Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies


Distinguished Professor Emerita
Edna Acosta-Belén, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow, O'Leary Professor)
Columbia University       

Professors Emeritae
Judith E. Barlow, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
University of Pennsylvania
Iris Berger, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow, O'Leary Professor)
University of Wisconsin
Roberta M. Bernstein, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
Columbia University
Christine E. Bose, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
John Hopkins University
Francine W. Frank, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
University of Illinois
June Hahner, Ph.D.
Cornell University
Judith E. Johnson, B.A.
Barnard College

Distinguished Service Professor Emerita
Glenna Spitze, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
University of Illinois

Sarah R. Cohen, Ph.D. (Joint Faculty)
Yale University
Janell Hobson, Ph.D. (Core Faculty, Collins Fellow)
Emory University
Lani V. Jones, Ph.D. (Joint Faculty)
Boston College
Julie Novkov, Ph.D. (Joint Faculty, Collins Fellow)
University of Michigan
Barbara Sutton, Ph.D. (Core Faculty)
University of Oregon

Associate Professors Emeritae
Vivien W. Ng, Ph.D.
University of Hawaii
Bonnie Spanier, Ph.D.
Harvard University

Associate Professors       
Rajani Bhatia, Ph.D. (Core Faculty)
University of Maryland
Joanne M. Kaufman, Ph.D. (Joint Faculty)
Emory University
Nancy Newman, Ph.D. (Joint Faculty)
Brown University

Assistant Professor
Kyra Gaunt (Joint Faculty)
University of Michigan

Associate Librarian
Deborah LaFond, M.L.I.S.
University of California, Berkeley

Affiliated Faculty (estimated): 26
Graduate Assistants: 2

The major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies encourages students to reexamine their own lives and the world around them in relation to gender, race, class, and sexuality. The curriculum reflects new subjects, theories, and methodologies based on a cross-cultural, multidisciplinary approach to the study of women, gender and sexuality. In the creation of new knowledge, the field provides a critique of social, cultural, and institutional structures that include the traditional disciplines. Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies sees itself as connected to the social and political environment outside the university. Opportunities are available for internships, independent study, and innovative teaching for undergraduates. Students may take a major or minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies or may enroll in individual courses in the department. They may also take a minor in LGBTQ Studies.

Coursework in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies prepares students for graduate and professional training in a variety of fields. Like other B.A. graduates, majors may enroll in professional study at the graduate level in law, social welfare, education, public administration, and health care; they also find employment and continue on-the-job training in business, social services, public affairs, publishing, and private nonprofit organizations. Experience in critical thinking and writing and intensive reflection concerning issues of diversity and multiculturalism prepare graduates with qualities that employers actively seek. Some graduates find employment with community agencies (women’s centers, counseling centers, battered women’s shelters, rape crisis centers, women’s health centers, women’s vocational agencies), in affirmative action and diversity education (in schools, government agencies, and business), and with campus-based women’s programs.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

General Program B.A.: A minimum of 36 credits in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies courses including:

Required core courses (15 credits)
a. Gateway: A WSS 100 Women Creating Change (3)
b. Intersections: A WSS 240 Classism, Racism, and Sexism: Issues (3)
c. Theory: A WSS 360 Feminist Social and Political Thought (3); or A WSS 465 Topics
in Feminist Theory (3)
d. Research Methods: A WSS 490Z Research Seminar in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies (3)
e. Internship: A WSS 492Y Internship in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; or A WSS 322Y Feminist Pedagogy in Practice (3)

Electives (21 credits)
A total of 21 additional credits in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies courses, 9 credits of which must be at or above the 300 level.

Honors Program 

Students may file an application for admission to the honors program in the department office in the second semester of the sophomore year or in the junior year. Junior transfers may apply at the time of their admission to the University.

The minimum requirements for admission include completion of at least 12 credits of course work applicable to the major, a minimum overall grade point average of 3.25, and a minimum 3.50 grade point average for all courses applicable toward the major.

Students in the program are required to complete all of the requirements for the major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. As part of their elective credits for the major, students must also complete 3 credits of intensive work culminating in an independent research or creative honors project.

Typically the project begins as a paper the student writes for an upper-division Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies course no later than spring of the junior year. During the senior year, honors students fulfill the requirements for the honors program by enrolling in A WSS 495 Honors Project during the fall semester concurrently with A WSS 490Z, Research Seminar in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Alternatively, students who have been admitted into the honors program during their sophomore year may enroll in A WSS 490Z in the fall semester of their junior year in preparation for completion of the honors sequence during the subsequent two semesters.

Students in the honors program are required to maintain overall grade point averages of 3.25 or higher during the junior and senior years and overall grade point averages of 3.50 or higher for all courses applicable toward the major. Students not meeting the above standards may be unable to complete the honors program.

After completion of the above requirements, the records of the candidate will be reviewed by the department, which will recommend candidates for the degree with honors in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Combined Bachelor's/Master's in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

The combined B.A./M.A. program provides an opportunity for students with outstanding academic abilities to receive both a B.A. and an M.A. degree in five years (ten semesters).

The combined program demands a minimum of 142 credits, of which 32 must be graduate credits. Students must fulfill all university, college, and department requirements for both the undergraduate major and the M.A. in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Students accepted into the combined B.A./M.A. program apply up to 10 credits of graduate work toward both their undergraduate and graduate degree requirements. Students take two 4-credit graduate courses in addition to A WSS 510 (2 credits), “Advanced Feminist Pedagogy and Theory,” to fulfill this requirement.

Undergraduate students who have completed a minimum of 60 credits with a GPA of 3.20 or above are eligible to apply. Students submit applications for the B.A./M.A. program in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Students will be admitted upon the recommendation of the department’s Graduate Admissions Committee, whose decision will be based on the student’s grade point average, statement of purpose, writing sample, and supportive letters of recommendation from faculty.