Jul 20, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2012-13 
Undergraduate Catalog 2012-13 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Women’s Studies, BA

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The Women’s Studies Major provides an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the social and cultural constructions of gender that shape the experiences of women and men in society. The curriculum offers a solid foundation in women’s studies, facilitating graduate study and careers involving gender justice and preparing students for leadership roles in diverse workplaces and communities.

Through our partnership with the Jane Kopas Women’s Center as well as other community-based organizations and agencies, the women’s studies program offers students the opportunity to integrate theory and practice and develop leadership skills. The department works to create a learning community for students enrolled in its programs that integrates curricular and extra-curricular programming and encourages life-long learning and civic engagement.

While the degree offers students direct career paths to work in the non-profit, government, and private sectors for organizations that focus on women’s issues, the degree also aims to prepare students for a life of civic engagement and commitment to justice. Furthermore, the degree prepares students for graduate study in law, counseling, social work, and any field in the humanities or social sciences. Pre-medicine and allied health field students as well as business students find women’s studies to be helpful in preparing them to understand both their clients and their own lives as professionals.

As an inter- and multi-disciplinary field of study, women’s studies courses are drawn from departments across the University.  All courses available for women’s studies credit have been reviewed and approved by the Women’s Studies Program Steering Committee.  Women’s Studies courses focus on women’s experiences in history, society, and culture, and examine their reaction to such experiences;  examine institutional structures/modes of authority/analyses of power, especially considering their implications for women; and incorporate one or more feminist analyses/scholarly works (recognizing that there are multiple, and even conflicting feminist perspectives).

 For more informaton about the Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies (LA/W/S) department, visit its website.    

Major Requirements

A minimum of 10 courses (30 credits), distributed as follows is required for the Women’s Studies major:

1.  Foundational/Praxis courses (6 credits required)

These courses provide the foundation of women’s studies by introducing students to the complexity of feminisms, in both theory and practice, and discussing the relationship between the two. Students must take one course from group A AND one course from group B.


 /  OR  

2.  At least 1 course (3 credits) must be taken in each of the three areas listed below 

a.    Area A:  Historical Knowledges (material, cultural, social)

This area grounds students in the general field of women’s history.  In keeping with the contemporary scholarly focus on pluralistic “histories” rather than on the more reductive and globalizing notion of “history,”  this area’s approach will expose students to Western and non-Western, transnational, and transcultural histories and thus to diverse historical experiences of women. To this end, courses will not focus solely on American history, nor will they pertain exclusively to the academic field of history.  Rather, this multi-disciplinary area will allow students to investigate historical developments through multivalent approaches.  As a result, students will attain a more complex knowledge of the evolution of women’s histories as they examine the historical evolution of the concept of “woman” across national, social, cultural, and political boundaries.  Moreover, through courses featuring historical accounts of the emergence of international women’s movements and changing perspectives on gender, women, and feminist issues over time, students will gain an understanding of the richness and diversity of feminisms as well and of the historical roots of contemporary feminist concerns.

Listed courses:


b.    Area B:  Social and Behavioral Sciences:

Courses in the social and behavioral sciences will provide students with an understanding of the contemporary reality of women’s lives and gender relations and enable them to analyze the concept of gender critically.  Students will use institutional, structural, and behavioral analyses to assess gender relations and women’s status in various societies. Cross-cultural, global, and intersectional perspectives will connect gender inequality to other categories of oppression and allow students to comprehend the diversity of women’s experiences. Students in these courses will gain a critical understanding of how various research tools, including quantitative and qualitative methodologies, are used to study women and gender. Students will learn how feminism has informed both social research, and how social research has informed feminist theory.

Listed courses:


 c.    Area C:  Representations and Expressions (creative, literary, and visual arts)

Courses in the literary and visual arts demonstrate the various methods women have employed to achieve voice and visibility. Such efforts at representation lead to critical points about the attainment and negotiation of power and agency. These courses will also expose the reality of women’s lives and concerns, including their social and/or political views, issues of sexuality, and the relationship between the personal and the political. Analyzing multiple texts of women’s lives in such detail necessitates an examination of the cultural and/or global diversity of feminist perspectives and feminist political/social/cultural movements. Ultimately, students will emerge from these courses with an enhanced ability to express themselves critically on the subject of creative and culturally diverse texts that address women.   

Listed courses:


3.  Electives 

All unclassified courses and any additional area and praxis courses beyond those required count as electives.  Students must take 4 elective courses and a credit-based practicum or internship (see #4 below) OR 5 elective courses without an internship.  Students wishing to specialize or concentrate in a particular area (e.g., humanities or social/behavioral sciences) may focus the remainder of their courses in a given area or discipline.

Listed courses:


4.    Practicum or Internship

Students are strongly encouraged to complete a community-based internship related to their work in women’s studies and/or to volunteer or work at the Jane Kopas Women’s Center.

Listed courses:


5.    Theory intensive courses

Of the 10 courses necessary for completion of the major, students must take at least one theory intensive course beyond the foundational/praxis course.  Any approved area or elective Women’s Studies course may be flagged as theory-intensive, if it fits the WS criteria and has been approved for such designation by the Women’s Studies Program Steering Committee.  Such courses are designated by a (T).

Listed courses:



Women’s Studies Curriculum


Department and Number Description Title of Course Fall Cr. Spr. Cr.

First year

MAJOR WOMN 215 - (D) Feminism and Social Change  /SOC 315 - Feminism and Social Change  – WOMN Elective 3 3
COGNATE Cognate Elective   3
GE WRTG/SPCH WRTG 107 - Composition  - COMM 100 - Public Speaking  3 3
GE C/IL C/IL 102 - Computing and Information Literacy  3  
GE HUMN/GE S ENLT 140 - (CL) English Inquiry /S or Q 3 3
GE PHIL-T/RS PHIL 120 - Introduction to Philosophy  - PHIL 210 - Ethics  3 3
GE FSEM - PHED First Year Seminars 1 - Physical Education   1
    15 16

Second year

MAJOR PHIL 218 - (P,D) Feminism: Theory and Practice  or PHIL 231 - (P,D) Philosophy of Women  3  
GE NSCI NSCI Elective   3
MAJOR  WOMN Electives (AREA A and  B) 3 3
GE HUMN-S/BH GE Electives 3 3
GE PHIL -T/RS T/RS 121 - (P) Theology I: Introduction to the Bible  - T/RS 122 - (P) Theology II: Introduction to Christian Theology  3 3
GE QUAN -S/BH QUANT-S/BH Electives 3 3
GE PHED Physical Education 1 1
    16 16

Third year

MAJOR WOMN ELECT – theory intensive 3 3
COGNATE COGNATE ELECT – GOVT/Public Policy Elective 3 3
GE ELECT Electives 3 3
GE ELECT Electives 3  
GE ELECT Electives 3 6
18 18

Fourth year

MAJOR MAJOR Electives 3  
MAJOR WOMN 380-381 - Women’s Studies Internship    3
COGNATE HUMN-S/BH Electives 3 3
GE ELECT Electives 6 3
15 15

Total Credits: 129

1The selection of a First Year Seminar is likely to fulfill requirements both for the First Year Seminar and a General Education Requirement.  Thus, the First Year Seminar will not add to the total credits for the semester.  Talk with your advisor if you have any questions.


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