The Department of Women and Gender Studies (WGST) supports the CU Boulder College of Arts and Sciences’ goal to preserve, interpret, and convey humane values and learning. Our undergraduate program fosters critical thinking skills applied to the study of women and gender, particularly in relation to our three key areas: race/ethnicity, sexuality, and global studies. Undergraduates can earn a bachelor of arts, a minor, and certificates in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies and LGBTQ Studies.

The Department of Women and Gender Studies is part of the liberal arts education in the College of Arts and Sciences, and thus we seek to prepare our students for the future through producing well-rounded, flexible and adaptable graduates who know how to gather and analyze information, write well, give effective oral presentations, and problem-solve. We also prepare them to thrive and pursue their interests in an era of globalization, encouraging them to think locally and globally.

You can expect to learn more about:

  • 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

Students completing their degree with the Department of Women and Gender Studies are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:
  • communicate complex ideas related to women and gender studies, to academic and general audiences
  • employ creative problem solving techniques
  • organize and synthesize material in new ways
  • read, critically evaluate, and synthesize women and gender studies scholarship
  • work collaboratively with colleagues and the general public

Graduates of our program have pursued many different career paths, including technology, politics, law, nonprofit administration, entrepreneurship, victim advocacy, academia, and medicine. Learn more about your career options in WGST, and find additional support with CU's Career Services.

Certificate programs are designed to take advantage of the research strengths of our core and associate faculty and to enhance the experience of undergraduate students. Requiring fewer credit hours than a minor, certificates allow for increased specialization in select fields.

If you're a degree-seeking CU Boulder student and you want to enroll in a certificate program, you must contact and get approval from the host department. That department will contact the Office of the Registrar to begin the declaration process. WGST is the host department for the Global Gender and Sexuality Studies Certificate, and the LGBTQ Studies Certificate.

Women and Gender Studies attracts great students with strong academic skills who are also interested in applying their WGST education in the real world. Our students come from different walks of life and different parts of the world, and this diversity enriches our department. Our students are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity.  Many WGST majors volunteer with domestic violence shelters, the movement to end sexual assault, youth groups, political and environmental organizations, and development and empowerment projects in other parts of the world.

WGST FacultyOne of the primary goals of our faculty is to foster students’ critical thinking skills in a learning environment that is supportive and challenging. In the workplace, the media, popular culture, politics, and even academia, we are confronted with stereotypes and one-dimensional representations of gender, race, class, nationality and sexuality. Accordingly, WGST faculty encourage students to critically engage with course materials and with the world around them, and we provide them tools to do so. We believe such skills are the prerequisites for enhancing the equality, dignity, and empowerment that we value.

Faculty research is an essential component in the educational experience of our undergraduates. WGST students receive instruction from faculty who are actively engaged in the creation of new knowledge and insights, not merely passive recipients of the work of others. Our faculty have been awarded research grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Institute of Peace. More information about the many books and articles published by WGST faculty can be found on the individual faculty websites.

WGST offers a graduate certificate program in women and gender studies, which offers CU graduate students a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary education in gender and sexuality studies. It provides a thorough grounding in feminist and/or queer theory and feminist methodology, as well as the opportunity to explore diverse special topics in gender and sexuality studies. The certificate is 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. On a practical level, the 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.

The graduate certificate in women and gender studies is designed to complement a CU graduate disciplinary degree program—providing graduate students the opportunity to engage a variety of scholarly and methodological approaches to the study of gender and sexuality.

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. Students are encouraged to apply for the graduate certificate early in their course of graduate studies; students enrolled in the program will get priority if placed on a waitlist for a graduate-level women and gender studies course.

For more details including application instructions, visit the graduate certificate webpage, or email

Work Study: Work-Study is need-based financial aid. More details can be found on the Student Employment website. Eligibility requirements for financial aid are loosened somewhat during the summer to allow undergraduates to receive work study money. To start the process, fill out a FAFSA application.

Scholarships: WGST offers 3 scholarships for majors each Spring: Jean Dubofsky Scholarship in Women and Gender Studies; Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Scholarship; and theAndermarch Cicogna Scholarship. Information on how to apply for these scholarships can be found on the CU Boulder Scholarships website.

Please visit the Office of Admissions for admissions information.

CU Admission Info:

Declaring a WGST Major or Minor
To declare a major or minor in WGST, your next step depends on your year in school:
  • First-year students should make an appointment with their first-year advisor through Buff Portal.
  • Sophomores, juniors and seniors should log in to Buff Portal and use the Change Major link to request a major change.

If you're a current student and you have additional questions, please schedule an appointment with your advisor through Buff Portal.