Skip to Content

Women's Studies Major Requirements

Major Program. 33 credits (including six credits of cognates, which can be a second major).  Only two of the courses (in addition to the prereq., WS 240) may be at the 200 level. WS courses must reach 27 credits.


1.  WS 330 Feminist Thought

2.  Practice course chosen from:
WS 331 Advanced Gender and the Law (WS 270 Gender and the Law is the prereq.)
WS 350 Nonprofit Management, Community Engagement & Feminist Practice
WS 351 Leading Feminism
WS 404 Gender Based Violence: From Theory to Practice
WS 425 Feminist Practice of Oral History
Soc 225 Project Community. gender related sections, listed on the WS course chart each term
Research course related to gender and sexuality, by WS advisor approval.

3.  WS 440 Senior Capstone (offered winter term only for students with senior status.)

4.  Courses from Thematic Areas
At least one course from each of the following four areas must be taken. Only one course may count in two areas. If such a course is double-counted, an additional elective must be chosen to reach the required 27 credits of Womenstd classes.

LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) and Sexuality Studies
offers an interdisciplinary approach to sexuality that includes topics such as religious beliefs, legal codes, medical constructions, and social movements, and recognizes them as historically variable and culturally specific. With the contributions of empirical research, feminist scholarship, and queer theory, courses in this area acquaint students with the history of sexuality and understanding the formation of sexual identities and sexuality

Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
examines the intersection of gender, race, and ethnicity in order to consider differences among women and men, as well as the impact of multiple categories of identity on experience and on the formation and contestation of gender itself. Interracial and interethnic relations, the mutual influence of social movements, and racialized genders are also explored. Although the U.S. is the primary focus, consideration of various diasporas encourages analysis of the links between communities across national borders.

Gender, Culture, and Representation
explores ways in which meanings about women and gender are produced through cultural images, artifacts, and performances. It positions students as readers, viewers, and interpreters of culture, as well as creators of it, especially in the domains of literature, the visual and performing arts, mass media (including film), and their histories. Courses introduce students to feminist analyses of culture and encourage them to consider processes of viewing, writing, and producing knowledge.

Gender in a Global Context
offers a comparative cross-cultural perspective on the construction and meaning of gender, race, class, and sexuality. It examines current forces of globalization and empire, the histories of imperialism and colonialism, and postcolonial resistance and theory. Courses decenter the U.S. while placing it in a geopolitical context, including global feminisms.


Electives include any WS course at the 200 level or above to bring the total credits of WS classes to 27.

Cognate Requirements

Two courses at the 300 or 400 level, neither in Women’s Studies nor cross-listed, are required. Chemistry 210 and 215 may also be counted as cognates. In order to ensure that the interdisciplinary Women’s Studies major is complemented by training in a single discipline, these courses will normally be in the same department. Cognate courses should not be courses on women but should provide supporting skills or contexts for the study of women. (Cognate courses may be in a second major.)

What to do if you are interested in the Women's Studies major

Students interested in declaring or learning more about the Women's Studies major (as well as the Gender & Health major or any of the minors), must first attend an Information Session, held throughout the term in Lane Hall. You will be able to declare at the Information Session.

Information Sessions are held on the following dates: Wed. Jan. 24, 4:30-5:15pm, Monday, Feb. 19, 3:15-4:00pm, Wed. March 14, 4:30-5:15pm, and Monday, April 2, 3:15-4:00pm. Sign up for an information session on the advising calendar.

WALK-IN ADVISING is held on Tuesdays, 1:30-4:30pm in 1122 Lane Hall, 204 S. State St.

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 Women's Studies is your single major, you may not count any of those courses toward distribution. However the upper level writing requirement may be done in a single major. Courses in a single major may count for University requirements (R&E and upper level writing). Questions?  Email

Worksheet for major requirements