Major/Minor Requirements

Directions for Election

The Major

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.

The major requires nine credits; 5 units must be taken in the Women's and Gender Studies department. The additional 4 units may be from the department or from the list of courses for credit toward the Women's and Gender Studies Major and Minor. In addition, other Wellesley College courses related to Women's and Gender Studies or courses taken at other institutions may count toward the major, with the approval of the student's major advisor.

The major requires one unit from the WGST 100-level courses; it is recommended that students start their major with this course. WRIT 110 and WRIT 164 may be counted as this 100-level course for the WGST major. Students may count one other 100-level WGST course towards their major. In addition, students are required to take two 300-level courses in WGST; one of these courses must be WGST 312, 313, or 360/370 (which count as one course for this purpose). WGST350/350H does not meet the requirement of two WGST seminars, but may be counted towards the major.

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.

We recommend that students take a course related to data-analysis in support of their WGST major.

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 2019-20. They must declare their option by the end of their junior year.

Option 1: WGST 312 Seminar. Feminist Inquiry. 

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 the student's behalf if the student's 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.

Requirements for the Women’s and Gender Studies Minor

A minor in Women’s and Gender Studies consists of five courses, of which one must be chosen from among WGST 100, WGST 102, WGST 108 or WGST 120 and of which one must be a 300-level course (not WGST 350 or WGST 350H) offered within the department. A total of at least three courses must be taken within the Women’s and Gender Studies department. Not more than one unit can be a 100-level course.

What is it like to major in Women's and Gender Studies? Click here for stories from WGST majors.