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Carrie Bero, '14

Women's Studies

"I loved that we had opportunities to choose where to invest our time and energy in the program; I had so many opportunities to tailor assignments to my interests, to write papers about topics that were especially compelling to me."

Kaitlin Schmitt, '14

Women's Studies

"I felt a level of support from my professors that I have not felt in other settings—it was clear that they cared about my success as a student and my well-being. They were all incredibly helpful when I was applying for graduate school."

Megan Gokey, '09

Women's Studies

"I appreciate the friendships and mentors I will always have through this program. Each and every single professor was invested in my education and in my future, and because of the nature of the WGSS degree; every student was invested as well."

Miranda Martin, '18

Women's Studies

"I appreciate most about this program how open everyone is and how ready they are to learn things that can help. Overall, I really like that this program offers ways to actually get out there and change the world around us, and to shape our reality; rather than just sitting and discussing issues."

Fall 2020 courses

WGS 100

Gender, Race and Class in American Institutions

This course provides an introduction to how gender, race and class have intertwined over time to produce women's social roles and status


Introduction to LGBT Studies

This course will examine the cultural, legal, and political dimensions of LGBT life in the U.S. It will begin by exploring the social invention of heterosexuality and how personal and institutional interpretations of sexuality have historically informed the lives of LGBT people. The course also addresses class, racial and gender biases that especially confront queer communities of color in the U.S. Finally, the course looks at continued instances of hate crimes and homophobia against the backdrop of rights-based activism and the role that art and politics play in this interplay. (Cross-listed with SOC/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Alternate Years. 

WGS 150

Introduction to Social Justice

Students in this course will examine the concept of social justice through an intersectional and multidisciplinary lens. Students will begin with a critical investigation of the connections between the individual, the local, and the structural as they relate to justice and inequality in society. Social justice strategies are then evaluated, in case study fashion, through the lenses of gender, race, and class structures.


History of Motherhood in the United States

This course considers motherhood in nineteenth and twentieth century United States history from a variety of perspectives. It explores women's experiences as mothers, across lines of class, race, and relationship status. It also examines the politics of motherhood in US history, and considers both the restrictive and the empowering dimensions of ideologies of motherhood. (Cross-listed with HIS/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Alternate Years.

WGS 330

Topics: Sex/Work

In this course, students will explore the topic of sex work. While course material will focus primarily on sex work in the United States, students will also engage in comparative analyses in the international context. Participants in this course will learn about the various types of labor that comprise sex work, as well as the different social, theoretical, feminist, regulatory, political, and legislative understandings and approaches to these forms of labor. Students will also learn about the impacts that these understandings and approaches have on those engaged in these forms of labor and society more broadly, particularly as it relates to questions of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Repeatable for credit - maximum nine. Department approval is necessary to apply more than three credits toward the WS minor. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100WGS 130WGS 150WGS 212ERS 100EDS 206SOC 110SOC 120. Offered Occasionally.

WGS / SOC 337

Globalization, Women, and Work

Online format. This course examines the global and often exploitative experiences of women, migrating from one part of the world to another for work. As women leave their countries of origin, many find themselves working as nannies, sex workers, house cleaners and modern-day slaves in sweatshops. These work environments often create vulnerability, discrimination, and abuse of women within the private and public institutions of their host countries. The course will also use in-depth personal narratives and a focus on grassroots social movements to witness how women resist workplace policies and domestic laws to campaign for their rights, despite cultural and political constraints. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100, WGS 130, WGS 150, EDS 206, or ERS 100. (Cross-listed with SOC/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Alternate Years.

WGS 340

Gender, Knowledge, and Power

This course explores the connection between gender, knowledge, and power. Students in this course will learn to apply classic and feminist epistemological theory to questions such as how knowledge is socially situated, what it means to explore knowledge through a critical feminist lens, and how the production of knowledge is impacted by conceptions of gender, race, and class. Students in this course will learn about the scientific method and how feminist epistemological theory can strengthen, not weaken, objectivity. Ultimately, students will apply these lessons to the context of the formalized education system in the contemporary United States. In doing so, students will come to a better understanding of how women can "reclaim" their educations. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100WGS 130WGS 150, or EDS 206. Offered Alternate Years.

