Women and Gender Studies  {SF State Bulletin 2011-2012}

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Women and Gender Studies

College of Arts and Humanities

Dean: Paul Sherwin


Department of Women and Gender Studies

HUM 315
E-mail: wgsdept@sfsu.edu
Web Site: www.sfsu.edu/~wgsdept

Chair: Jillian Sandell
Undergraduate Advisers: Deborah Cohler, Kasturi Ray, Jillian Sandell
Graduate Adviser: Julietta Hua
Graduate Coordinator: Julietta Hua



Professor: Alamilla Boyd, Jaimes Guerrero
Associate Professors: Cohler, Sandell
Assistant Professors: Hua, Ray



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 bodies, families, communities, and nations are gendered in specific cultural and historical locations; and investigate connections to their own lives, roles, and contributions. The expertise of the department lies in interdisciplinary, multicultural, and transnational studies of inequality. 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, advocacy, pedagogy, 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 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 master’s degree with a culminating project of their own design working closely with 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 Bachelor of Arts in women and gender studies 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 and gender issues. Some students have used the degree as a foundation for further work in areas such as teaching, counseling, journalism, law, social work, health, administration, advocacy, labor organizing, and community activism.


The Master of Arts 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.


Bachelor of Arts in Women and Gender Studies

The major requires at least 39 units, of which 27 must be at the upper division level. Twelve 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 six units of electives may be taken in other departments upon advisement.


Women and gender studies majors who have successfully completed WGS 300 GW in spring 2010 or thereafter will have satisfied the University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).


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


Core Courses

Course Title Units
WGS 200 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies 3
WGS 300 GW Gender, Race, and Nation - GWAR 3
WGS 690 Senior Seminar 3
WGS 698 Work Study in Feminist Projects 3

Total for Core: 12 units

Elective Courses

Electives in women and gender studies courses (six 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 units

Total for major: 39 units


Minor in Women and Gender Studies

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


Minor in Women and Gender Studies

Course Title Units
WGS 200 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies 3
WGS 300 GW Gender, Race, and Nation - GWAR 3

Any WGS 500-level course: 3 units

Electives in women and gender studies: 6 units

Electives outside the department upon advisement: 3 units

Total for minor: 18 units


Master of Arts in Women and Gender Studies

Admission to Program

In order to be admitted to the program, students must meet all general university requirements. The most competitive candidates will have a minimum of 9 - 12 undergraduate WGS or equivalent units with previous work in the feminist study of some or all of the following areas: race, gender, sexuality, colonialism, labor, disability. 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: Evaluated on pre-admittance writing sample. Level Two: Evaluated through written portions of the culminating experience of WGS 894, 895, or 898.


Advancement to Candidacy

The Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) is filed after the student has completed a minimum of 12 units, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and not later than the semester before graduating. Once the ATC is approved, the student is advanced to candidacy.


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


Core Courses

Course Title Units
WGS 700 Introduction to Graduate Studies 3
WGS 710 Feminist Social Movements 3
WGS 712 Queer Theories 3
WGS 713 Intellectual Genealogies 3
WGS 820 Feminist Research Methods 3

Total for core: 15 units

units selected from the following on advisement: 3 units

Course Title
WGS 894 Creative Work Project
WGS 895 Field Study Project
WGS 898 Master's Thesis

Related Field Units (upon approval of major adviser): 12 units

Minimum total: 30 units


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