Women and Gender Studies

The interdisciplinary women and gender studies undergraduate major and minor offer students a rigorous but flexible program of study that examines women, gender, and sexuality in relation to race, class, national identity, and ability. (A Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies is also offered, see below.) Students explore the ways that gender and sexuality work in diverse communities and in different cultural and historical contexts. Areas of inquiry include but are not limited to: gender/sex systems across cultures and historical periods; gender, sexuality, and culture; legal and public policy issues around gender and sexuality; women's participation in social and cultural production; transnational feminisms; feminist theory and its relation to different philosophical and epistemological traditions; sexual identity politics and histories; and queer theory. Drawing from approximately 50 courses, many cross-listed with other academic units, students fulfill the requirements of the major or minor and can design an emphasis relevant to their special interests by focusing on one of three cognate areas: gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, or global/transnational. The program houses a reading library and organizes colloquia, workshops, and other cultural and educational events.

Students have gone on to careers in fields such as law, medicine, government, public health, public policy, social work, teaching, counseling, advocacy, media, public relations, education, politics, fundraising, small business development, librarianship, and arts administration.

The undergraduate degree and the minor in women and gender studies will provide students with an in-depth understanding of:

  • the historical and cross-cultural variability of social norms of masculinity and femininity
  • the ways in which gender/sex systems intersect with other axes of domination, such as class, race, ethnicity, ability, and national identity
  • the centrality of gender and sexuality to politics, economics, social relations, and culture at the local, national, and international level
  • the diversity of global feminism
  • how gender roles and expectations play out in the global economy
  • how power and privilege function at the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, class, ability, and national identity
  • how women participate in, contribute to, and transform areas of social life including politics, economics, social relations, culture, and religion
  • institutionalized discrimination and violence against women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals
  • women’s activism and resistance to oppression
  • the varied research methods and theoretical perspectives used in women, gender, and sexuality studies, including the relationship between theory and practice
  • the history of women, gender, and sexuality studies as an academic discipline and the main themes that have characterized its emergence

In addition, students with degrees in women and gender studies will be able to:

  • communicate complex ideas related to women and gender studies to academic and general audiences
  • employ creative problem solving techniques, especially with regard to research and analysis of the issues noted in the previous section
  • organize and synthesize material in new ways, especially with regard to research and analysis of the issues noted in the previous section
  • read, critically evaluate, and synthesize women and gender studies scholarship
  • work collaboratively with colleagues and the general public, especially with regard to the issues noted in the previous section

For more information, visit wgst.colorado.edu.

Course code for this program is WMST.

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Bachelor’s Degree in Women and Gender Studies

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below.  

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours with grades of C- or better in approved women and gender studies courses, a minimum of 24 credits of which must be upper division (3000 or 4000 level).

Required Courses—12 semester credit hours

  • WMST 2000 Introduction to Feminist Studies—3
  • WMST 2600 Gender, Race, and Class in a Global Context—3
  • WMST 3100 Feminist Theories—3
  • WMST 4800 Senior Colloquium in Feminist Studies (Note 1)—3

Course Note

1. This course is ONLY offered in spring semesters. Students graduating in the fall should take this course in the prior spring semester.

Lower-division Elective Courses

(no more than 6 additional credit hours at the 1000–2000 levels)

Students may choose from any of the lower-division courses listed below, or courses approved by the women and gender studies advisor and the department, that are not applied to courses listed either above or below.

  • LING 2400 Language and Gender—3
  • LGBT/ENGL 2707 Introduction to Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Literature—3
  • WMST/SOCY 1006 Social Construction of Sexuality or WMST/SOCY 1016 Sex, Gender, and Society 1—3
  • WMST/ENGL 1260 Introduction to Women’s Literature—3
  • WMST 2020 Feminities, Masculinities, Alternatives—3
  • WMST 2030/LGBT 2000 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies—3
  • WMST 2050 Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Culture—3
  • WMST 2200 Women, Literature, and the Arts—3
  • WMST 2400/HIST 2636 Women of Color and Activism—3
  • WMST/PSYC 2700 Psychology of Contemporary American Women—3

Upper-division Courses 

(at least 18 credit hours; total credits hours must come to 36)

Students must take at least one course from each of the following cognate areas: gender/sexuality; race/ethnicity; global/transnational. For the remaining 9 credits, students may take additional courses from these three categories and/or the upper-division electives list. Consult the women and gender studies advisor or the department for additional choices.

