Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Most students who are interested in women's studies gravitate toward being critically engaged with the world-they want to make positive change.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality majors are “movers and shakers” on campus and off. Lives are changed every day by the ideas and actions our students bring forward. This program is committed to cultivating well-rounded, passionate women who are responsible leaders in their local, national, and global communities.

In order to accomplish this, students have many opportunities to raise awareness, educate, and empower through advocacy and activism events in their classes, on the campus, and in their communities. Students are doing the work themselves, and they take these experiences and skills right into the world upon graduation.

The field of women’s studies is a feminist endeavor striving to help students understand the intersection and oppression of sex, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, etc. on personal, relational, and institutional levels that affect the power, equity, and access for individuals and communities.

Major: Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Academic Catalogue

Students concentrating while professor talks outside.

Grounded in Diverse Perspectives
Through research and activism, our goal is to work toward a more equitable and just world.

The field of women’s studies is a feminist endeavor striving to help students understand the intersection and oppression of sex, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, etc. on personal, relational, and institutional levels that affect the power, equity, and access for individuals and communities.

Grounded in diverse perspectives of feminism and an interdisciplinary course of study, we work to cultivate women who are engaged and active in their lives and in the world. But these efforts must be matched by an excellence in academics. Effective empowerment must be grounded in scholarly, intersectional analysis paired with advocacy opportunities. For women’s studies students to be effectively empowered (and to empower others), they must understand the specific and particular identity standpoint of each individual/group within the specific and particular socio-cultural-historical era—that’s how we make positive change in our world.

Outside the Classroom

Many women, gender, and sexuality studies students work with other majors and student groups across campus to create collaborative projects and events, and this is the heart of the interdisciplinary and intersectional nature of the program. They bring awareness about rape crisis advocacy, women's shelters, and NGOs fighting for the advancement of girls and women in the U.S. and around the world, and attend the annual WST Symposium, which provides a platform for feminist research from all disciplines at the college. Their scholarship is presented at local, state, and national conferences.

Sample Courses

WGS 200: Women’s Movements of the United States.
This course will center on the early women’s movements (1800s-mid-1900s), examining the important issues of concern and making connections to those experienced today. 

WGS 250: Global Feminisims.
Through an intersectional, theoretical focus on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, social economic class, (dis)ability, etc., students will explore the historical root systems, institutional structures, and lived experiences of a diversity of girls and women around the world.

WGS 305: Mediating Genders.
An advanced focus on media representations, this course will take an intersectional approach to understand the cross-influence and perception of gender expectations that intersect with other identities. Topics would include representations of race, queer identities, ages, (dis)abilities, nationalities, etc., violence in the media, stereotypes & tropes, etc. in a variety of media platforms.

WGS 338: Identity, Power, & Culture.
This course will focus on cultural, rhetorical discourses in the United States with a feminist, intersectional approach. Working through contemporary conversations and controversies with an eye to past positionality and knowledge creation, topics will include critical theory, the social construction of reality, race, class, queer, and citizen/immigrant identities as historical sites of oppression, and US ideology, narratives, & social change.

WST 201: Psychology of Human Sexuality.
Issues surrounding multiple and often contradictory elements that shape sexual attitudes and behaviors.

WST 301: Psychology of Gender.
Exploration of the manner in which psychology provides a unique perspective on the study of gender, focusing primarily on women, with emphasis on research methodologies, empirical findings, theory, and current and historical controversies.

More requirements for the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Major

Double major in Double effective.

Wallace smiles at the camera

After graduating with a double major in women’s studies and psychology, Wallace earned a master’s degree in women and gender studies at Arizona State University, and then began a career at one•n•ten, a non-profit in Phoenix that provides services to LGBTQ youth in Arizona.

Today, Wallace works as the training and satellite program specialist, facilitates both in-person and online support groups for LGBTQ youth, and serves as the liaison for one•n•ten’s satellite programs. 

Wallace also volunteers with GLSEN Phoenix, a non-profit that helps make K-12 schools safe for LGBTQ students, by providing professional development and preparedness of the GLSEN facilitators. 

“Wesleyan gave me the tools I need to succeed in my professional life. Although my trajectory has shifted substantially since I graduated from Wesleyan, the wide array of skills I obtained, particularly critical thinking, along with the ability to challenge myself and my beliefs, has helped me to set and meet new goals, no matter where my career takes me.” 

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George Washington University, Arizona State University, University of Wyoming, Georgia State University, Mercer University, Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain


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