Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at UMass Amherst offers a robust interdisciplinary set of options including an undergraduate major, an undergraduate minor, and a graduate certificate in Feminist Studies.

Our department grew out of the rich terrain of feminist organizing, antiwar and anti-imperialist activism, racial justice, and other social change work that took place in the "long 1960s" in the region, the country, and the world. In the past two decades, WGSS has focused on building a faculty and curriculum that take a critical perspective on the field. Affiliated and core faculty treat the categories of analysis that define and shape the field as dynamic, historically contingent, and relational, and as opportunities to understand how power operates. 

Pedagogically, we are committed to an integrative analysis, where the study of women, gender, and sexuality is understood to be multifaceted, diverse, and embedded in complex matrices of power relations. Our undergraduate curriculum includes a rich set of core courses and electives that present students with the vibrant field of feminist scholarship today. The courses challenge students to critically examine the categories of analysis that constitute the objects of feminist study. These courses also aim to make the complex and multiple histories of feminisms, feminist movements, and feminist theory accessible. In addition, our curriculum encourages our students to develop critical analyses of the politics of knowledge.

By gaining an understanding of where and how categories emerge—geographically, historically, and theoretically—students gain an appreciation for the importance of multidisciplinary critique. In the process, we emphasize the development of research, written and oral communication skills, and collaborative, active learning. We aim to convey to students the importance of critical reflection and engaged political citizenship. 

The Graduate Certificate Program in Feminist Studies accomplishes something similar for graduate students, exposing them to theories, methodologies, debates, and controversies that produce contemporary feminist scholarship. This training enables graduate students to critically examine their own disciplinary locations and, potentially, to teach in WGSS programs and departments.

Undergraduate degree programs
Graduate certificate program