Gender/Sexuality (at least 3 credits)

  • LGBT 3796 Queer Theory—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3046 Topics in Sex and Gender—3
  • WMST 3300/PSCI 3301 Gender, Sexuality, and U.S. Law—3
  • WMST 4010/SOCY 4000 Gender, Genocide, and Mass Trauma—3
  • WMST/SOCY 4016 Sex, Gender, and Society 2—3
  • WMST/LGBT 4287 Studies in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Literature—3 
  • WMST/HIST 4636 Lesbian and Gay History—3
  • WRTG 3020 Topics in Writing: Gender and Sexuality—3

Race/Ethnicity (at least 3 credits)

  • ETHN 3026 Women of Color: Chicanas in U.S. Society—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3044 Race, Class, Gender, and Crime—3
  • WMST 3135/ETHN 3136 Chicana Feminisms and Knowledges—3
  • WMST 3210/ETHN 3213 American Indian Women—3
  • WMST/PSCI 3311 Gender and U.S. Politics—3
  • WMST 3505/ETHN 3502 Historical and Contemporary Issues of African American Women—3 
  • WMST 3600 Latinas: History, Culture, and Social Activism—3
  • WMST/JOUR 4331 Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality in Popular Culture—3
  • WMST/HIST 4619 Women in Asian History—3

Global/Transnational (at least 3 credits)

  • WMST/SOCY 3012 Women and Development—3
  • WMST 3220 Women in Islam—3
  • WMST 3500 Global Gender Issues—3
  • WMST 3650/PSCI 3052 Women and Politics in Latin America—3
  • WMST 3670 Immigrant Women in the Global Economy—3
  • WMST/GEOG 3672 Gender and Global Economy—3
  • WMST 3730 Third World Women and the Politics of International Development—3
  • WMST 4300 Sex, Power, Politics: International Perspectives—3
  • WMST/GRMN 4301 Gender, Race, and Immigration in Germany and Europe—3
  • WMST 4500 Gender Politics and Global Activism—3

Upper-division Electives

  • ARTH 3209 Art, Culture, and Gender Diversity: 1400–1600—3
  • ENGL 3217 Topics in Gender Studies—3
  • FILM 3013 Women and Film—3
  • HIST 3016 Seminar in the History of Gender and Science—3
  • ITAL 4730 Italian Feminisms: Culture, Theory, and Narratives of Difference—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3016 Marriage and the Family in the United States—3
  • WMST 3020 Methods of Inquiry in Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality—3
  • WMST 3090 Critical Thinking in Feminist Studies—3
  • WMST/PHIL 3110 Feminist Practical Ethics—3
  • WMST/JWST 3200 Religion and Feminist Thought—3
  • WMST/ENGL 3267 Women Writers—3
  • WMST/INVS 3302 Facilitating Peaceful Community Change—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3314 Violence against Women and Girls—3
  • WMST/GRMN 3601 German Women Writers—3
  • WMST 3800 Advanced Writing in Feminist Studies—3
  • WMST/THTR 4041 Women and Theatre of the 20th and 21st Centuries—3
  • WMST/HIST 4063 Women in Victorian England—3
  • WMST/THTR 4073 Performing Voices of Women—3
  • WMST/SOCY 4086 Family and Society—3
  • WMST/ENGL 4277 Topics in Women’s Literature—3
  • WMST/RUSS 4471 Women in 20th Century Russian Culture—3
  • WMST/HIST 4616 History of Women in the U.S. to 1890—3
  • WMST/HIST 4626 History of Women in the U.S. since 1890—3

Honors

Students may take up to 6 credits of honors hours in WMST; credits apply to upper-division electives in the major.

  • WMST 4950 Honors Research—3
  • WMST 4999 Senior Honors Thesis—1-3

Internship

Students may take up to 6 credits of internship hours in WMST; credits apply to upper-division electives in the major.

  • WMST 3930 Women and Gender Studies Internship—1-6 

Special Topics

Students may take up to 6 credit hours in WMST topics courses; course topics vary each semester. Ask the women and gender studies advisor or department about how each course applies to major cognates.

  • WMST 3700 Topics in U.S. Gender and Sexuality Studies—3
  • WMST 3710 Topics in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies—3
  • WMST 4000 Advanced Topics in Gender and Sexuality Studies—3

Graduating in Four Years

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for more information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in women and gender studies, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Declare major by the beginning of the second semester.
  • Complete WMST 2000 and WMST 2600 and 9 additional credit hours of major requirements by the end of the fourth semester.
  • Complete WMST 3100 and 27 additional credit hours of major requirements by the end of the sixth semester.
  • Complete WMST 4800 and one additional 3-credit course of the major requirements by the end of the eighth semester.

Minor Program

A minor program in women and gender studies is offered. Declaration of a minor is open to any student enrolled at CU-Boulder, regardless of college or school.

Students must complete a minimum of 21 approved WMST credit hours with a grade of C- or better, 12 credits of which must be upper-division (3000 or 4000 level).

Required Courses and Semester Credit

Required (9 credit hours)

  • WMST 2000 Introduction to Feminist Studies—3   
  • WMST 2600 Gender, Race, and Class in a Global Context—3 
  • WMST 3100 Feminist Theories—3   

Electives (12 credits)

Students must take at least two courses (6 credits) from two of the three following cognate areas: gender/sexuality; race/ethnicity; global/transnational. Three of the remaining 6 credits can be any upper-division approved WMST course (those listed under cognate areas or upper-division electives), and 3 can be either a lower or upper-division approved WMST course. Internships and independent study credits may apply, as well as special topics courses (WMST 3700, 3710, and 4000); see advisor or department for more information.

