The women's and gender studies major emphasizes an interdisciplinary framework in which students explore and synthesize multiple perspectives on historical and contemporary issues concerning women, gender and sexuality. This approach stresses intersectional analysis of gender and sexuality in relation to race, ethnicity, class, culture, nationality, ability, and other factors that shape experiences, identities, cultural productions, and ways of knowing. The women's and gender studies curriculum also examines social institutions and networks of power while considering avenues of resistance, justice and transformation.
The women's and gender studies curriculum also examines social institutions and networks of power while considering avenues of resistance, justice and transformation. Courses are taught from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, by faculty with expertise ranging from the humanities to the social sciences. The women's and gender studies major requires 30 semester hours of WGS coursework.
Students in the women's and gender studies program can expect small, discussion-based seminars; close mentoring by professors; collaborative assignments; direct work with community organizations; guest speakers; and participation in WGS-related events outside the classroom.
The women's and gender studies minor complements a variety of majors and provides a valuable foundation for pursuing work in education, journalism, business, public affairs, the arts, the humanities, and the social sciences. A minor in women's and gender studies gives students a distinctive expertise in women, gender, sexuality and feminist methodologies to enhance their overall undergraduate education. The women's and gender studies minor requires 18 semester hours of WGS coursework.
Recent graduates of the women's and gender studies program have gone on to careers as K-12 teachers, writers, non-profit leaders, psychotherapists, social workers, health educators, political campaign managers, community organizers, and urban planners.
The women's and gender studies program includes a WGS Student Advisory Board, made up of women's and gender studies majors and minors who design and implement campus events related to women, gender and sexuality, and contribute to the life of the WGS program outside the classroom. All women's and gender studies majors and minors are invited to join. Activities include a speaker series, an annual symposium, and a dedicated Gender Justice Space for student and faculty research and gathering.
Students come to the Women's and Gender Studies Program with a range of different backgrounds and interests, but they all have one thing in common: they are passionate about understanding and enacting gender justice. Our students are notable for the powerful ways they bring their WGS education into their personal lives, careers, and communities.
Driven by my passion for women’s and gender studies, I was eager to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning and policy to focus on building inclusive communities by improving accessibility to various resources for low-income and LGBTQ-identified residents. For my master’s thesis, I created an LGBTQ Education Advocacy Action Plan for high school educators in the Chicagoland area in order to provide awareness, resources and education about LGBTQ topics at an early and preventative stage in hopes of lowering LGBTQ teen suicide rates.