Women's and Gender Studies Program

143 Main Hall
Lisa Ruchti, Director


Lisa Ruchti, Sociology
Elizabeth (Simon) Ruchti, Philosophy


Kevin Aptowicz, Physics
Jen Bacon, English
Eleanor Brown, Psychology
Page Buck, Graduate Social Work
Juanita Comfort, English
Kristen Crossney, Geography
Virginia DaCosta, Art
Eli DeHope, Social Work
Joy Fritschle, Geography and Planning
Susan Gans, Psychology
Robin Garrett, Nursing
Karin Gedge, History
Jacqueline Hodes, Counselor Education
Erin Hurt, English
Lauri Hyers, Psychology
Jane Jeffrey, English
Dean Johnson, Philosophy
Lisa Kirschenbaum, History
Rodney Mader, English
Deborah Mahlstedt, Psychology
Deborah Mandel, Nursing
Lisa Millhous, Communication Studies
Merry G. Perry, English
Cherise Pollard, English
Ruth Porritt, Philosophy
Geetha Ramanathan, English
Nancy Rumfield, Art
Stacey Schlau, Languages and Cultures
Frauke Schnell, Political Science
Helen Schroepfer, Philosophy
Eleanor Shevlin, English
Chris Stangl, Political Science
Linda Stevenson, Political Science
Cassie Striblen, Philosophy
Maria Van Liew, Languages and Cultures
Julie Wiest, Anthropology and Sociology
Joan Woolfrey, Philosophy
Hyoejin Yoon, English

The women’s and gender studies program consists of an interrelated group of courses offered in a wide variety of academic disciplines. The program operates under the supervision of the Women’s and Gender Studies Steering Committee. This program is envisaged both as an enrichment to liberal education and as a preprofessional field. The social transformation that is taking place in society and in intellectual life is making study in this area an asset in many arenas.

The aim of the program is to integrate the perception and experience of women into the curriculum and to encourage inquiry into previously neglected areas, such as women’s history, women’s literature and art, psychology of women, and women’s position in society.

The women’s and gender studies program provides an excellent learning environment that places an analysis of structural inequality, with a primary focus on gender inequality, at the center of the curriculum. It prepares students for careers, graduate study, and life choices through an interdisciplinary curriculum that establishes feminist values in its pedagogy and content. Women’s and gender studies faculty are productive teacher-scholars who provide leadership and scholarship for integrating gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, nationality, and disability issues into the curriculum.

Bachelor of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies

120 semester hours

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
  2. Languages
    Culture cluster may be used.
  3. Required courses (6 semester hours)
    WOS 225 and 405; WOS 305 is strongly encouraged.
  4. Other approved courses (18-24 semester hours)
  5. Electives to complete 120 semester hours

Women’s and gender studies students, both majors and minors, take courses across disciplines. Several crosslisted courses are offered each semester, e.g., CLS 259 (Women’s Literature II), PSY 365 (Psychology of Women), and SOC 346 (Sociology of Gender).

Other courses may be chosen from the list of women’s and gender studies offerings. Additional courses may be applied to the major, under advisement. At least six major courses must be completed at the 300-400 level.

These courses are open to all students who have any required prerequisite as student electives under general requirements. With the permission of their departments, students also may take these courses as electives within their major or minor disciplines.

Minor in Women's Studies (18 semester hours)

Required courses (6 semester hours)
WOS 225 and either WOS 405 or 410 or 415

Women’s and gender studies students, both majors and minors, take courses across disciplines. Several crosslisted courses are offered each semester, e.g., CLS 259 (Women’s Literature II), PSY 365 (Psychology of Women), and SOC 346 (Sociology of Gender). No more than two courses may be taken in a single department. Additional courses may be applied to the minor, under advisement. For advising in women’s and gender studies, contact Dr. Lisa Ruchti, 143 Main Hall. Descriptions of WOS courses in women’s and gender studies appear below. See departmental listings for all other courses.


