BA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The major in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies gives students the opportunity to pursue their own intellectual interests within the multi-faceted study of women, gender, and/or sexuality. All majors take two interdisciplinary courses offered by the program; two core courses that explore the broad, foundational questions and arguments within specific disciplines or interdisciplinary fields of study; and five electives chosen from at least three different departments or programs that engage particular subjects, issues, and materials in the study of women, gender, and/or sexuality. Among the five electives, students take at least three within a concentration area or designed individually in consultation with the program director based on a student's focus of interest.
In addition, all majors do a capstone project in the senior year that develops from the concentration area, either as a mentored independent project or, if eligible, an honors thesis. The Director of WGSS serves as academic advisor to the major and oversees the progress of all students in the Program. Two faculty mentors from different disciplines appropriate to the topic advise on the capstone project or thesis in the senior year.
Program Requirements and Policies
- For the bachelor of arts degree in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, a total of ten courses are required as outlined below.
- All majors do a capstone project in the senior year that develops from the concentration area, either as a mentored independent project (WGSS 193) or, if eligible, an honors thesis (WGSS 198/199)
- All courses must be taken for a letter grade and receive a grade of C- or higher. With approval from the Director, up to four credits can be transferred from another institution towards the major.
- To count a course towards a WGSS major or minor, the significant writing/research projects in the course must focus on a relevant topic in the study of women, gender, and/or sexuality.
- With the Director's approval, one internship for credit, one Experimental College course, and one independent research course may count as electives.
- WGSS 72: Queering Feminisms: Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
- Two foundation courses which explore the broad, foundational questions and arguments in feminist approaches within specific disciplines or interdisciplinary fields of study, covering a diversity of perspectives, including attention to local, national and transnational issues and context. Courses currently available in this category (includes but are not limited to the following):
- ANTH 147: Sex and Money
- WGSS 73: Introduction to Queer Studies
- SOC 188: Masculine Mystique
- ED 192: Feminist Theories in Education
- ENG 177: Feminism, Literature, Theory
- REL 104: Feminist Theologies
- ANTH 146: Global Feminism
- SOC 30: Sex & Gender in Society
- PHIL 48: Feminist Philosophy
- Five elective courses chosen from the WGSS course list representing at least three different departments. Three of these electives should be clustered into a concentration area within the study of women, gender and/or sexuality towards developing the focus of the senior capstone project or thesis. Students define their own concentration areas or choose one from those suggested with the advice and approval of the Director of WGSS. Please find more information about the concentration areas below.
- WGSS 190: Doing Feminist Research (Fall)
- WGSS 193: Senior Project (Fall or Spring) or WGSS: 198/199 (Full Year)
Descriptions of Required Courses
WGSS 72 Queering Feminisms: Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies - An interdisciplinary survey of major issues in the academic study of women, gender, and sexuality. This course emphasizes intersections with race, class, ethnicity, culture and other categories of identity and difference, and includes a strong global or transnational perspective.
WGSS 190 Doing Feminist Research - Taken in preparation for senior project, this course addresses the practices and methods of feminist interdisciplinary research in a cross-cultural framework. It explores how feminist inquiry rethinks assumptions and categories within the traditional disciplines; what counts as knowledge; the relation between subjects and objects of study; international issues in feminist analysis. It also focuses on developing a topic, compiling a bibliography, and drafting a project proposal.
WGSS 193 Senior Project - A one-semester mentored independent project culminating in an interdisciplinary research paper or other creative or activist work with an analytical component, which explores and tests traditional and contemporary scholarship on women, gender and/or sexuality. Two faculty members from different departments appropriate to the topic serve as mentors for student projects. Includes a series of group meetings during Spring semester. See Senior Project Guidelines for more information.
WGSS 198/199 Senior Honors Thesis - For eligible students, a two-semester mentored independent project culminating in a substantial interdisciplinary research paper or other creative or activist work with an analytical component, which explores and tests traditional and contemporary scholarship on women, gender, and/or sexuality. Two faculty members from different departments appropriate to the topic serve as mentors for the thesis project through both semesters. Students doing an honors thesis participate in the WGSS 193 group meetings during Spring semester. See Senior Honors Thesis Guidelines for more information.
Choosing a concentration area with electives from at least three different departments encourages students to think about integrating the various topics, approaches, and materials they are studying. In consultation with the Director of the Program, students can formulate their own concentration area based on their individual interests or choose one from among those suggested below. These should be considered broad frameworks for synthesizing knowledge and the specific courses listed are only some examples of courses that could be clustered under this broad area of concentration; there are many other courses and combinations of courses that may constitute a concentration area, so students should look at the WGSS course offerings each semester to determine which ones will be appropriate for their particular focus. Thinking and learning evolves, so students can refine or revise their concentration area if necessary.
- DR 43: Gay and Lesbian Theatre & Film
- ENG 80: Hitchcock: Cinema, Gender, Ideology
- HIST 96: Body and Sexuality in Pre-Modern Europe
- MUS 97: Queer Pop
- SOC 149: Sexuality and Society
Race, Class, and Power
- ED 162: Class, Race, and Gender in History of US Education
- ENG 160: Environmental Justice and US Lit
- HIST 110: Race, Class, and Power in South Africa
- PS 188: Race, Ethnicity, and US African Policy
- SOC 130: Wealth, Poverty, and Inequality
- ANTH 120: Culture and Intimacy in South Asia
- ENG 45: Non-Western Women Writers
- HIST 91: Seeking Gendered Perspectives
- PS 188: Gender Issues in World Politics
- SOC 187: Immigrant Children and Children of Immigrants
- SPN 191: Latin American Women Writers
Creative Arts and Media
- DR 46: International Women Filmmakers
- ENG 171: Women & Fiction
- FAH 32: High Renaissance Italy
- FR 163: The Heroine's Plot
- MUS 185: Black Divas
Please contact program Director, Hilary Binda for information about any additional course counting as foundational for this major.