Women's and Gender Studies (WST)
Women's and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary area of scholarship and research that focuses on the significance of gender as a variable in experience, history, and culture. Women's and Gender Studies raises questions that often have been ignored or marginalized, and it makes the experience and history of women central to the study of any human concern. Scholarship in Women's and Gender Studies demonstrates the need to recognize new models of knowledge, as well as the need to be critical of theories and approaches that do not take into account the difference of gender as it intersects with race, class, sexuality, and other variables of social experience. In so doing, Women's and Gender Studies has long served as a site for "reflective critique," and it has often challenged the traditional disciplines to reflect on their concepts and methods in ways that have enriched those disciplines.
At Stony Brook the Women's and Gender Studies Undergraduate Program introduces students to the history of feminism, as well as its contemporary theories and methods. Feminist theory in a global context provides the background for a critique of the social construction of gender and its relation to other systems of privilege. The collective expertise of the Program’s faculty members emphasizes the study of gender and sexuality in coordination with queer studies, cultural studies, transgender studies, mobility/migration studies, literary perspectives, social movements, transnational feminisms, reproductive health, disability studies, public health, and feminist methodologies.
Offered through the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory, the major and minor in Women's and Gender Studies are designed for students interested in the interdisciplinary study of gender and women. The programs emphasize the development of skills in critical thinking, argumentation, and writing. The program consists of a set of core courses offered by Women's and Gender Studies faculty within the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory, as well as related courses in other departments.
WaGS majors may also do specialized course work in one of two tracks: the interdisciplinary study of Gender, Sexuality, and Public Health or the interdisciplinary study of Gender and Social Change. Majors may also pursue a 5-year BA in WaGS/Masters in Public Health. Students wishing to complete the major or minor should consult the department and establish an advising folder by the beginning of the junior year or sooner.
Because it emphasizes transposable skills of reading, writing, analysis, and expression, Women's and Gender Studies provides an excellent preparation for graduate or professional school or employment. Graduates have gone on to law, medicine, social work, psychology, teaching, and business, among other fields. Double majors, combining women's studies with another field, are not uncommon.
A list of additional courses in other departments that satisfy Women’s and Gender Studies Program requirements is provided by the department each semester.
Requirements for the Major in Women's and Gender StudiesThe major in Women's and Gender Studies leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. No more than three credits offered for the major may be taken Pass/No Credit or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. All other courses for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. No transferred course with a grade lower than C may be applied toward major requirements. No more than three 100-level courses (9 credits) may be applied toward major requirements. At least 18 credits must be in courses numbered 300 or higher. At least 12 credits must be WST courses (or cross-listed equivalent) taken at Stony Brook.
Completion of the major requires 36 credits.
A. Core Courses
1. WST 102 (F) or WST 103 (G) Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
2. WST 291 (G) Introduction to Feminist Theory
3. WST 301 (K) Histories of Feminism
4. WST 305 (G) Feminist Theories in Context
5. WST 408 Senior Seminar for Women's and Gender Studies Majors
B. Focused Studies
One course in each of the following categories (see note 1):
1. WST 395 (J) Women's and Gender Studies in a Global Context; Topics in Global Feminism (or approved other course)
2. WST 398 (K) Gender, Race, and Ethnicity; Topics in Gender, Race, and Ethnicity (or approved other course)
3. WST 399 (G) Gender and Sexuality; Topics in Gender and Sexuality (or approved other course)
Twelve credits from WST courses. (See note 2.)
D. Upper-Division Writing Requirement
Students must present to the director of WaGS undergraduate studies a minimum of ten typewritten pages of formal writing, prepared for an upper-division course listed above as acceptable for the major requirements. This written work must have been judged by the course instructor to be satisfactory for the upper-division writing requirement in the field of Women's and Gender Studies. Normally this requirement is met through the work in WST 408.
2. The following courses offered by other departments may be used to satisfy requirement C:
Additional courses that may be used will be available on the WST community blackboard web site.
3. At least two WST topics courses (taught by WaGS faculty) must be used in satisfying requirement B.
4. No more than six credits from WST 447(Directed Readings in Women's and Gender Studies) and 487 (Independent project in Women's and Gender Studies) may be applied toward the major.
