Post-college plans

A page within Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Degree Flexibility

The Flexibility of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Students who major or minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UWL can be characterized as people who want to make a difference.  The vast majority of our students want, in particular, to help people, and therefore tend to gravitate to the helping professions, especially those in health, education, and social services. 

Most of our students come to us with these desires.  They stay with us because they find that Women's Studies helps them figure out how to do it, develops their confidence that they can do it, and helps them assess ways to place what can be very demanding work into a balance with their personal lives.

Our students learn that their desire to make a difference can happen at many levels, from the individual, to the community or the workplace, to the society or the culture.  Making a difference can also happen anywhere, not just in the helping professions.  Difference-making also uses a broad range of skills, thus providing a niche for a broad range of people. 

In other words, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies offers infinitely flexible programs.

Career Planning Resources

Career Services at UWL! Your first stop!

What Can I Do with a Major in WGSS?

  • Think about this in three ways:  you have skills, you have attitudes and values, and you have knowledge. 
  • Use the resources below to get some ideas about what those are and how you might use them:
    • The University of Louisville has a good list of ideas
    • University of Dayton has excellent ideas, and check their bibliography at the end too
    • Portland State University's WS career page includes a list of other websites with WG-related career info
    • NWSA Student Center: Job Search Resources page Good collection of resources for every step of the process of career development, from identifying your skills to writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, researching companies, and evaluating job offers.
    • University of Pennsylvania's Career Resources for LGBT students. Are you gay, lesbian, bi, or trans?  Your career issues might be a bit different from your classmates'.  Here's some resources that can help.
    • University of Florida's Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research Careers in Women's Studies page
    • Are you interested in women's health?  The Office of Research on Women's Health has a good career-planning page
    • Are you a woman interested in a career in sports?  Here's a job board (and more!)
    • If you're doing a dual major, or a minor in WGSS, your other department's website may also include valuable resources. Psychology's is especially good.

Graduate School

Going to Grad School

Social Science Grad School Night (usually in October each year) -- Information packet


Don't assume this!  We repeat:  DO NOT ASSUME THIS!  Most graduate program provide at least two mechanisms to help you afford to be in graduate school:  fee remissions (ie, your department pays your tuition or a portion of it); and stipends (for performing a variety of jobs that grad students have the expertise to do).  ASK US!  We're happy to explain how this works.


Note: This list includes ONLY national scholarships!   Most graduate programs have an array of financial options, including sometimes scholarships only for grad students admitted to their own programs, so be sure to ask the school to which you're applying about their options.


  • Most students who are considering advanced degrees also consider taking a year or two off from school. Most parents worry about that decision.
  • In fact, most graduate programs look very favorably on applicants who have taken some time out of college. Such students usually have a clearer idea why they want a graduate degree, a better sense of the specifics of what they want to study (a great benefit, since graduate degrees usually focus and specialize to a much greater extent than undergraduate degrees do), and a better sense of their own skills and talents in practice.
  • Parents worry that their child will never return to school if they decide to stop out. While that is always possible, most students are better off finding another path than they are wasting a great deal of money to earn a graduate degree they aren't sure they want.



  • For many fields, particularly if the degree you want to pursue is a research degree (i.e., a PhD), the best way to decide which grad school you want is to first find the faculty members with whom you want to work. So, you need to know who's doing work in the area that interests you. To determine this, start with the academic databases in Murphy Library, and search by topics. For example, go to  Women's Resources International , and search for, say, "violence against women," or "lesbian economics."
  • You'll want to know a great deal more, about both the department and the university. For example, you will want to know whether the department or the institution has placement services to help you find a job once you've completed your doctorate. Study any particular institution's website carefully. Don't assume that "career services" are for graduate students unless they say so.
  • Talk to some people at the institution you're considering.
  • One of the best sites lets you search by subject and by school name: .
  • Don't forget to visit the websites of the universities you are interested in as part of your search. 
  • Peterson's  ( ) allows you to search for graduate schools and also has good general information about graduate work.

GRE INFORMATION (and other testing info)

  • If you are on campus, ETS/CBT (Educational Testing Services/Computer Based Testing) in the Counseling and Testing Center can administer the GRE test to you right here!  They also provide free CDs of the GRE Powerprep program that helps you prepare for the exam.  For more information on taking the GRE, go here: UWL Counseling and Testing  or call ETS/CBT at 608.785.8968.
  • Testing information is also available for the GRE at ( ). You can register online to take this computer-based test at a site near you.
  • There are sites were you can take free sample GREs too. Here's one possibility:.


