Requirements for the Major

The purpose of the program is to acquaint students with current scholarship on women and gender, to introduce them to feminist theory and research, and to provide opportunities and support for students to engage in feminist activism. All students take GSWS 205, "Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies," and plan a Community Action Project. A capstone research/activist experience (independent study, Honors thesis, internship, senior seminar, or research methods course) is also required. Search the dynamic schedule to find each semester's GSWS courses. Students may declare a major or a minor in GSWS.

The GSWS major prepares students who wish to gain a strong interdisciplinary perspective in advance of employment and/or graduate or professional study leading to careers in a wide variety of fields including, for instance, law, education, politics, business, social action, the arts, medicine and so on. Graduates of GSWS programs nationwide report reasons for choosing this field of study that range from lifelong interest in feminism, to discovering new intellectual challenges, to providing themselves with the confidence and freedom to "do whatever you choose to do."

The following guidelines have been reviewed and approved by the GSWS Curriculum Committee, the GSWS Executive Committee, and the Committee for Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies. Because the program's curriculum offers a wide variety of choices, each major or minor is asked to work closely with a GSWS advisor to select related courses in a content area reflecting a specific interest in GSWS. For example, students might seek out courses in anthropology, Africana Studies, English, history, literary and cultural studies, psychology, sociology, and so on, that help them consider issues relating to their interests in women's roles in a variety of cultures and in women's history, health, creativity, etc. In other words, majors are asked to select courses according to an organized plan that allows them to build expertise in a subject from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

An interdisciplinary major in GSWS requires a minimum of 32 credit hours. Not more than 10 credits of introductory courses, excluding GSWS 205, and 6 credits of independent study may count toward the major. Successful completion of GSWS 405 satisfies the Major Writing Requirement. The major computing requirement is satisfied by successful completion of GSWS 375 ("Feminist Research Methods"), or by successful completion of any of the Computer Science courses designed for this requirement, or by petitioning GSWS to substitute a course offered to meet the requirement by another department. Computing proficiency credits are not counted in the major's 32 hours or QPA, unless you are using GSWS 375 to fulfill the requirement.

All students must complete at least 32 credit hours distributed across four groups of courses as follows:

A) three "core" courses. Take 10 credits including:

  • GSWS 205, "Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies" (4 credits)
  • GSWS 405, "Feminist Theory" (3 credits)
  • Choose from the following 3 or 4 credit courses: Independent Study (GSWS 480, 1-3 credits each); Interdisciplinary Honors (GSWS 495, 496, 3 credits each); Internship (GSWS 498, 1-3 credits); Senior Seminar (GSWS 490 or other, 3 or 4 credits); GSWS 375 (4 credits, "Feminist Research Methods")

B) at least 9 credits in humanities courses

C) at least 9 credits in social science courses

D) approved electives

If you want to declare a GSWS major, find a GSWS adviser and in consultation with her/him, fill out two forms:  Declaration of GSWS Major (pdf) and Registrar's Declaration/Change of Major (pdf). These forms are also available in the GSWS office. Upon completion, they are filed with the adviser and with the Office of the Registrar in the basement of Blow Hall.