Program Requirements

The gender , women's, and sexuality studies minor is composed of 18 credit hours.

Minor Requirements
  • GWS 101 (3 credits)
  • 15 additional credits from core and affiliated courses
    • at least 6 of the 15 additional credits must come from core courses

Gender and Women's Studies Requirements Graphic

Sample Core Courses

Through readings, films, and class discussion, students engage in a critical examination of theories of gender and their social implications. By examining their own experiences as well as the ways in which they fit, or do not fit, into the patterns revealed through gender and women's studies scholars, students arrive at a better understanding of the relationship of women and men to the society at large.

Seminar focuses on women in antiquity. Reviews recent studies of archaeological investigations of women's social and cultural roles and focuses on selected case studies of women in the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean from late prehistory through Classical antiquity.

Through readings and class discussions, this course will examine our understanding of sex determination, reproduction, and the evolution of sex and gender in animals, including humans. We will explore the complexity of gender diversity among animals and the roles of genetics, development, anatomy, and physiology in defining sex, gender, and fertility. Subject matter will cover sex assigned at birth and gender identity, including intersex and transgender. We will also critically evaluate misconceptions regarding the use of biology in sociopolitical discussions of gender identity. Prerequisite: GWS 101 -or- BIOL 119 -or- BIOL 107.

Discusses theories of human sexuality, reproduction, and the construction of gender from the ancient through medieval west. Applies discussion to a literary case study: a medieval romance centering around a transgender character.

Examines the expanding involvement and the distinctive contributions of women in contemporary American politics as voters, candidates, and officeholders. Includes an overview of the first and second waves of feminist activism in American political history, as well as an exploration of selected public policy issues of particular concern to women.

This seminar is a survey of the major topics represented in the field of Gender, Psychology, and the Law. Throughout the class, students will learn how psychological research can be integrated with feminist/legal-feminist approaches to contribute to a better understanding of issues related to law or legal processes, how the legal system can be informed by the results of psychological research and feminist/legal-feminist perspectives, and how psychological-feminist/legal-feminist perspectives can be more reactive to legal issues. Topics include intersectionality, abortion rights, father’s rights, sexual harassment at school (Title IX) and work (Title VII), trans* discrimination, police interactions, child/human trafficking domestically and internationally, and adult and juvenile sex offenders. The work in the field is applicable to persons of all ages, both children and adults (which is why an intersectional approach is crucial to this study).

This course uses gender as a category of analysis to study religion. Topics vary and may include such things as the connection between religious notions of gender and larger social, political, and economic issues; representative interpretive traditions of religious texts and figures in literature and art; or constructions of gender in major world religions.

Designed to give an in-depth look at changing courtship, martial, and family patterns in America over the course of the last century. Studies the history and importance of the family as a social institution, and the different forms and configurations of the family found in modern America. Prerequisite: SOC 105 or SOC 230; or permission of instructor.

This course explores the social norms, values, and expectations that influence - and are influenced by - attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding gender and sexuality. The course examines the different and changing cultural understandings of gender roles and sexuality, and the social construction of both. Prerequisite: SOC 105 or SOC 230 and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.

Sample Affiliated Courses

Gender and sexuality are two key social identities that are connected to power, privilege, and opportunity. In this course students will be led by coaches to develop and lead diversity and inclusion training for companies and organizations. Students who successfully complete one semester will be eligible to provide diversity and inclusion training in a professional capacity for outside organizations under the leadership of the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Considers broad range effects of a social context on individual and group behavior. Examines interpersonal relations and actions, attitude developments and change, group dynamics, how we justify individual actions, advertising and news, prejudice and stereotyping, love and sex, leadership, and work environments as they relate to and affect behavior. Prerequisite: Psychology 121.

