Women's and Gender Studies


Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Arts

The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies offers a bachelor of arts degree in women’s and gender studies, as well as a minor, and an area of emphasis for Regents B.A. students.  Many students in women’s and gender studies double major in other fields such as history, psychology, communication studies, English, and other fields in the social sciences, humanities, and physical sciences. 

Nature of Program

Scholarship on women and gender has revolutionized most academic disciplines over the last several years.  This field studies the advancement of women, as well as how gender influences the questions that are asked, the methods that are used, and the uses of knowledge in creating feminist scholarship within a multicultural and historical framework.  Women’s and gender studies courses lead students to challenge the stereotypes of women and men, and to explore the relationships among gender, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, socioeconomic class, and age. As an interdisciplinary field, women's and gender studies embraces the arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, and physical sciences.

Career Opportunities

Business, public administration, health care, communications, law, teaching, social work, counseling, creative arts, government, and journalism are all fields in which a major or minor in women’s and gender studies may be a valuable professional credential.  A background in this field is helpful to both women and men entering professions that have traditionally been restricted to one sex. These areas of study are especially useful for employment in fields such as family law, international development, child and family counseling, domestic violence, social services, and education.

Academic Opportunities in Women’s and Gender Studies

Women’s and Gender Studies courses are offered in a variety of academic disciplines throughout the University.  Many of these courses fulfill General Education Curriculum requirements.  In addition to the Women’s & Gender Studies courses listed in this catalog, many other courses are offered through other departments. Updated lists of these courses are available from the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies each semester.

Certificate of Global Engagement

Students in the Eberly College, regardless of their major, can earn a Certificate of Global Engagement. Completion of the Certificate demonstrates the student’s knowledge of diverse cultures, as well as the ability to communicate and interact effectively with people of different cultural backgrounds.  Students will be required to apply their knowledge of contemporary issues and global social contexts to their course work and their broader citizenship.  For details regarding Certificate requirements, please visit the Eberly College page.



Admission Requirements

Freshmen are admitted directly into the major.  Students coming from the Center for Learning, Advising, and Student Success or another major must have a 2.00 GPA.

Benchmark Expectations

Benchmark Expectations: Students must maintain a 2.0 overall GPA. They should have completed WGST 170 by their 2nd semester in the major, and review their progress toward their plan of study each semester. Students should maintain a GPA of 2.2 in courses that will count toward the major by their Junior year. All majors must meet with a WGST program adviser each semester. Students who do not meet these benchmarks may be removed from their major.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Degree Requirements

Students must complete WVU General Education Foundations requirements, College B.A. requirements, major requirements, and electives to total a minimum of 120 hours. For complete details on these requirements,visit the B.A. Degrees tab on the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences pages.

Departmental Requirements

The Women’s and Gender Studies major requires 30 hours, 24 of which must be unique (not counted toward another major or minor). Women’s and Gender Studies majors are also required to complete a minor or a second major of their choice.

  • Capstone Requirement:  The university requires the successful completion of a Capstone course: WGST 484
  • Writing and Communication Skills Requirement: The Women’s and Gender Studies Program is a SpeakWrite Affiliated Program, committed to fostering and assessing students’ written, verbal, visual, and mediated communication skills. The Women’s and Gender Studies major  requires its Bachelor of Arts program graduates to complete ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 (or ENGL 103), and a minimum of four additional SpeakWrite Certified CoursesTM as a part of their programs of study.  All Women’s and Gender Studies majors are required to take: WGST 170, WGST 330 and WGST 484; and one course from WGST 150, WGST 215, WGST 225, WGST 260, WGST 340, WGST 448. These are each SpeakWrite Certified courses.
  • Calculation of the GPA in the Major: Students must earn a C- or better in WGST 170, WGST 330, and WGST 484 and attain a final cumulative GPA of 2.0 overall in WGST courses that they wish to apply toward their major requirements.  Students must also earn an overall 2.0 GPA in their minor. If a course is repeated, all attempts will be included in the calculation of the GPA unless the course is eligible for a D/F repeat.
  • Secondary Concentration: Students must complete a minor outside of Women's & Gender Studies or a second major.

