Directions for Election
A major in Women’s and Gender Studies offers an opportunity for the interdisciplinary study of women from the perspectives of the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Women’s and Gender Studies majors seek an understanding of the new intellectual frameworks that are reshaping critical thought about the meaning and role of gender in human life. Majors pursue knowledge of gendered experiences in diverse cultures and across time, examining the ways in which race, social class, sexuality, and ethnicity are constitutive of that experience.
A major in Women’s and Gender Studies requires nine units taken both within the department and through courses listed for credit in other departments. The major requires a minimum of two 300-level courses taught within the WGST Department that may include WGST 312, 313, and 360/370* (*which count as one course for this purpose), but not 350/350H. In addition, all students are required to select a capstone experience (see below).
Students are encouraged to enter the department through one of the three core units: WGST 108 (The Social Construction of Gender), WGST 120 (Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies), or WGST 222 (Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary American Society). Majors must take one of these units as a required course. Apart from this required unit (WGST 108, WGST 120, or WGST 222), majors must elect at least four other units offered within the Women’s and Gender Studies department, of which two should be 300-level seminars.
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 to substantive areas. Courses at the 300 level provide in-depth examination of material covered in 200-level courses.
Students majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies must elect four of the nine units in such a way that they form a “concentration,” i.e., have a focus or central theme in common. Such concentrations should include relevant method and theory units in the area of concentration, and must be discussed with and approved by a Women’s and Gender Studies faculty advisor. See Concentrations in this regard. Priority in all courses above the 100 level will go to majors and minors.
Capstone Experience in Women’s and Gender Studies
All majors will be required to select a capstone experience, with the guidance of their advisor, from the following three options offered in 2015-16. Students should begin to think about which option would best fit their concentration when they declare the major. They must declare their option by the end of their junior year.
Option 1: WGST 312 Seminar. Feminist Inquiry. Each year the seminar will be a different special topic. For 2015-16, the topic is “Feminist Roundtable.”
Option 2: WGST 313 (Fieldwork in Women’s and Gender Studies).
Option 3: WGST 360/WGST 370 (Senior Thesis).
Option 3 is the traditional senior honors thesis, which requires two units during the senior year. See Academic Distinctions in this catalog for requirements. A thesis does not need to have an experiential component, but typically it is based on some original research. Option 2 must involve an experiential component.
Honors in Women’s and Gender Studies
The only route to honors in the major is writing a thesis and passing an oral examination. To be admitted to the thesis 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 her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. See Academic Distinctions.
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.