Introduction

Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is an academic department that fosters innovative teaching and cutting-edge research by focusing on how relations of gender, intersecting with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, nation and other differences, affect every aspect of society. With a core faculty of three professors and more than fifteen contributing faculty, our department is truly interdisciplinary in its scope, breadth and depth. We offer courses that explore women’s and men’s historical lives and contemporary experiences around the world, cross-cultural analyses of gender, gendered economies around the world, women’s and men’s roles in religion, same-sex sexualities, and theories of gender, sexualities and intersectionality.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

WGSS 100, Intro to Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
WGSS 101-01, Disorderly Women
WGSS 101-03, Southern Women Writers
WGSS 101-04, LGBTQ Literature in the US
WGSS 135, Psychology of Women and Gender
WGSS 202-01, Gender and Africa
WGSS 202-04, Political Economy of Gender
WGSS 202-07, Gender and Sexuality in Modern South Asia
WGSS 220, History of American Feminism
And other 100- and 200-level WGSS topics courses

All WGSS majors take ten courses and must successfully complete a transcript notation internship.

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Social Sciences (Division II):
WGSS 100, Introduction to Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
WGSS 101, Disorderly Women
WGSS 135, Psychology of Women and Gender
WGSS 202, Gender and Africa
WGSS 202, The Personal is Political: Gender, Politics, and Policy in the US
WGSS 202, Advocacy Organizations, Social Movements, and the Politics of Identity
WGSS 202, Political Economy of Gender
WGSS 202, The Sociology of Law and Public Policy
WGSS 202, Sociology of Gender
WGSS 220, HIstory of American Feminism
WGSS 301, Gay American Histories
WGSS 302, Gender and Development

Humanities Division Ia:
WGSS 201, Formations of German Identities: Class, Race, and Gender
WGSS 202, The Sociology of Law and Public Policy
WGSS 202, Sociology of Gender

Humanities Division Ib:
WGSS 101, Southern Women Writers
WGSS 101, LGBTQ Literature in the US
WGSS 101, Jane Austen in Her Time

U.S. Diversity:
WGSS 100, Introduction to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
WGSS 101, Disorderly Conduct
WGSS 101, Southern Women Writers
WGSS 101, LGBTQ Literature in the US
WGSS 135, Psychology of Women and Gender
WGSS 202, The Personal is Political: Gender, Politics, and Policy in the US
WGSS 202, Advocacy Organizations, Social Movements, and the Politics of Identity
WGSS 202, Political Economy of Gender
WGSS 202, The Sociology of Law and Public Policy
WGSS 202, Sociology of Gender
WGSS 220, History of American Feminism
WGSS 301, Gay American Histories

Writing in the Discipline (WID):
WGSS 200, Feminist Practices, Writing and Research 

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The WGSS Department encourages study abroad. Early planning makes this possible. The internship may be done while abroad.

The guidelines are written for the entering student who knows he or she wants to major in WGSS. Rather than specify the courses that you “must” have in a given semester, the following are general guidelines regarding courses that we suggest you take during each year. You should think of these guidelines as giving you a fast track into the major – this provides maximum flexibility in your junior and senior year.

First and Sophomore Years
WGSS 100
WGST 200
Two or three electives from among the four thematic categories

Junior Year
WGSS 300
One or two electives from among the four thematic categories, including at least at the 300- or 400-level
Possible internship
Possible study abroad

Senior Year
WGSS 400 (spring semester)
Internship and/or elective(s) as needed

Honors

A student pursuing honors must enroll for a one semester, Independent Research  (WGSS 550) during the Fall of their senior year to develop a project that will be continued in their Senior Seminar. The year-long project will culminate in a well-researched, sophisticated, and clearly written thesis, typically ranging from 50-75 pages.

Students can self-nominate, but will be officially selected based on the department faculty’s assessment of the student’s academic ability, including their performance in the major. Typically, students pursuing honors will have at least a 3.5 GPA in the major. The selection is also based on the department faculty’s assessment of the student’s potential for successfully completing the project and the strength of the proposal (see below), which must show strong promise for further development toward a thesis. If the project is accepted, the student should identify an honors committee comprised of three faculty members, including the WGSS 550 advisor and Senior Seminar instructor. Two members of the honors committee must be faculty appointed in WGSS; the third member of the honors committee must be either a faculty member in the department or a WGSS affiliate.  In addition, faculty or staff with expertise in the area of the student's project may join the committee in an advisory capacity, without vote.

A student interested in pursuing honors should work with their WGSS advisor or another appropriate WGSS faculty member to start developing a 2-page project proposal with an attached bibliography in the late spring or early summer before their senior year. A final draft that defines the scope, focus and methodology of the preliminary project is due no later than August 15th at the start of the senior year. The 2-page proposal should articulate the project’s central research questions and methods, situating them in relationship to central debates, concepts and dilemmas within the WGSS field.

The student will be notified by the first day of classes in the Fall semester whether the proposal has been accepted. If so, the student will enroll in WGSS 550 with the primary advisor with the intention of beginning a year-long research project. If the proposal is not accepted for honors, the student may still seek to enroll in WGSS 550 with the intention of a single-semester independent study.  

If accepted, the student will work with their supervisor to refine the project’s scope and methods, as well as develop a schedule of readings, research and writing to pursue in the Fall. Pertinent writing assignments potentially may include an annotated bibliography and literature review: the exact parameters will be determined on an individual basis. By the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving break, the student should have completed a 20-25 page draft of a significant portion of their thesis and have revised their 2-page proposal to reflect the intended trajectory of the project in the Spring semester. The proposal should outline the project’s central research questions and methods, situating them in relationship to central debates, concepts and dilemmas within the WGSS field (if these have changed since the proposal was written) and the student’s writing goals during the Spring Seminar. 

Prior to the final week of classes, the departmental faculty will assess the revised proposal and 20-25 page draft to determine if the project is eligible for continuation as a possible honors thesis during the spring Senior Seminar (WGSS 400). The student will be notified by the end of the Fall semester whether the project is approved to continue in pursuit of honors.  If the project is not approved, or if the student chooses to discontinue the project after submitting the 20-25-page paper, the student will receive credit and a grade for the independent study. In consultation with their supervisor, the student will revise the paper so that it is a complete, stand-alone research paper. The final paper will be due during finals week.

If the project is approved, the student will continue the research as part of the Senior Seminar. The Senior Seminar requires all students to complete a 25-page research project. Students pursuing an honors thesis will work in tandem with their Fall independent study advisor and the WGSS 400 instructor to adapt this and other course writing requirements and deadlines to their honors-eligible project. Students are expected to complete all assigned WGSS 400 readings as well as additional relevant projects and smaller papers (except when those smaller papers are related to the individual research projects). 

The honors thesis must be completed by two weeks prior to the last class day in the Spring semester of the senior year, so that the student and honors committee members have time to prepare for an oral defense. Only the best projects will be granted honors and completing an honors project does not necessarily mean that honors will be conferred. However, any student who completes the project will receive credit and a grade for the Senior Seminar. 

If a student is pursuing honors in two majors through an interdisciplinary thesis, the project must be of a significant length and scope to qualify for honors in two departments. The specific criteria must be established and mutually agreed upon by the student and the advisors of both departments.

Internships

All students must successfully complete an internship for transcript notation approved by the department chair and the internship office.