Curriculum Requirements

First Year Seminar
GEF: number of credits may vary depending on overlap
ECAS B.A. Requirements12
Foreign Language
Fine Arts Requirement
Global Studies and Diversity Requirement
Core Courses:6
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
Feminist Theory (Prerequisite to WGST 484)
Choose 21 hours from Group A & B. A minimum of one course must be from Group A, 12 credits must be at the 300- and 400-level.
Group A
Women in Movies
African Women Writers
Women in Appalachia
Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies
Gender and Violence
Sexuality in American Culture
Group B:
Any WGST course at the 100, 200, 300 or 400 level
Women and Sport
Women in Art
Human Sexuality
Contemporary Issues in Family Relations
Men's Health
Women and Health
Gender and Communication
Disability and the Family
Disability and Society
Literature of Native America
Literature of Love, Sex, and Gender
American Literature 1
American Literature 2
African American Literature
Multiethnic Literature
Images of Women in Literature
Sexual Diversity in Literature and Film
American Women Writers
British Women Writers
Topics in Women's Literature
Topics in Gay/Lesbian Studies
Russian Fairy Tales
Vampire: Blood and Revolution
Sexuality and Gender in Hispanic Cinema
French Women Writers
Science Fiction: East and West
African Women Writers
Francophone Literature in Translation
Italian Women Writers
Women Writers of Spain
Arab Women Writers
Geography of Gender
Public Policy of Aging
Aging, Women and Culture
Introduction to Gerontology
Women, Gender, and Kinship in Premodern Europe
Revolutionary Europe
Women in Colonial Latin America
History of American Women
Introduction to Human Nutrition
Women in International Development
Women and Leadership
Women's Health Across Lifespan
Reproductive Issues in Women
Current Moral Problems
Health Care Ethics
Interest Groups and Democracy
Sexuality, Law, and Politics
Gender/Politics and Policy
Gender and International Relations
Sex Roles and Behavior
Child and Adolescent Development
Social Work Practice and Human Sexuality
Families and Society
Gender and Crime
Race and Ethnic Relations
Anthropology of Health and Illness
Women and Men in Society
Class, Status, and Power
Special Problems and Workshop in Special Education
Gender and the Research Process
Minor Requirement15
Students must complete a minor (or a second major)
Capstone Experience3
Number of electives may vary depending on overlap
Total Hours120

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
WVUE 1911ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3
GEF 23GEF 23
GEF 33GEF 43
WGST 170 (ECAS Global Studies & Diversity Requirement; GEF 7)3Foreign Language 1013
Foreign Language 1013General Elective3
General Elective2 
 15 15
Second Year
GEF 53ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
ECAS Fine Arts Requirement (GEF 6)3Foreign Language 2043
Foreign Language 2033Minor Requirement 1*3
WGST Elective Groupe A3General Elective3
WGST Elective Upper Div. 13General Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
WGST 3303WGST Upper-Div. Elective 33
WGST Upper-Div. Elective 23WGST Upper-Div. Elective 43
Minor Requirement 23Minor Requirement 33
General Elective3Minor Requirement 43
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
WGST Elective at any level3WGST 484 (Capstone)3
WGST Elective at any level3General Elective3
Minor Requirement 53General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

 Completion of the minor also fulfills F 8.

Major Learning Goals

Women's and Gender Studies

Upon successful completion of the B.A. degree, Women’s and Gender Studies majors will demonstrate competency in the field relative to three lenses: content, skills and application of knowledge.

  1. Content—Students will be able to:
    • Demonstrate how gender, class, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality and sexual identity shape experience and reflect societal constructs.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of key terms and concepts related to the field.
    • Use the lens of feminist and gender theory to analyze manifestations of human endeavor.
  2. Skills—Students will be able to:
    • Use critical thinking skills to formulate and defend positions by developing, supporting and presenting the information in written and oral form.
    • Use critical reading skills to analyze, dissect, and criticize arguments to demonstrate an understanding of the scholarship and theoretical underpinning of the field of women’s and gender studies.
    • Apply approaches to problem solving that go beyond a single disciplinary framework.
  3. Application of knowledge—Students will:
    • Develop the knowledge and gain the experience to apply social justice aspects of women’s and gender studies scholarship and activism in the classroom and in the community.
    • Apply transformational learning in the discipline (the interconnection between theory and practice) to coursework outside of the field of WGST, to their future education, careers, and/or civic and community engagement.

Women and Gender Studies Minor


A grade point average of 2.0 for all courses counted toward the minor is required.


Core Courses:6
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
Feminist Theory
Electives *9
Additional hours in WGST or approved courses.
Total Hours15

No more than 3 credits at the 100 or 200 level. Electives may include no more than 6 hours from the same department (WGST courses excepted) and no more than 3 hours of WGST 490.

lgbtq studies minor

Minor Code - u138

For the LGBTQ minor, 12 of the 15 credits must be unique to the minor.

Minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all course counted toward the minor.
Core Courses12
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies
Queer Theories
Men and Masculinities
Upper-Division Elective*3
Topics in Gay/Lesbian Studies
Sexuality and Gender in Hispanic Cinema
Geography of Gender
Sexuality, Law, and Politics
Social Work Practice and Human Sexuality
Gender and Violence
Sexuality in American Culture
Total Hours15
*Substitutions must be approved by the Center for Women's and Gender Studies LGBTQ minor coordinator.


WGST 150. Women in Movies. 3 Hours.

