Women and Gender Studies

College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

Department of Women and Gender Studies
HUM 315
E-mail: woms@sfsu.edu
Web Site: www.sfsu.edu/~woms
Chair: Nan Alamilla Boyd

Undergraduate Advisers: Deborah Cohler, M. A. Jaimes Guerrero, Kasturi Ray
Graduate Advisers: Julietta Hua, Jillian Sandell
Graduate Coordinator: Jillian Sandell


Professor—Jaimes Guerrero

Associate Professors—Alamilla Boyd, Cohler

Assistant Professors—Hua, Ray, Sandell


B.A. in Women and Gender Studies
Minor in Women and Gender Studies
M.A. in Women and Gender Studies

Program Scope

Women and Gender Studies examines the importance of gender and feminisms in relation to issues such as race, class, sexuality, labor, colonialism, multiculturalism, and globalization. Students study how people become gendered in diverse societies and investigate connections to their own lives, roles, and contributions. The expertise of the department lies in interdisciplinary, multicultural, and transnational studies of inequality. We study how bodies, families, communities, and nations are gendered in specific cultural and historical locations. Students are taught to draw from a range of theoretical and methodological approaches in their study of women and gender. Courses consider global structures of power and histories of racism in relation to local, regional, national, and transnational feminist practices.The Department provides analysis and debate of exciting work by feminists who confront and transform various institutions and arenas, including academia, politics, law, sexuality, non-profit groups, global non-governmental organizations, communities, labor struggles, and cultural productions. The goals of the department include the development of conceptual, analytic, and critical thinking skills in relation to gender and feminism in a transnational framework; the ability to integrate academic studies in women and gender studies into personal and professional goals; the development of skills to formulate and implement theoretically-informed political, cultural, and community action; the ability to analyze gender from an interdisciplinary perspective, using a range of methodological tools; an historical understanding of gender in relation to structural inequality, social movements, and labor struggles; and the ability to critically examine representation and cultural production through a feminist lens.

In consultation with an adviser, each student develops a major program including electives in Women and Gender Studies and in other departments. Majors must confer with the department chair in the early stages of their B.A. work for referral to an appropriate adviser.

The Women and Gender Studies Minor is an 18 unit sequence well-adapted for combination with many existing majors. The 9 units of requirements, 6 units of stipulated electives, and 3 units of free electives provide a grounding in feminist perspectives and theory. It also provides an opportunity to acquire background on feminist issues in a number of given disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields (e.g., history, psychology, sociology, literature, cultural studies, ethnic studies, and so on). Students interested in pursuing this minor should see the Women and Gender Studies department chair who will direct them to the appropriate adviser.

The Master of Arts in Women and Gender Studies is interdisciplinary, enabling students to combine core and elective courses in Women and Gender Studies with electives in other departments and programs across the campus. The program, focuses on women, gender, and feminism in transnational and multicultural contexts, preparing students to engage critically with analytical categories such as gender, race, sexuality, nation, class, labor, and able-bodiedness. Students complete their Masterís degree with a culminating project of their own design working closely an adviser. The degree enables students to pursue advanced study of the history, status, and contributions of women in different cultures, and of the relationships among feminist theories, social/global structures, and the production of gender.

Career Outlook

The B.A. is an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree that focuses on women and gender issues in literature, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural and ethnic studies. The major provides the incentive, knowledge, and skills that prepare students for a variety of graduate programs; and for careers in traditional and alternative social and educational institutions including non-governmental organizations that require expertise in women's issues. Some students have used the degree as a foundation for graduate work in professional degree programs such as teaching, counseling, journalism, law, social work, health, administration, and advocacy.

The M.A. in Women and Gender Studies prepares students interested in non-profit and for profit administration, teaching positions and in the pursuit of doctoral degrees in related fields. It enhances students' ability to participate in a range of organizations in the public and private sectors, particularly those addressing women and gender issues.


The major requires at least 39 units, of which 27 must be at the upper division level. 12 units must be completed in the Women and Gender Studies core courses. Of the 27 elective units, 21 units of electives must be women and gender studies courses and 6 units of electives may be taken in other departments upon advisement.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Core Courses Units
WGS 200 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies 3
WGS 201 The Politics of Gender, Race, and Nation 3
WGS 690 Senior Seminar 3
WGS 698 Work Study in Feminist Projects 3
Total for core 12
Elective Courses
Electives in women and gender studies courses (6 units can be taken in other departments on issues, topics, or skills based upon academic interests and goals. Approval by a women and gender studies adviser is mandatory.) 27
Total for major 39


Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
WGS 200 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies 3
WGS 201 The Politics of Gender, Race, and Nation 3
Any WGS 500-level course 3
Electives in women and gender studies 6
Electives outside the department upon advisement 3
Total for minor 18


Admission to Program

In order to be admitted to the program, students must meet all general university requirements. They must also possess at least a minor in women and gender studies, or the equivalent, with background in U.S. women of color, third world women, and theories of sexuality. Students are expected to possess a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester units attempted for the bachelor's degree.

Applicants must provide the department graduate admissions committee with the following items: (1) transcripts of all previous course work; (2) a written statement of background, intentions, and goals, including experience in women and gender studies and with women's issues, rationale for pursuing the M.A., and relation of the M.A. in women and gender studies to prior academic work and to career objectives; (3) two letters of reference from individuals with direct knowledge of the applicant's scholarly ability. For admission, applications are due February 1.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: satisfactory performance in final research paper in WGS 700. Level Two: successful completion of WGS 894, 895, or 898.

Advancement to Candidacy

The Graduate Approved Program (GAP) is filed after the student has completed a minimum of 12 units, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and before completing 27 units of work applicable to the M.A. Once the GAP is approved, the student is advanced to candidacy.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Core Requirements Units
WGS 700 Introduction to Graduate Studies 3
WGS 710 Women's Consciousness and Resistance in Cross-cultural Perspectives 3
WGS 712 Queer Theories 3
WGS 713 Issues in Feminist Theory 3
WGS 820 Feminist Research Methods 3
Total for core 15
Units selected from the following on advisement: 3
 WGS 750 Issues in Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality  
 WGS 760 Issues in Women's Literature and Culture
 WGS 770 Issues in Women and Public Policy
Units selected from the following on advisement: 3
 WGS 894 Creative Work Project  
 WGS 895 Field Study Project
 WGS 898 Master's Thesis
Related Field Units (upon approval of major adviser) 9
Minimum total 30

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