"When I came to college I was definite that I wanted to study environmental science, but I decided to take WS 240 Introduction to Women's Studies my freshman year and instantly got hooked. Since then I've had the opportunity to engage in some incredible class discussions with like minded students that have opened my intellectual horizons tremendously. I am graduating now with a passion for women's rights, specifically with issues regarding violence against women, and I cannot imagine that I would have ever discovered this path without the Women's Studies department. The past four years have taught me how to engage thoughtfully with diverse groups, use my interdisciplinary education in the professional world, and most importantly, how to navigate this world as a young woman of color." Women's Studies alum.
Women’s Studies is the interdisciplinary study of the systems of gender, politics, and representation that shape the lives of women and men. Women’s Studies asks: How does being a woman affect one’s participation in the family, economy, politics, art, and literature? How do language, belief and visual representation convey meaning about women’s and men’s status in society? How has that status changed historically? How does the experience of women vary by class, race, nationality, and sexual orientation? Questions like these motivate interdiciplinary scholarship that puts gender at the center of analysis.
Women’s Studies faculty work in a wide range of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Our faculty have connections to many programs, departments, and schools, including American Culture, Anthropology, Art and Design, Comparative Literature, English, History, History of Art, Law, Linguistics, Medicine, Music, Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Romance Languages and Literature, Social Work, and Sociology.
The interdisciplinary nature of Women’s Studies requires students to develop a wide range of skills, including critical thinking, research, writing, argumentation, organizing, and group facilitation. Many Women’s Studies concentrators choose double-majors, studying such fields as Biology, Political Science, Psychology, English, History, Sociology, Anthropology, Asian Studies, French, Spanish, Drama, History of Art, Communications, Nursing, and Organizational Studies. See examples of where Women’s Studies graduates work after graduation.
Graduates of the joint PhD programs are in faculty positions as close as Michigan State University in Lansing and Wayne State University in Detroit, and as far away as the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal in South Africa. Others are at Yale University, Minnesota State University, and Smith College. While most have positions in their disciplinary departments, our graduates are also in Women’s Studies departments.
Not everyone goes on to faculty positions. We are represented at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Veteran’s Administration, and the Virginia Treatment Center in Richmond, VA.
You can see a listing of our alumni and their current jobs on the Graduate Student Placement page of this website.