The expertise of the department lies in the interdisciplinary, multicultural, and transnational studies of gender inequality. Students are taught to draw from a range of theoretical and methodological approaches in their study of women and gender. Courses consider global structures of power and histories of racism in relation to local, national, and transnational feminist practices. The department provides analysis and debate of innovative work by feminists who confront and transform various institutions and arenas, including academia, politics, law, sexuality, advocacy, pedagogy, nonprofit groups, global nongovernmental organizations, communities, labor struggles, and cultural productions.
The goals of the department include the development of conceptual, analytic and critical thinking skills in relation to gender and feminism in a transnational framework; the ability to integrate academic studies in women and gender studies into personal and professional goals; the development of skills to formulate and implement theoretically-informed political, cultural, and community action; the ability to analyze gender from an interdisciplinary perspective, using a range of methodological tools; an historical understanding of gender in relation to structural inequality, social movements, migration flows, and labor struggles; and the ability to critically examine representation, politics, and cultural production through a feminist lens.
Students wishing to declare Women and Gender Studies as their major should make an appointment with one of the undergraduate advisers and fill out an advising form before the appointment.
Students majoring in Women and Gender Studies may enroll in WGS courses and courses focusing on women, gender and sexuality, in any other department. The choice of electives is flexible, and your advisor will assist you in devising a program appropriate to your own needs and interests. With the consent of your academic adviser, you may also use courses with a focus on women taken at other colleges and universities as part of the Women and Gender Studies major.
The major requires at least 39 units, no more than 9 of them lower division; 12 units must be chosen from required courses as follows:
- WGS 200: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
- WGS 300GW: Politics of Gender, Race and Nation
- WGS 690: Senior Seminar
- WGS 698: Internship
27 units of electives are required, of which 21 units must be taken within the department and 6 units may be taken outside the department.
WGS electives offer exciting interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to a wide variety of subject areas. These courses include Gender, Health and Environment; Gender, Poverty and Globalization; History of African American Women; Lesbian, Queer and Transgender Identity; Gender, Race and Sexuality in Popular Music; Gender and the Law; Gender, Globalization and Women’s Human Rights; Women Writers and the Politics of Decolonization; Women in the Muslim and Arab Worlds; Queer Literatures and Media; and many others.
Students may double-count a maximum of 12 units for both General Education and the Women and Gender Studies major. Some GE clusters focus on women or gender, and others include a course or courses on women as a component.
A maximum of 9 units within the major can be taken credit/no credit, but students are strongly urged to take all courses within the major for letter grades.