Curriculum Overview

Why Women & Gender Studies?

The field of Women and Gender Studies starts with the assumptions that all our lives are shaped by sex, gender, and sexuality; that they create dynamics of power and inequality that interact with other forms of difference (class, race/ethnicity, disability, age, nationality, religion, etc.), and that social inequality is unjust. Women and Gender Studies examines feminist and queer theory, historical origins, contemporary issues, and the possibilities of social change.

Women & Gender Studies at UIS is an interdisciplinary program which combines the substance and methodologies of many disciplines–history, sociology, anthropology, communications, psychology, literature, law and more–as we study sex, gender ans sexuality with an emphasis on women and sexual minorities. Our perspectives are increasingly global. Our goal is to introduce students to the approaches to the study of sex, gender and sexuality in a variety of fields so that they will be prepared for the challenges of working in coalition in the 21st century.

In the classroom, we are committed to creating positive and participatory learning environments. We emphasize student-centered and cooperative learning, critical thinking, openness to new ideas and discussion, and respect for others. We encourage students to make connections between thought and action, theory and practice, and the academy and community.

Degree Options

Undergraduate students at UIS may pursue a Women and Gender Studies minor through completion of 15 hours of WGS coursework. Graduate students may add a graduate certificate in Women & Gender Studies through the completion of WGS 501 and 8-12 hours of WGS electives. All students are welcome to take WGS classes as electives.

Students may also pursue a self-designed undergraduate or graduate degree concentrating in Women and Gender Studies. Anyone interested in pursuing one of these degrees should contact the Liberal Studies or Liberal and Integrative Studies (LIS or LNT) programs.

All students pursuing the minor, graduate certificate, or LNT/INO degree should contact a faculty advisor in the WGS department. Women and Gender Studies faculty assist students in planning a course of study, as well as in identifying experiential learning opportunities.