Note: "Majors do not have to select a specialization track; they are optional"
Specialization Tracks for Women’s Studies Majors
Women’s and Gender Studies offers two specialization tracks for majors: Gender, Sexuality and Public Health (GSPH); and Gender and Social Change (GSC). The tracks draw on the program's two key and interrelated areas of research and teaching focus: 1. gender, sexuality, and public health and 2. transnational feminist social movements and activism. The GSPH track allows students to explore the important interrelationship between cultural and social theories of gender and sexuality and various histories and methods of public health. Courses in this track critically examine the multiple discourses, practices, and institutions that structure the experience of health in a transnational world. The GSC track allows students to engage in gender analysis of key transnational social, economic, political, and cultural issues. Courses in the track explore the interconnectedness of race, class, gender and sexuality through struggles for social change and justice.
Both tracks are 18-credit specializations and require a 3-credit internship chosen from a group of approved internships. A specialization track can enhance the learning experience for students and, with proper planning, a track is also possible for those with double majors.
1. The GSPH track would be useful to students planning careers in the health professions (such as medicine, public health or nursing) or graduate study in fields such as social work and law. Completion of the track requires five electives with a grade of “C” or better. The full lists of courses and internships are available in the Cultural Analysis and Theory Office. Sample courses taught in recent years include Global Science/Women’s Health; Women and Healthcare in the US; Feminism, Racism, and Medicine; Psychology of Reproduction; Cultures of Disability; Queer Studies: Theorizing Race, Gender and Sexuality. Sample GSPH internships include organizations such as Planned Parenthood or LIGALY (Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth).
2. The GSC track would benefit students planning careers in law, social work, public policy, non-profit organizations, or the media. The track would also be useful to students who plan to pursue graduate studies in related fields. Completion of the track requires five electives with a grade of “C” or better. The full lists of courses and internships are available in the Women’s and Gender Studies Office. Sample Courses taught in recent years include Black Women and Social Change; Gender Issues in the Law; Global Feminist Activism; Women and Politics; and Social Movements and Gender in Latin America. Sample GSC internships include organizations such as the Wo/Men’s and Gender Resource Center.
For more details on enrolling and current course and internship offerings, please contact:
Nancy Hiemstra, Program Advisor for Women's and Gender Studies
Honors Program in Women’s and Gender Studies
Any Women’s and Gender Studies major who has maintained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 in the WaGS major and a 3.00 GPA overall are eligible to enroll in the Women’s and Gender Studies with honors program. The student must maintain these respective GPAs throughout the duration of the honors program. The student must enroll in the honors program before the end of the junior year. The student must identify a potential faculty member within the department to serve as a mentor, and, with the written approval of the mentor, submit the honors program application, which will describe the honors thesis project.
In the senior year, the student must enroll in WST 495 in the first semester and WST 496 in the second semester, for a total of six credits. This year long sequence of WST 495/496 is in lieu of the general Senior Seminar, WST 408. Since there are two semesters of required coursework, students in the program will complete 39 credits for the major, as opposed to 36 for students not enrolled in the program. The student’s honors thesis must be completed no later than four weeks prior to the end of the second semester, to allow for review by the honors committee and to allow for revisions. The honors thesis will be read by the student’s mentor and two other CAT faculty members or CAT affiliates.
If the honors program is completed with distinction and the student has achieved a 3.50 GPA in all WaGS courses taken in the senior year, honors are conferred.
Only one course (no more than three credits) offered for the minor may be taken for Pass/No Credit.
At least 15 credits letter grade (A through F)
No more than 3 credits P/No Credit
No more than 6 credits S/U.
Completion of the minor requires 21 credits.
1. WST 102 (F) or WST 103 (G) Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
2. WST 291 (G) Introduction to Feminist Theory or 301 (K) Histories of Feminism
3. WST 407 Senior Research Seminar for Women's and Gender Studies Minors
4. Twelve credits chosen from among WST courses (or their crosslisted equivalents) and the list below.
At least six credits must be numbered 300 and above.
Related special topics courses given in various departments are acceptable for the Women's and Gender Studies minor and major with the approval of the undergraduate director. A list will be available in the Cultural Analysis and Theory Office, (Humanities room#2048) at preregistration each semester. The list will also be available on the WST community blackboard website and CAT website.
Undergraduate Advisor for Women’s and Gender Studies:
Professor Nancy Hiemstra
Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355
Phone:(631) 632-7460 Fax:(631) 632-5707
Course Descriptions via the Undergraduate Bulletin:
For detailed information click here
CAT Colloquium Series
Graduate Student Colloquium
For detailed information click here
New MA/PhD in Women's and Gender Studies
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