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Gender and Health Major Requirements

Students majoring in Gender and Health are encouraged to develop individualized programs of study in consultation with a department advisor. Major requirements ensure that students are exposed to a wide variety of disciplines important to the study of gender and health through a feminist lens. 

The Gender and Health major requires a total of 33 credits. 27 credits must be taken in gender and health courses, while the remaining 6 are to be taken in cognate courses that provide complementary skills but are housed in a different department. Women's and Gender Studies 220: Perspectives in Women's Health, is a prerequisite for the major. Students should consult the worksheet for major requirements when planning their program. 

Feminist Theory

All majors are required to take a course that introduces them to some of the major debates and intellectual conversations in the field of feminist theory. Gender and Health students can take either a general introduction to feminist theory or an introduction focused specifically on gender and health.

Students choose one of the following to fulfill this requirement: 

  • Women's and Gender Studies 330: Feminist Thought
  • Women's and Gender Studies 331: Feminist Theoretical Perspectives in Gender and Health


The practicum ensures that majors gain exposure to and participate in hands-on research or community service internships in which critical feminist approaches to gender and health are materially relevant.

Students choose one of the following to fulfull this requirement:

  • Women's and Gender  Studies 350: Nonprofit Management, Community Engagement, and Feminist Practice
  • Women's and Gender Studies 351: Leading Feminism
  • Women's and Gender Studies 384: Independent Research (by instructor and department advisor approval)
  • Women's and Gender Studies 404: Gender Based Violence: From Theory to Action

NOTE: Starting in Fall 2021, gender-related sections of Sociology 225 will no longer count for the practicum requirement.  Please contact a WGS advisor for details.

Thematic Areas

Students are required to take at least one course from each of the following four areas. Courses cannot be double counted to meet more than one area requirement.

Please consult the links to the right for information about which courses count towards each area. 

LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) and Sexuality Studies in Health

These courses focus on sexual minority health and the contributions of feminist scholarship and queer theory to the development of sexual identities, understandings of sexual health, and the experiences of LGBTQ people related to healthcare, health policies, and social justice movements. Courses also focus on the history of sexuality more generally. 

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies in Gender and Health

These courses will rely on a feminist perspective to examine how the intersections of gender, race, and ethnicity (and other salient categories of identity) impact health-related issues (e.g., conceptualizations of disease and well-being, social disparities in health and healthcare seeking, relations between healthcare providers and patients). They focus primarily on the United States.

Gender and Health in Bioscience

These courses provide students with knowledge about basic biological processes pertaining to healthy developmental periods, life transitions, or particular illnesses, in combination with critical feminist examinations about the process of conducting research in the biological sciences and the societal impact/applications of such work.

Gender and Health in Global, Transnational, or Historical Perspectives

In this thematic area, one set of courses offers a comparative cross-cultural perspective on health-related phenomena by relying upon feminist theories and global feminisms to place topics of study in a global, transnational context. Another set of courses provides students with the comparative vision promoted through in-depth understanding of the rich and complex historical background of many current health-related issues.


Electives include any gender and health course at the 200 level or above, to bring the total credits of classes to 27 (not including WGS 220 Perspectives in Women's Health and the cognates).

Gender, Culture, and Representation Requirement

One of the four thematic area courses or one of the elective courses must address “gender, culture and representation” on a health-related topic. These courses explore ways in which meanings about gender and health are produced through cultural images, artifacts, and performances.

Please consult the links to the right for information about which courses count towards this requirement. 

Cognate Requirements

 Two courses (for a total of six credits), neither in WOMENSTD nor cross-listed, are required. In order to compliment the interdisciplinary major in Gender and Health with training in a single discipline, students should take six cognate credits within the same department. Cognate courses should not be courses on gender and health but should provide supporting skills or contexts for the study of gender and health.

Cognate courses may be in a second major. Common cognate courses for gender and health majors are Public Health 200 and 300 or Chem 210 and 215 or courses in Sociology or Anthropology or English. Cognates are by Women’s Studies advisor approval and must be entered individually in the student's file. 

Please consult with a Women's and Gender  Studies advisor if you have questions about courses that will fulfill the cognate requirement. 

A Note Regarding LSA Distribution Requirements

If you have two majors, you may choose one of the majors to count for LSA distribution (HU, SS, ID credit).  If Gender and Health is your single major, you may not count any of those courses toward distribution.  Courses in a single major may count for University requirements (R&E and upper level writing). Questions? Email