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Department of Women's Studies

Department of Women's Studies

Undergraduate Program
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Prospective Students

What is Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies?

Women’s Studies explores the intersection of identity, social power, and privilege. Concerned with how societies “construct” inequality and social bias, Women’s Studies analyzes every aspect of our lives through a critical lens, without filtering out impacts of socio-political inequalities, and lived experiences of women and their families. With cross-listed courses in Anthropology, Communications, Government, History, Psychology, Sociology, Women’s Health and more fields, students can approach Women’s Studies from almost any direction. Alongside the U.S. history of women and feminist movement, “transnational” feminism offers a wider comparative study of constructions of gender across cultures; the legal and political standing of women and marginalized populations; and the nature and impacts of gender-based violence, mass migration, militarization, climate change, food insecurity and other contemporary challenges on the physical, social and political wellbeing of women around the globe.

Why Study Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies?

You might like this program if:

  • you want to translate your curiosities, experiences, passions and interests into actionable and meaningful work;
  • you seek out inclusive environments, with persons of different backgrounds, cultures, and races to understand their points of view;
  • you are passionate about gender equity, human rights, and social justice;
  • you want to explore how gender and sexuality play a role in culture, the arts, literature, health, politics, the sciences, law, and education; and/or
  • you see yourself as a change agent in this world.

Potential Careers: Employers today value effective communication, analytical thinking, and teamwork. With its emphasis on how gender, sexuality, race and other forms of diversity impact the experiences of every individual, the Women’s Studies curriculum trains its majors to recognize the impacts of bias and unequal social power in the social, cultural and political arenas. Graduates enter their post-graduate world sensitive to diverse perspectives that can either facilitate or impede team building, problem solving, and negotiation. Women’s Studies graduates—no matter where their career paths lead—are committed to the kind of institutional and social change that values all voices, and supports social justice. Women’s Studies graduates from Penn State work in a wide variety of professions and industries, including those below.

  • Law
  • Communications
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Business
  • Banking
  • Human resources
  • Non-Profits
  • Advocacy groups
  • Government
  • Journalism

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The scholarly field of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) prepares students to study some of the most complex challenges in a world where gender, race, class, sexuality, and power are always intertwined. As an interdisciplinary field, WGSS spans the arts and sciences, the humanities, and policy fields and provides applicable training for students seeking to continue their studies. Our scholars gain experience as researchers and teachers with the innovative tools to prepare them as leaders across the public, private, and educational sectors.