in the program


student faculty ratio

in the classroom

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 2019 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

WGS 130

Women's Diversity: Race, Class, and Culture

This course explores the diversity of women's experience in America as it has been affected by race, ethnicity, class, and other factors, and the effects of gender on women of different groups. Issues that have united and divided women in movements for social change are also addressed. Offered Fall, Spring.

WGS 303

Social Justice Research Methods

This course answers the question that most caring people want answered: How can we fix this problem? Students will engage in the process of strategizing, whatever the issue (gender bias, racism, homophobia, environmental degradation, disability bias), and whatever the setting (a workplace, neighborhood, campus, or beyond). Course activities organize around the processes behind social change: strategic analysis, organizing, action planning, and evaluation, developing students' ability to create the knowledge necessary for complex problem-solving. Students learn and use the quantitative, qualitative, and critical research methods necessary to inform decisions at each step along a generalized pathway to change. Students going on to graduate school and students entering the workforce in a variety of fields like social work, community organizing, communication, and management will benefit from this course. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100WGS 130WGS 150EFN 205ERS 100; plus nine additional credits in courses approved for WGS. Offered Fall.


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 320

Violence Against Women

This course will examine from an interdisciplinary perspective, the connections between violence against women and the power distributions within our society. Three specific types of violence against women will be examined in-depth: sexual assault, incest and battering. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100WGS 130WGS 150, or EFN 205. Offered Alternate Years.

WGS 373

Gender and Human Rights

This course will provide an overview of transnational women's human rights movements in a variety of locations around the world; locations will vary with the instructor. Included in this overview will be the study of women's political participation as a human rights issue; women's bodily integrity as a human right; violence against women and reproductive sexual health and rights; human rights as a framework for social and economic and gender justice; and human rights as (quasi) legal accountability; UN agreements, treaties and venues of redress. Prerequisite: WGS 100, WGS 130, WGS 150, EFN 205, or ERS 100. Offered Fall - Odd Numbered Years.

WGS 374

Women, Poverty and Public Policy

The course analyzes the historical underpinnings to the creation and evolution of welfare with special attention paid to the ways gender, race, and class oppression have shaped welfare in the past and today. Wage differentials, occupational segregation, unpaid work, and gender violence are discussed in relation to the construction of poverty. How poverty affects the lives of poor women and their children also is be explored. Current welfare policy will be analyzed and suggestions for reform based on current research is developed by the class. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100, WGS 130, WGS 150, POL 205, PSY 318, or EFN 205. Offered Alternate Years.

WGS 499

Women's Studies Seminar

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.