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 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 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 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 the related courses taught in other departments. Of these, two units must be 300-level courses taken within the department (not counting WGST 350, WGST 350H, WGST 360, or WGST 370). Not more than two units can be 100-level courses. 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 (Women 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 concentration 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. Students selecting 300-level courses must have two 300 level-courses listed in the department.
The Capstone Experience in Women's and Gender Studies
All majors will be required to select a capstone experience, with the guidance of their adviser, from the following three options offered in 2014-2015. 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 One: WGST 312 (Seminar) Feminist Inquiry. Each year the seminar will be a different special topic. For 2014-2015, the topic is "Feminist Roundtable,".
- Option Two: WGST 313 Fieldwork in Women's Studies
- Option Three: WGST 360/370 Senior Thesis
Option Three is the traditional senior honors thesis which requires two units over the senior year. See Academic Distinctions for requirements. A thesis does not need to have an experiential component but typically it is based on some original research. Option Two must involve an experiential component.
A minor in Women's and Gender Studies consists of five courses, of which one must be chosen from among 108, 120, or 222, and of which one must be a 300-level course (not 350 or 350H) offered within the department. A total of at least three courses must be taken within the Women's and Gender Studies Department. Minors must devise a three-course "concentration" (see above) in consultation with a Women's Studies faculty advisor (the chair or any of the four Women's Studies faculty members). Not more than one unit can be a 100-level course.
Women's Studies does not allow students to count AP credits towards the fulfillment of the major or minor.
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.