How do we tell the story of American literature in the 19th century? Is it—as F.O. Matthiessen contended in 1941—the story of a few misunderstood geniuses, their works largely rejected by the literary marketplace of their day only to be embraced by the more discerning readers and critics of the twentieth century? Rare is the English major who has not read The Scarlet Letter. Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Hawthorne, and Whitman: along with Dickinson and Poe (who also fit the narrative) and Twain (who does not), these names are the names we know. Indeed, the real rarity among students of American literature is the reader who has even heard of, much less read, Susan Warner's The Wide, Wide World. Published in 1850, just at the beginning of the five year period Matthiessen called “The American Renaissance,” Warner's novel was just the sort of book that provoked Hawthorne. Unabashedly sentimental, relentlessly Christian, bursting its margins with an endless array of domestic details, The Wide, Wide World was the most popular novel ever published in the United States—at least until Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Yet most of us in this class will not have heard of it. Why not? What has made this novel—and others which were both popular and critically well-received—seem to lose credibility over time? Do such novels merit consideration in the literary academy of today? It's a question we'll be asking throughout the semester. What do the novels by “scribbling women” have to tell us about the culture and experience of 19th century Americans? What do these novels suggest about core ideals (American, Christian, human) and compelling action? What do they say about the differing experiences of men and women? More fundamentally, what does our consideration of these novels suggest about our own literary values and assumptions?

Prerequisite: Complete one ENGL course or permission of instructor.

This course examines the power of stories to change minds, to offer a perspective not one’s own, and even to transform the reader or listener. We will especially consider how stories challenge accepted hierarchies among the sexes, classes, and cultures. All of the "classics" included on the syllabus are either authored by women or translated by women, so the course seeks to decenter the cannon from white and male authors only. It also discusses translation theory, including ideas about gender and translation.

Social justice is about the fair distribution in our society of resources, power, status, rights, access, and opportunities. But what is fair? This course explores different western theological and philosophical theories with respect to the right way to distribute these things and why. This course considers social justice theories in relation to issues of sex, gender, and sexuality. Furthermore, it includes theories intentionally from marginalized perspectives of these identities. We will apply these theories to contemporary issues of social injustice. We will also consider nonwestern ideas about social justice.

This course provides an introduction to the role of world religions in a wide range of liberation struggles and social justice movements from around the globe. Social Justice Movements examines the struggle for justice through the lens of social justice issues such as Civil Rights, LGBTQ Liberation, Criminal Justice/Mass Incarceration, Black Lives Matter, Immigration, Disability Rights, and Indigenous Rights/Water Protection. The course examines social justice movements that are focused on gender, sex, and sexuality. It also considers all movements intersectionally with attention to gender, sex, and sexuality.

Introduces the student to the psychological theory and research concerning stereotyping, prejudice, racism, and the effects of social stigma on self and society. Examines how stereotypes, prejudice, and racism are formed, maintained, and reduced. Analyzes prejudice toward different social groups, including those formed by racial and ethnic origins, the LGBT+ community, those on the gender spectrum, and overweight and physically different individuals. Prerequisite: one of the following courses: PSYC 229, 245, 246, SOC 235 or 344.

Examines the sociological impact of popular culture by exploring race, class, gender, sexuality, and family through the cultural lens of film, television, and music. Topics include the changing portrayals of race, class, gender, sexuality, and family across the last century in reflecting cultural values and ideals, and their reciprocal influence on culture and American identity. Prerequisite: SOC 105 or SOC 230; or permission of instructor.

Recommended for any student desiring a thorough introduction to gerontology. Examines the social response to aging in American society and in other countries. Emphasis on the roles of elders in the familial, religious, political, and economic institutions. Prerequisite: SOC 105 or SOC 230 and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.

Studies the sociology of United States and global minority and ethnic relations. Examines class, ethnic, gender, and racial stratification, and power and inequality. Analyzes patterns of ethnic integration and multiculturalism. Details the social and psychological dimensions of discrimination and prejudice, as well as racial and ethnic conflict and accommodation. Prerequisite: SOC 105 or SOC 230; or permission of instructor.

Connects cultural values with visual imagery representative of historical periods through a survey of fashion and clothing from the prehistoric to the modern eras. Emphasis is placed on period research and its importance in the artistic process. Period Styles is a general survey of “applied arts,” architecture, decorative arts, and THTR 364 specifically focuses on clothing. Emphasis will be placed on clothing with investigation of the cultural values and ideas that caused people to make particular choices concerning the decorative world around them. Clothing and body decoration serve as a form of social communication, and a way in which social norms are upheld (or pushed against) Throughout time (and across cultures) clothing has communicated status, group belonging, occupation, age, and gender. The study of clothing gives us a visual example of how the constructs of gender and belonging have evolved and changed across culture and time. Prerequisite: THTR 110 or 160 or GWS 101.