang, Richardson, Shah.
Women’s Studies is a relatively new and rapidly growing field, with more than a thousand undergraduate and graduate programs nationwide. Beginning in the late 1960s, women’s studies developed as an interdisciplinary field that made gender central to its analysis. Initially compensating for the omission or distortion of women’s contributions to society, the field soon brought a feminist critique to the conceptual frameworks of the entire academy. Developing both within departments and as a separate entity, women’s studies has had an enormous impact. In most disciplines gender analyses are no longer the exception, and a number of women’s studies programs now offer graduate work.
Women’s Studies Five College Course Description Guide
Each semester the Program publishes, for its majors and other interested students, a Women’s Studies Five College Course Description Guide which contains over a hundred courses from the University and Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges. Women’s Studies majors or minors are able to take these courses, and, subject to the Women’s Studies requirements and restrictions, the courses may count toward the major or minor. Copies of the Women’s Studies Five College Course Description Guide are available for the next semester during the preregistration counseling period and may be obtained from the Women’s Studies Office, 208 Bartlett, tel. 545-1922, or viewed from the Program’s Website: www.umass.edu/wost.
Women’s Studies Resources
The Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, located at Mount Holyoke College, facilitates the discussion and critical analysis of women’s studies research. The University of Massachusetts Du Bois Library has a Women’s Studies reference librarian available.
Women’s Studies students may individually tailor their program by focusing their courses in a specific area of interest or choosing a general approach. Women’s Studies has a strong advising system. All students work one-on-one with a faculty sponsor, and professional academic advisers are available for general advising on the major or minor, internships, practica, and independent studies. Students design their programs selecting from the wide range of courses listed in the Women’s Studies Five College Course Description Guide (see above).
A minimum of 36 credits in Women’s Studies courses numbered 200 or above is required for the major. Courses which meet the requirements listed below are listed each semester in the Women’s Studies Five College Course Description Guide.
1) Required WOMENSST courses: 201 Critical Perspectives in Women’s Studies; 301 Theorizing Women’s Issues or 394H Theorizing Black Feminisms. 394H can fulfill the theory requirement or a Women of Color requirement, but not both; and 391W Writing for Women’s Studies Majors, which fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement.
Women’s Studies students obtain a broad liberal arts education which is an excellent background for a wide variety of fields. Women’s Studies students develop strong skills in critical inquiry, written and oral communication, and an awareness of social issues. Women’s Studies graduates are working in the educational and legal fields, as administrators and managers in the public and private sectors, in human services and the healing professions, the arts and technological sciences, and in many other fields. The major can also be designed to provide appropriate preparation for a range of graduate programs and professional schools. The University of Massachusetts Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies is designed to complement a major degree-granting discipline and further advance feminist research and methodology.
Students majoring in other departments are offered the opportunity of an academic concentration in Women’s Studies through the interdisciplinary minor. Students work with a faculty sponsor to design individualized courses of study reflecting their particular areas of interest. Graduates have found a minor in Women’s Studies to be an excellent asset in competing for placement in professional fields and graduate programs. Students considering a minor in Women’s Studies should contact an academic adviser in the Program, who can offer assistance with completing the application process, obtaining a faculty sponsor, and identifying courses best suited to a student’s interests.
A minimum of 18 credits in Women’s Studies is required for the minor; applicable courses are listed each semester in the Women’s Studies Five College Course Description Guide. The 18 credits must include WOST 201 Critical Perspectives on Women’s Studies, and at least one course on women of color identified in the Course Description Guide. The remaining credits may be earned in WOMENSST courses; in approved courses offered in other departments at the University or in Five College courses; or in component courses, if the paper or project done by the student focuses on an overlapping area within Women’s Studies. Restrictions on course selection and on “component courses” are found each semester in the Guide. Elective credit may also be earned, when approved, in independent studies or practica related to the minor (to a maximum of six credits).