Through viewing popular Hollywood films, we will analyze femininity across the life span. Critical thinking and cultural analysis will be practiced as we study heroines, working girls, motherhood, brides, cheerleaders, and old women on screen.

WGST 170. Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies. 0-3 Hours.

The major contexts in which gender identities have been and are defined and of the relationships between these definitions and the roles and history of women and men in society and culture.

WGST 215. African Women Writers. 3 Hours.

Selected works by African women writers. (Also listed as FLIT 215.).

WGST 220. Medieval Women Mystics. 3 Hours.

History, writings, and impact of mystics, including but not limited to, Hildergard of Bingen, Saint Clare of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Catherine of Genoa, and Saint Teresa of Avila.

WGST 225. Women in Appalachia. 3 Hours.

Use variety of sources to explore how race, class, ethnicity, sex and gender impact lives of diverse Appalachian women, including portrayal of women, stereotypes, impact of stereotypes, and how women construct their own identities.

WGST 242. Women's Health and Fitness. 3 Hours.

In this applied class, students will be actively learning about college-age women's health and participating in fitness activities, as well as creating a personal plan to improve one's health.

WGST 250. Women in Science. 3 Hours.

History of women in science and methods of gender analysis applied to issues facing women in science in the United States.

WGST 260. Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies. 3 Hours.

Overview of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies. Examines the construction of gender, biological sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, expression and performance related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and two-spirit identities. Also examines intersections with race, ethnicity, class, nation, culture, ability, and religion.

WGST 281. American Indian Women Writers. 3 Hours.

Studies tribal oral tradition and its continuing existence in prose, myths, poetry, and stories. The works of contemporary Native American women writers will be studied and discussed as an outgrowth of this tradition.

WGST 293A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

WGST 310. The Aging Woman. 3 Hours.

Does gender make a difference in the aging process? This course examines the female experience of growing older. Lecture, discussion, review of literature, with focus on selected works of literature and the creative arts.

WGST 320. Women, Religion and Spirituality. 3 Hours.

Explores the exclusion of women from leadership in institutions of religion, the nature of the development of theology and spirituality that has disavowed the contributions of women, diversity of religious experience, and writings of feminist theologians.

WGST 330. Feminist Theory. 3 Hours.

Explores current feminist theory through works by diverse scholars, focusing on questions of essentialism, difference, sexuality, bodies, language, power, economic and ecological justice, intersections of race, class and gender, and global social justice struggles.

WGST 340. Gender and Violence. 3 Hours.

Gender violence has implications for all members of society. This course will examine violence in the lives of women across the lifespan. Etiology, theories, effects, and prevention modalities will be evaluated.

WGST 345. Women in International Development. 3 Hours.

Examines cultural diversities in the definition of women's roles and status; investigates women's access to education, health, income, credit and technology; and studies women's contributions in third world development.

WGST 360. Queer Theories. 3 Hours.

PR: WGST 260. Provides a framework for understanding the history and contemporary applications of queer theories and interdisciplinary LGBTQ studies. Explores the relationship of queer theories to feminist theories through examining works by diverse scholars, focusing on questions of identities, bodies, policies, institutions, and popular and visual cultures.

WGST 393A-G. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

WGST 448. Sexuality in American Culture. 3 Hours.

Explores changes in sexuality in the United States from the seventeenth century to the present, examining social and cultural struggles and debates over the meaning of sexuality and sexual orientation in American society.

WGST 449. Women's Movements Since 1960. 3 Hours.

Comparison of U.S. "Second wave" and "Third Wave" feminisms; validity of the concepts of "waves" of feminism; and impact of race, class, sexual orientation, on perspectives on women's status.

WGST 450. Sex and Science at the Movies. 3 Hours.

Explores how bodies, sexuality, and other gendered traits are used in films to demonstrate techno-science's societal impacts. Examines the relationship between media representations and techno-scientific practice.

WGST 460. Men and Masculinities. 3 Hours.

PR: WGST 170 or WGST 260. An advanced seminar in women's and gender studies that critically examines the concept of masculinity and its impact on men's and women's lives. Analyzes masculinities from cultural, historical, biological, philosophical, sociological, psychological, economic, and political perspectives.

WGST 484. Seminar:Capstone. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Required of all women's studies students. Students will broaden their theoretical definitions of feminism and women's studies to include non-western models and solutions, pairing this study with a local service project informed by global activists.

WGST 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

WGST 491. Independent Study. 1-18 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

WGST 493A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

WGST 494A-Z. Seminar. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual conern to students and faculty.

WGST 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

WGST 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

WGST 498. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study or research.



  • Jennifer E. Orlikoff - Ph.D. (Rutgers University)

Associate Professor

  • Jennifer Kasi Jackson - Ph.D. (University of Kentucky)

Assistant professor

  • Cynthia Gorman - Ph.D.