Major in Women’s and Gender Studies

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See through the lens of gender.

The women’s and gender studies major explores how gender intersects with areas such as sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, and other social identities — historically and now. You’ll explore women’s issues, the social construction of femininities and masculinities, and the gendered dimensions of virtually anything.

This interdisciplinary program incorporates perspectives from dozens of faculty across the university. From the personal to the political, from theory to practice, you’ll be expected to analyze and discuss diverse viewpoints and engage with gender issues on campus, in the Worcester community, and beyond.

Requirements for:

Why Major in Women’s and Gender Studies at Clark?

  • Gain insights from applications of feminist theory that push you to think more critically about ideas and events that you encounter in your everyday life, while using gender analysis to understand and evaluate the lived experiences of diverse individuals and communities.
  • Develop an individualized area of specialization with the help of a faculty adviser; complete a minor or concentration — or a second major — in another field, as required, to support your specialization and to reinforce connections with other disciplines.
  • Carry forward a tradition of activism: Women’s and Gender Studies is a program with a history dating from the 1970s, when student activists urged their feminist mentors to begin offering courses in women’s studies.
  • Women’s and gender studies is one of seven undergraduate programs affiliated with Clark’s Center for Gender, Race and Area Studies, a community of faculty and students who study diverse, disadvantaged, or marginalized societies and populations, with an emphasis on promoting social justice.
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Your Will. Your Way.

The Major Path

Foundation courses

Core courses in Women’s and Gender Studies — WGS 110 – Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies and WGS 200 – Introduction to Feminist Theory — will provide you with a solid foundation in women’s studies and gender analysis, while courses selected from many other departments will introduce you to a range of disciplinary approaches and perspectives.

Choose a specialization

Faculty from across disciplines are committed to teaching courses that explore the intersections of gender with sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, age, class, ability, and other social identities, from within their disciplinary homes. You’ll work closely with a faculty adviser affiliated with the WGS program to refine your interests and develop an individualized area of specialization within the field. Areas of specialization cross at least two academic departments and form a coherent theme, such as:

  • Women in comparative fiction
  • Gender and environment
  • Gender, war, and militaries
  • Gender, identity, and sexuality
  • Feminist critiques of globalization

You are required to complete a minor or concentration (a second major is strongly encouraged) in another field to support your specialization and to reinforce connections with other academic disciplines. Some popular combinations include: English, history, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Courses to support advanced study

After taking a skills or methods course to support advanced study in your area of specialization, you will be able to apply the knowledge and skills gained through WGS coursework to a culminating research project or applied experience through an advanced research seminar, internship, or a directed study with a faculty member. Our students contribute to the production of knowledge in both activist and scholarly spheres.

Each year, the women’s and gender studies program recognizes outstanding seniors with three awards:

  • The Hazel Hughes Award, presented in honor of the former Dean of Women, Hazel Hughes, for outstanding academic achievement by an undergraduate student.
  • The Alice Higgins Award, presented in honor of long-time Clark trustee and supporter of WGS, Alice Higgins, for outstanding contributions to women and girls at Clark University and/or in the wider community.
  • The Cynthia Enloe Scholar/Activist Award is given to the student who has worked hard to advance scholarship in Women’s and Gender Studies and has been an activist in this cause.

During your junior year, you might be accepted into the women’s and gender studies honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis on a topic of your choice. Learn more

The LEEP difference

An education merging knowledge, action, and impact

With Liberal Education and Effective Practice, lessons begin in the classroom but never end there. Your learning includes world and workplace experiences that forge your skills and shape your path.

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Explore what the Women's and Gender Studies Program has to offer.