Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies is an individually designed interdisciplinary major. The program uses an intersectional analysis which embeds gender within a complex web of interlocking social formations including gender, race/nationality/ethnicity, class and sexuality. Students have the option of focusing their course work around a particular theme. We encourage students to explore internships, independent studies, honors, and other educational opportunities in order to craft their own program to best suit their interests. Advising is central to the major; in addition to staff advisors each student has their own faculty sponsor.
- If you are interested in a Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies major, talk with the advisor in the office and/or a faculty member (208 Bartlett, 545-1922). In addition to the staff advisors, each major has a faculty sponsor to guide their academic program. Department staff or faculty assist students in choosing an appropriate sponsor.
- Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies maintains an open admissions policy, but requires: a completed application form (attached) that outlines your intended course of study and is signed by your sponsor, and attendance at an orientation session.
- Talk with an advisor in the office to choose a sponsor. Meet with the faculty member to discuss your program and have them sign your application. Leave a copy of the form with your sponsor for their future reference.
- Get your paperwork in as early as possible. We suggest by October 31st in the fall and April 1st in the spring.
- After your paperwork has been submitted to the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies office, you must process a University change of major form to make the change official on your record (SPIRE). After Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies has signed your forms, you must sign out of your old major and deliver the fully signed change of major form to the Registrar’s Office in Whitmore. If you are given your academic folder from your old major, bring it to 208 Bartlett Hall. If you are double majoring, see the Chief Undergraduate Advisors of both programs.
WOMEN, GENDER, SEXUALITY STUDIES MAJOR REQUIREMENTS
University Requirements: Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies majors must fulfill the University graduation requirements of 120 credits, complete the General Education requirements, including 45 credits in residence, and maintain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 as well as a 2.0 in the major.
College Requirements: Students must also fulfill College of Humanities and Fine Arts requirements, including a foreign language requirement. See one of the advisors for the most up to date version of the requirements or pick them up in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Dean’s Office in E20 Machmer.
Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Requirements: Majors must take 36 Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies credits.
- Complete application (including signature of sponsor) and orientation process.
- Take 36 credits including these 6 required courses:*
WOMENSST 301 or WOMENSST 394H (usually offered fall semester)
A minimum of two courses (total) from at least two of the following three categories* - check for eligible courses in our WGSS Course Offerings listing published each semester
Critical race feminisms
*Note: these distribution requirements are for students entering Fall 2013 or later. See the advisor.
WOMENSST 391W - Junior Year Writing (offered each fall/general education requirement, taught in major)
WOMENSST 494 - The Integrative Experience Seminar (offered in Spring)
(General Education requirement for students entering Fall 2010 or later - taught in major)
- Maintain a cumulative average of 2.0 in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies.
- Complete end-of-program report and submit it the office.
- You cannot elect to take a class for the major pass/fail. Mandatory pass/fail courses can count.
*In addition to the 6 required courses (usually totaling 18-20 credits), students need additional credits to complete 36 credits required for the major. If your major has a theme your theme should be clearly described in your application. If you change your focus later in the program, submit a new application spelling out the new focus. Courses must be above a 100-level to count towards the major, with the exception of WOMENSST 187. Component courses and skills courses must be documented.
The elective credits can be earned in any one of the following ways:
- Courses offered through Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University.
- Courses offered in other departments or at the other colleges listed as Departmental Courses in the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Course Offerings guide. (See exceptions below.)
- Courses listed as Component Courses in the guide count as Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies courses if at least 1/3-1/2 of the work for the course is on women, gender, or sexuality studies. If the paper topics offered are not adaptable to one of these topics, the student is encouraged to meet with the faculty member to devise a paper topic that fits with their academic program. In the case of a component course, the student is responsible for documenting that the work done for the course is sufficient to grant Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies credit.
- Independent Work: Independent study, field work, and practicum credits may count towards the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies degree if related to the student's program. Practicum, field work, or independent studies can be taken under WOMENSST course numbers, or course numbers in another department. As in the case of component courses, the student is responsible for documenting how the work relates to her major. A limit of 15 credits of these types of courses can count toward the major. Honors thesis/project credits are NOT included in the 15 credit limit.
Skills Courses are courses the student must take to learn a specific skill or master a body of knowledge that is part of their course of study. Skills courses may be counted towards the major. For example, a student whose focus is women and health can use a course on Anatony to fulfill credits towards her major regardless of whether the class focuses on women, gender, or sexuality. There is a limit of 12 credits that can be earned in this fashion. Skills credit must be requested in writing on the application.
At the end of your program you must fill out an end-of-program (EOP) report form, have it signed by your sponsor, and submit to the office. The report includes a list of all courses counting towards the 36 credits, and feedback on your academic program overall. Contact the office for a copy. You will not be cleared for graduation until the EOP form is in!
To find out how to count other types of courses, or about course waivers, request a copy of “Waiver and Substitution Procedures for Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies.”
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS
- Students are responsible for ongoing sponsor contact, meeting with the sponsor at least once a semester, preferably to plan the coming semester.
- There is a maximum of 15 credits of independent work that can be applied to the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies major. All independent studies, internships, and other special projects are considered "independent work." Thus all credits earned under course numbers 296, 396, 496, 298, 398, and 498 are subject to this limitation. Credits earned over the 15 limit maximum can count towards graduation, but not towards the 36 credits needed for the major. In addition, the University has a limit of 18 practicum credits from all departments (198, 298, 398, 498) that can be counted towards graduation.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND HELPFUL HINTS
- We encourage students to include field work and independent study as part of their course of study. A member of the staff is available for consultation about possible field work placements. Graduates continually tell us field work was a very important experience both as a way to make connections between experience and the classroom and as a way to test possible career interests.
- Honors options are available. See the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies honors coordinator for more information.
- We suggest that students distribute their work evenly over four semesters with only three Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies courses per semester. Our experience has been that more than three of our courses in one semester may be difficult for students.
Student Involvement in the Program
The Program is always open to student suggestions. The Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Executive Committee, the decision making body for the program, includes 2 undergraduate student representatives as well as graduate student representatives, faculty, adjunct faculty and staff.
Revised February 2016