Women Studies

College of Humanities
Dean: Nancy McDermid

Department of Women Studies
HUM 315

Graduate Coordinators: Chinosole, Inderpal Grewal

Undergraduate Advisers: M. Caulfield, Chinosole, I. Grewal, M. A. Jaimes-Guerrero


Associate Professors--Caulfield, Chinosole, Grewal, Jaimes-Guerrero


B.A. in Women Studies

Minor in Women Studies

M.A. in Women Studies

Program Scope

Women Studies encourages students to examine, interpret, critique, and appreciate the experiences and roles of women in different societies. Striving to be as inclusive as possible, courses take into consideration commonalities and differences of cultural, racial, and class background, as well as of sexual orientation. The course of study places women in specific cultural and historical contexts in relation to the men, children, families, and communities in their lives. The analysis treats the influence of sex/gender role differentiation and existing social structures and institutions on human development in present and past societies. Especially on the upper division and graduate level of study, courses cover the evolving body of new knowledge and theories of feminist scholars, writers, artists, social critics, and social activists. Because the department's purview is international, feminists of the multi-ethnic communities of North, South, and Central America are studied alongside those of Third World and European feminists. The program stresses not only the acquisition of analytic skills but also integrates personal with social awareness in the course offerings.

Courses which fulfill major requirements are offered by the Women Studies Department as well as by other departments. For Women Studies variant topic courses and focus-on-women courses in other departments, the Class Schedule must be consulted each semester.

In consultation with an adviser, each student will develop a major program utilizing both Women Studies and other departmental courses. The emphasis on choice of courses beyond the required core and to some extent within the core will depend upon the focus of the major and the student's career or graduate study objectives. Majors must confer with the department chair in the early stages of their B.A. work for referral to an appropriate adviser.

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

The Master of Arts in Women Studies is cross-disciplinary, enabling students to combine core and elective courses in Women Studies with electives in other departments and programs across the campus. The program, focusing on international and U.S. women of color issues, 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 women's lives.

Career Outlook

The B.A. is a liberal arts/humanities degree that focuses on women's issues in literature, history, sociology, anthropology, 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, as well as in national and international 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, social work, law, public health, administration, and advocacy.

The M.A. in Women Studies enhances students' ability to participate professionally in a range of organizations in the public and private sector, particularly those addressing women's issues. It has also been a preparatory degree for students interested in teaching or in pursuing doctoral degrees in related fields.


Courses for this program are listed in alphabetical sequence (consult Index for page reference).

The major requires at least 39 units, of which 30 must be at the upper division level. Eighteen units must be chosen from Women Studies core courses as follows:

WOMS 200	Women: The Basic Questions				3
WOMS 301	Women in Groups or
WOMS 302	Translating Women's Experience or
WOMS 303	Woman as Creative Agent					3
WOMS 400	Critical Analysis and Feminist Research			3
Any approved course focusing on third world women			3

Courses presently available:
WOMS 544	Contemporary Asian Women Writers
WOMS 548	Literature of U.S. Women of Color
WOMS 561	Women of Color in the U.S.
WOMS 562	History of African-American Women
WOMS 564	Women Writers and Colonialism
WOMS 565	Women in the Muslim and Arab Worlds
AAS 603	Seminar on Asian American Women
AIS 420	American Indian Women: A Heritage of Equality
ETHS 571	Women, Class, and Race
LARA 410	La Raza Women
WOMS 611	Female Sexuality: Social and Theoretical Perspectives or
WOMS 621	Feminist Thought					3
WOMS 698	Work Study in Feminist Projects				3

Electives in Women Studies, or focus-on-women courses in departments, or disci-
plinary courses to focus on a particular theme, issue, or set of skills based upon 
each student's academic interests and goals. Approval by a Women Studies
adviser is mandatory.							21

Total									39


WOMS 200	Women: The Basic Questions				3

One of the following							3
WOMS 301	Women in Groups
WOMS 302	Translating Women's Experience
WOMS 303	Woman as Creative Agent
WOMS 400	Critical Analysis and Feminist Research

Any approved course focusing on third world 
women. (For courses presently available, 
see listing under B.A. in Women Studies)				3
WOMS 611	Female Sexuality: Social and Theoretical Perspectives or
WOMS 621	Feminist Thought					3

Electives in Women Studies or focus-on-women courses			6

Total									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 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 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 studies and with women's issues, rationale for pursuing the M.A., and relation of the M.A. in Women 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 April 1.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

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

Advancement to Candidacy

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

Courses for this discipline are listed in alphabetical sequence (consult Index for page reference).

Core Requirements

WOMS 700	Introduction to Graduate Studies			3
WOMS 710	Women's Consciousness and Resistance in Cross-
		Cultural Perspectives I: Non-Western Societies		3
WOMS 711	Women's Consciousness and Resistance in Cross-
		Cultural Perspectives II: Western Societies		3
WOMS 712	Lesbians and Women-Identified Women: An
		International Perspective				3
WOMS 713	Issues in Feminist Theory				3
Total for core								15

One of the following on advisement					3
WOMS 750	Issues in Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality
WOMS 760	Issues in Women's Literature and Culture
WOMS 770	Issues in Women and Public Policy

One of the following on advisement					3
WOMS 894	Creative Work Project
WOMS 895	Field Study Project
WOMS 898	Master's Thesis

Related Field Units (upon approval of major adviser)			9

Minimum total								30

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