Symbol: WOS

100 Body Politics: Gender, Culture, and Representation (3) This course examines the body as a contested site of both pleasure and oppression. Considerable focus will be placed on the impact of culture on our understandings of the body, including ideas about gender, race, and sexuality. Students of all genders will be encouraged to explore how their own body image has been shaped by social norms that are simultaneously accepted and resisted. This course thereby provides an opportunity to question a variety of norms surrounding the body, including ideas about beauty, size, shape, and ability.

225 Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies (3) An interdisciplinary course designed to enable students to analyze the lived experience of women, to evaluate the impact of gender, to question the implications of changing cultural patterns, and to sample first-hand efforts for social change. Satisfies interdisciplinary requirement. Offered every semester.    

250 Women's Self-Representation (3) An interdisciplinary approach to ways women record their lives.
Diverse communities course
Approved interdisciplinary course
Writing emphasis course

276 Sexual Identity and Culture (3) Interdisciplinary introduction to meanings attached to human sexuality, as well as exploring intersections between theories of sexual identity and theories of gender, class, race, ethnicity, age, and nationality.

305 Intellectual Roots of Western Feminism (3) The course examines the major issues and themes that have historically been included in feminist theory about women's situations and experiences, including ethical foundations, the origins of patriarchy, feminist epistemology, education, body issues, issues of difference, religion, civil rights, and psychological development. Chronologically, the course covers from the Enlightenment (Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women) through Simone de Beauvior's The Second Sex. Diverse communities course

306 Transnational Feminisms (3) This course explores current issues and debates relating to the gendered effects of globalization and women's political responses to it and dynamically reconceptualizes the relationship between women and nation; between gender and globalization; and between feminist theory and practice.

315 Women of the Global South (3) This course will examine the nature of women’s lives in the global South, focusing on topics such as family, education, health, development policies, and political change. Geographic areas studied include Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

320 Independent Study (3) Independent research and study for upper-division students. Topic to be approved by supervising faculty member. PREREQ: WOS 225.
This course may be taken again for credit.

325 Special Topics in Women's Studies (3) Selected (and changing) topics, e.g., black women; women and work; love and sexuality.
This course may be taken again for credit.

329 Gender and Peace (3) An examination of the ways in which social constructions of gender intersect with perceptions and the experience of war.
Approved interdisciplinary course

335 Gender and Science (3) An interdisciplinary course on the role of gender and race in the formation of science.
Diverse communities course
Approved interdisciplinary course

350 Lesbian Studies (3) An interdisciplinary analysis of the lesbian experience, and a study of the informing ideas of lesbian studies.
Approved interdisciplinary course

400 Internship (3) This course is designed to allow students the opportunity to put into practice, outside the academic setting, the knowledge regarding women's experiences gained in other courses. Some possible sites might be a women's health clinic, a business, a newspaper, a social service agency, or an electoral campaign. There will be both an on-site and a faculty supervisor. PREREQ: WOS 225 and two other women's and gender studies courses.
This course may be taken again for credit.

405 Feminist Theory (3) Designed to introduce and discuss basic questions in contemporary feminist theory, the course will explore different philosophies of feminism and include such issues as motherhood, intersections with other theories of oppression, and body politics. PREREQ: WOS 225 or permission of the instructor. Crosslisted with PHI 405.
Students may not take both coursed for credit.
Approved interdisciplinary course

410 Senior Colloquium (3) Sample topics include global feminism, mothering, the experiences of women of color, and feminist utopias. PREREQ: WOS 225 and two other women's and gender studies courses.
This course may be taken again for credit.

415 Senior Project (3) Preparation of research in any area of women's studies, to be decided by student and adviser. Supervision includes exercises in method and bibliography. Usually, a lengthy research paper will be the final result. PREREQ: WOS 225 and two other women's and gender studies courses.
This course may be taken again for credit.