Why Major in GWS?

As a Gender and Women's Studies major, students will receive a rigorously interdisciplinary education in the formation of gender in our philosophical, political, aesthetic, economic, social, and scientific worlds, and on gender as foundation for those worlds. Since gender is everywhere, acknowledged or not, GWS majors will be well-equipped to illustrate and investigate gender and other relations of power, such as sexuality, race, indigeneity, class, nationality, religion, and ability, as these form and inform discourses and practices in historical and contemporary arrangements.

GWS majors receive in-depth training in written and other forms of communication as well as skills in critical thinking, analytical research, and creative inquiryGWS courses draw upon history, philosophy, sociology, and literary criticism, among other disciplines, so that our majors learn to identify limitations and expand possibilities for how to study and speak about knowledges, communities, institutions, populations, movements, and cultures in our world. 

The courses and training GWS offers are transformative; and our students go on to transform themselves, others, and the world. While GWS majors are well prepared for advanced study in graduate or professional schools, they also bring their education to activities in media production, art-making, social work, public policy, victim advocacy, union organizing, community/sexual health services, counseling, public relations, and fields advocating civil rights and social justice.



1. Intellectual Reasoning And Knowledge

Students will acquire a level of proficiency in Gender and Women’s Studies, which can include but is not limited to broad and deep knowledge about feminist movements, intersectionality, queer and trans studies, imperialism and coloniality, and feminist and queer theories and methods across academic disciplines and fields. Students will learn that feminisms are both historical movements as well as bodies of critical inquiry, encompassing a wide range of actors and objects of study, including forms of information retrieval and knowledge production.

2. Critical Inquiry And Creative Literacy

Students will apply feminist and queer theories in developing their own capacities for critical inquiry and creative literacy. Students will also exercise their skills in oral and written communication, expressing new ideas in scholarly compositions and also generating multidisciplinary projects.

3. Social Awareness And Understanding Power

Student will recognize the gendered dimensions of social, philosophical, aesthetic, cultural, and political claims about national and global movements and events. Students will become familiar with feminist and queer theories and movements that consider together indigeneity, race, religion, nation, disability, gender, and sexuality to understand historical and contemporary formations of power.

4. Self-Reflexivity And Community Engagement

Students will demonstrate self-reflexivity about their ideas and social and political positions in their classrooms and communities, learning how to build and sustain relationships in striving for both immediate harm reduction and long-term social justice.

5. Global Consciousness

Students will understand how complex and interdependent forces –environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political— shape a range of possibilities and foreclosures for individuals and populations unevenly across the world, learning to apply indigenous, postcolonial, and transnational feminist and queer critiques to those forces.