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2012-2013 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Women and Gender Studies - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies section in this catalog.

Program Director: Underwood. Assistant Professors: DeMuth, Mason, Weekley.


Women and Gender Studies focuses on diversity and the integration of theory and practice. Liberal education is central to WGS and the program requires that students critically reflect on and recognize their own social and cultural environments and to challenge prevailing ideas of privilege, and inequality. These attributes encourage students to develop the skills of inquiry, reflection, critical analysis, dialogue, and expression so central to the Universitys vision for undergraduate success.

The women and gender studies program at GVSU offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that acquaints students with the scholarship on women and gender; raises awareness of how categories of gender and sexuality affect and are affected by our everyday lives, historical currents, social institutions, science, art, and literature; and prepares students for graduate school and/or careers in which knowledge of gender issues is relevant.

Each semester, more than 500 students enroll in WGS courses ranging from Introduction to Gender Studies to courses cross-listed in more than a dozen departments to our senior level courses on praxis that empower students to challenge gender stereotypes, understand feminist perspectives, and to work actively for diverse gender justice through service learning at the community level and through international perspectives and experiences.

Career Opportunities

WGS graduates find careers in nonprofit agencies and global non-governmental organizations; in elementary and secondary education as teachers, counselors, and administrators; in women's health organizations and public health programs; and in public and private corporations, human resources, labor unions, and the law firms.

Students interested in attending graduate school in women and gender studies have many degree options. Students interested in exploring graduate school opportunities are encouraged to consult the online, searchable database available on the National Womens Studies Association (NWSA) website:

Possible graduate degrees include: Ph.D. or M.A. in women and gender studies, joint M.A. degrees in women and gender studies and social work, teaching, communications management, public policy, or information studies are also available at several universities. Students interested in a law degree may pursue a joint M.A. and J.D. program. Students earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. in another discipline may also have opportunities to earn a graduate minor or certificate in women and gender studies.

Participating Programs

The program contributes to the experience of all students on campus by working in collaboration with the Women's Center, the LGBT Resource Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, student organizations and academic programs and departments across the university to sponsor speakers and events that contribute to understanding women and gender in the contemporary world. Most significantly, each March in conjunction with the GVSU Women's Center, WGS celebrates Women's History Month with a keynote speaker, a tea party celebrating the legacy of women's activism, and an awards ceremony honoring students, staff, and faculty members of the Grand Valley community.

Honors Organizations

Iota Iota Iota is the academic honor society for the field of women and gender studies. The organization recognizes the academic achievements of students and encourages and supports scholarship and excellence in women and gender studies.

Scholarship Opportunities

The Jean Enright Scholarship provides financial assistance to students who are women and gender studies majors or minors. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress and must demonstrate significant participation in community and/or campus service that is centered on women and/or girls.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Women and Gender Studies

Women and Gender Studies Minor

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.