Applying to graduate school takes a lot of time, energy and money. Students should start planning during their junior year (if not earlier!). There is a lot of useful information below. Be sure to read it before seeing your advisor.


Graduate schools are looking for strong students with the initiative and ability to do graduate work. In particular, they need to know that YOU know why you want that particular degree. Internship and/or research experience is valued because it signals a graduate school that you have a clue about your future endeavors. Strong grades and strong evaluations also play a major role. Strong GREs can secure a spot; however, poor GREs (if offset by other strong records) will not usually harm a student.


  • Decide whether graduate school is right for you.
  • Define the area of concentration and degree that you will pursue.
  • Research schools and programs and choose a range of places to which you want to apply.
  • Complete the applications to these programs.
  • Attend interviews (if applicable) and make a final decision regarding which program you will attend.


  • RESEARCH INDICATES THAT EARLY PLANNING BENEFITS APPLICANTS! But take this timeline with a grain of salt: you CAN get accepted into a good graduate program by another path. Prior planning remains the key.


  • Pursue extensive career exploration.
  • Volunteer at an organization of interest to you.
  • Join campus organizations appropriate to your major and minor.


  • Do an internship.
  • Take statistics and research design courses (sophomore year for some majors).
  • If possible, get involved in faculty research.
  • Investigate graduate programs. Your major department, Murphy Library, and Career Services should have resources to help with this. Professional associations in your field of study often provide a list of graduate programs. Several books rank programs and provide information about acceptance rates, costs, and the like.
  • Send for information and applications using the phone numbers and/or addresses found in the resources discussed above.
  • Start to plan and study for the GREs. Take practice tests. You may want to take the GREs during your junior year. See Career Services  or the Counseling Center for information and applications. They also have practice GREs on computer that you can take for a small fee.


  • Visit  Career Services  to polish your resume and interviewing skills.
  • Take the GREs in early fall (or before).
  • Collect the applications for all the schools in which you are interested. Organize them by application deadline, keeping in mind that financial aid applications are usually due earlier than the program's deadline.
  • Secure the finances secured for the application process.
  • CAST A WIDE NET! Apply to as many schools as possible. Geographic difference will help your application. Apply to some schools below your ideal, as potential "Plan B" schools. Do not apply to schools you know you would not want to attend if you were accepted.
  • Give your faculty members all your recommendation forms at once (if possible) and give them lots of time.

Shamelessly swiped and adapted from UWL's Psychology website. Thanks to Dr. Morgan for permission.


Job Search

Job Search

1.  Start with  UWL CAREER SERVICES.  

2.  Understand what your major/minor have helped you develop:

Michigan State's website has a very good summary here    See which of these apply to you.

3.  Investigate These Resources on the Web:

The World Wide Web offers many career and job resources. Here is a sampling of sites that may help your job search.   Before you use any of these resources, though, be sure to read the caveats below.

4.  Be aware of these caveats & tips for WEB-based searching:

  • Most of these sites do not involve a cost to you to post your resume or search for positions.  Employers bear the cost of the service.
  • There is considerable variation in the format requirements for resumes across the various sites.  However, it will be helpful for you to start or convert your resume to a web-friendly format for easy posting.
  • These sites offer the ability to search for jobs by title and region, the ability to post your resume and often a service that automatically sends your resume to jobs where there appears to be a "match."
  • IMPORTANT - many of the sites are still best for industry-based jobs.  Often human service and non-profit jobs are still listed primarily in newspapers.  Depending on your plans, you might want to search the sites that have the links to the job listings of major newspapers, like JobTrak and CareerPath listed above.  Currently, research suggests that businesses use the Internet in about 30% of their recruiting activities.  We recommend posting your resume on several sites.
  • There are a few drawbacks to the web sites.  In the more corporate sites, it make take several layers of clicking to get to the actual job postings. Additionally, sometimes employers can get pesky by too aggressively pursuing you for a position.

5.  Find Salary Information:

  • Occupational Outlook Handbook website 
  • Several commercial sites offer similar types of information
  • Check out our own  Career Services  site for UWL salary information by college and major.

Shamelessly swiped and adapted from UWL's Psychology Advising website.  Thanks to Dr. Morgan for permission.