First Year Program - Women's Studies Skip Navigation

Women's Studies (WMST)

Director: M. Loe
PROGRAM SITE

The Women’s Studies Program is built on the understanding that gender is a crucial category of human knowledge and action. Women’s studies recognizes the complexity of human lives as gender interconnects with sexuality, race, class, ability, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and age in the constitution of experience and identities.

The program is at its core interdisciplinary, integrating knowledge from different disciplines to encourage critical engagement with all forms of experience from a feminist standpoint. Interdisciplinary study leads students to question frameworks, concepts, and methods, enabling them to understand better both the past and the contemporary world, while envisioning a future beyond traditional roles and inequities. By emphasizing interdisciplinarity, the program seeks to help students acquire the tools to analyze critically the societal, cultural, global, and personal issues that shape their lives and challenge them to look at these issues from multiple perspectives. It also encourages them to reflect on the ways in which knowledge is produced within different and oftentimes unrecognized systems of oppression, and to examine categories that are presented as natural and permanent in their cultural and historical context. Finally, the program strives to help its students acquire the skills of critical analysis and imagine alternatives that challenge the naturalizing of inequalities.

Women’s studies offers a major and minor as well as a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses for students. Some of these courses are listed as WMST courses. The basic introductory course is WMST 202.

Students in women’s studies, as well as the campus community as a whole, are encouraged to participate in activities sponsored by the Center for Women’s Studies, located on the lower level of East Hall. During each year, the center initiates a wide variety of educational programming, including films, discussions, and student projects, which aim to establish an open dialogue about the many ways race, class, cultural differences, and sexual orientation both interact with and shape gender roles.

Majors in women’s studies typically go on to graduate or professional school in a number of different fields or work in areas of social policy, social change, and human services.