WGS 450

Internship in Women's Studies

The internship is an academically relevant field experience for majors and minors in women's studies which combine women's studies scholarship with practical experience. The field experience will be supervised by the women's studies staff. A maximum of three credits will be counted toward the minor. Repeatable for credit - maximum nine. Prerequisite: six credits of WGS courses; WGS major or minor. Offered Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.

WGS 499

Women's Studies Seminar

Online Format. Intensive interdisciplinary study of particular areas in women's studies. Topics will be chosen by the instructor and the students. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100, WGS 130, or WGS 150; at least two other courses approved for the WGS major or minor; declared WGS major or minor. Offered Fall.


The mission of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Department is to empower students to think critically about gender and sexuality, challenge social inequality, and become ethical problem-solvers, preparing them for careers, engaged citizenship, and advanced degrees.  We advance knowledge and critical conversations about social justice through teaching, research, service and community engagement, including our pre-college Self Sufficiency Program for adults in the community.  We provide students with opportunities to develop research and communication skills and creatively use the knowledge and practices of our discipline.  

Learn more about us »


The WGSS Department (from L-R):
Deb Hoskins, Jodi Vandenberg-Daves, Terry Lilley, Mahruq Khan, Andrea Hansen, and Pearl Bearhart

Program outcomes
& opportunities

The basis of many of our courses begins with:

  • a desire to make the world better,
  • to ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect
  • to allow people to live their lives more fully

We use an intersectional approach to understanding people/groups and students gain a deep understanding of how race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. all contribute to their experience of the world, physically, socially, and emotionally.

Did you realize that...

In 2018, women comprised 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.

Center for the study of Women in Television & Film

A heart attack is more likely to be fatal in a young woman than a young man, perhaps because women’s cardiac symptoms are more often misattributed to anxiety or depression than men’s.

"How one woman changed what doctors know about heart attacks" New York Times, Feb. 2019 

In 2018, 110 (81D, 29R) women hold seats in the United States Congress, comprising 20.6% of the 535 members; 23 women (23%) serve in the U.S. Senate, and 87 women (20.0%) serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics

Nearly 12% of high school females reported physical violence and nearly 16% reported sexual violence from a dating partner in the 12 months* before they were surveyed.

The 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Women may make up 64% of the physical therapist (PT) workforce, but in 2013, they earned about 88% of what male PTs made, according to the latest data from the US Census Bureau.

"US Census: Median PT earnings nearly $10k lower for women than men in 2013" PT In Motion News, APTA

Multiple studies have shown that the presence of a [Gay Straight Alliance] at school is linked to safety at school for LGBTQ youth, as well as youth in general.

Kosciw et al., 2008; Lee, 2002; O’Shaughnessy et al., 2004; Szalacha, 3003

Experimental studies generally report that exposure to ultrathin bodies idealized in the media leads to body dissatisfaction, weight dissatisfaction, and negative affect among many women.

Grabe, Ward, & Hyde, 2008; Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002

Lesbian and gay Christians who were part of an affirming faith community indicated higher levels of psychological well-being, so by providing information to LGBT clients regarding affirming faith groups, counselors might challenge the myth of incompatibility between LGBT sexual, gender, and spiritual identity.

Lease, S. H., Horne, S. G., & Noffsinger-Frazier, N. (2005). Affirming faith experiences and psychological health for caucasian lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(3), 378-388. doi:http://dx.doi.org.libweb.uwlax.edu/10.1037/0022-0167.52.3.378

The “severity” of sexual harassment experiences have no effect on the level of harm the person being harassed experiences. Infrequent “high intensity” sexual harassment (i.e. assault) is just as detrimental as frequent “low intensity” harassment (i.e. crude jokes, etc.).

Sojo, V. E., Wood, R. E., & Genat, A. E. (2015). Harmful Workplace Experiences and Women’s Occupational Well-Being. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 40(1), 10-40. doi:10.1177/0361684315599346

Hear our alumni discuss the relevance of their Women's Studies degrees to their various careers

Academic assistance

Below is a small section of resources which may help you in your pursuit of a college degree. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions along your journey.

We'd love to see you on campus.