Cognate Areas (6 credit hours from two areas)

Gender/Sexuality

  • LGBT 3796 Queer Theory—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3046 Topics in Sex and Gender—3
  • WMST 3300/PSCI 3301 Gender, Sexuality, and U.S. Law—3
  • WMST 4010/SOCY 4000 Gender, Genocide, and Mass Trauma—3
  • WMST/SOCY 4016 Sex, Gender, and Society 2—3
  • WMST/LGBT 4287 Studies in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Literature—3
  • WMST/HIST 4636 Lesbian and Gay History—3
  • WRTG 3020 Topics in Writing: Gender and Sexuality—3

Race/Ethnicity

  • ETHN 3026 Women of Color: Chicanas in U.S. Society—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3044 Race, Class, Gender, and Crime—3           
  • WMST 3135/ETHN 3136 Chicana Feminisms and Knowledges—3
  • WMST 3210/ETHN 3213 American Indian Women—3
  • WMST/PSCI 3311 Gender and U.S. Politics—3
  • WMST 3505/ETHN 3502 Historical and Contemporary Issues of African American Women—3
  • WMST 3600 Latinas: History, Culture, and Social Activism—3
  • WMST/JOUR 4331 Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality in Popular Culture—3
  • WMST/HIST 4619 Women in Asian History—3

Global/Transnational

  • WMST/SOCY 3012 Women and Development—3
  • WMST 3220 Women in Islam—3
  • WMST 3500 Global Gender Issues—3           
  • WMST 3650/PSCI 3052 Women and Politics in Latin America—3
  • WMST 3670 Immigrant Women in the Global Economy—3
  • WMST/GEOG 3672 Gender and Global Economy—3
  • WMST 3730 Third World Women and the Politics of International Development—3
  • WMST 4300 Sex, Power, Politics: International Perspectives—3
  • WMST/GRMN 4301 Gender, Race, and Immigration in Germany and Europe—3
  • WMST 4500 Gender Politics and Global Activism—3

Lower-division Electives

  • LING 2400 Language and Gender—3
  • LGBT/ENGL 2707 Introduction to Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Literature—3
  • WMST/SOCY 1006 Social Construction of Sexuality or WMST/SOCY 1016 Sex, Gender, and Society 1—3
  • WMST/ENGL 1260 Introduction to Women’s Literature—3
  • WMST 2020 Femininities, Masculinities, Alternatives—3
  • WMST 2030/LGBT 2000 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies—3
  • WMST 2050 Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Culture—3
  • WMST 2200 Women, Literature, and the Arts—3
  • WMST 2400/HIST 2636 Women of Color and Activism—3
  • WMST/PSYC 2700 Psychology of Contemporary American Women—3

Upper-division Electives

  • ARTH 3209 Art, Culture, and Gender Diversity: 1400–1600—3
  • ENGL 3217 Topics in Gender Studies—3
  • FILM 3013 Women and Film—3
  • HIST 3016 Seminar in the History of Gender and Science—3
  • ITAL 4730 Italian Feminisms: Culture, Theory, and Narratives of Difference—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3016 Marriage and the Family in the United States—3
  • WMST 3020 Methods of Inquiry in Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality—3
  • WMST 3090 Critical Thinking in Feminist Studies—3
  • WMST/PHIL 3110 Feminist Practical Ethics—3
  • WMST/JWST 3200 Religion and Feminist Thought—3
  • WMST/ENGL 3267 Women Writers—3
  • WMST/INVS 3302 Facilitating Peaceful Community Change—3
  • WMST/SOCY 3314 Violence against Women and Girls—3
  • WMST/GRMN 3601 German Women Writers—3
  • WMST 3800 Advanced Writing in Feminist Studies—3
  • WMST/THTR 4041 Women and Theatre of the 20th and 21st Centuries—3
  • WMST/HIST 4063 Women in Victorian England—3
  • WMST/THTR 4073 Performing Voices of Women—3
  • WMST/SOCY 4086 Family and Society—3
  • WMST/ENGL 4277 Topics in Women’s Literature—3
  • WMST/RUSS 4471 Women in 20th Century Russian Culture—3
  • WMST/HIST 4616 History of Women in the U.S. to 1890—3
  • WMST/HIST 4626 History of Women in the U.S. since 1890—3

Certificate Program

Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies offers CU graduate students a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary education in gender and sexuality studies. It provides a thorough grounding in feminist theory and methodology, as well as the opportunity to explore a range of topics in gender and sexuality studies. Designed to help graduate students from a wide range of different CU departments and programs navigate the conceptual gap between discipline-specific studies and interdisciplinary work in gender and sexuality studies. This certificate has proven especially useful to graduate students seeking to demonstrate their expertise in gender and sexuality studies to prospective employers in academia, government, and the private sector.

Students wishing to take part in the women and gender studies certificate program must be currently enrolled in a graduate disciplinary degree or professional degree program at CU-Boulder. Requirements for the certificate are 9 credit hours of course work in women and gender studies and one additional course equaling 3 credit hours to be approved by the women and gender studies graduate advisor, for a total of 12 credit hours. For more details, visit wgst.colorado.edu/graduate, or e-mail wgst@colorado.edu.