Women's and Gender Studies Major (B.A.)

Women's and Gender Studies Major (B.A.)
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What is women’s and gender studies?

In the women’s and gender studies degree program, you’ll explore basic questions about gender roles, gender identity and social justice while examining the diverse experiences of women in various cultures and historical eras. You’ll study the intersection of gender with topics that range from gaming and sports to diversity and activism. This interdisciplinary degree program draws on areas including sociology, history and popular culture.

Why study women’s and gender studies at UNH?

As a relatively small department in the College of Liberal Arts, we’ll provide you with a sense of community and opportunities to contribute directly to social justice, including through internships at innovative organizations both on and off campus. In a rigorous academic environment, our women’s and gender studies degree offers you a springboard for activism. You will benefit from a structured yet flexible undergraduate program on cutting-edge subjects that bridges theory and applied studies. Your course of study will be tailored to your interests. Additionally, you’ll receive excellent advising and mentoring to help you with career or graduate school preparation.

Potential careers

  • Arts
  • Business and industry
  • Education
  • Government and non-governmental organizations
  • Healthcare
  • Human services
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Writing
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Curriculum & Requirements

Women's and gender studies provides students with an understanding of the status of women in various cultures and historical eras, in the nexus of race, class, sexuality, religious and disability studies. Students learn the use of gender as a category of analysis and increase their knowledge of women's contributions to many fields. Women's and gender studies courses offer students critical perspectives on such basic questions of the social order as assumptions about gender roles and gender identity.

As a relatively small department in the College of Liberal Arts, we provide students with a sense of community and opportunities to contribute directly to changing the campus climate. In a rigorous academic environment, women's and gender studies offers students a springboard for activism. Our internship program enables students to gain first-hand work experience across many fields.

A major in women's and gender studies prepares students for careers where the changing roles of women are having a perceptible impact. Women's and gender studies graduates go on to law school and graduate school in a variety of disciplines. Some have taken positions with social change or family service agencies, while others have found work in such fields as health care, journalism, education, human rights, social and environmental justice, and the arts.

Students who wish to major in women's and gender studies should consult with the department chair or coordinator

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: Yes

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

The women's and gender studies major requires students to complete 40 credits of major-approved coursework with grades of C- or better and an overall grade point average in major courses of 2.00 or higher.

WS 401Introduction to Women's Studies4
or WS 405 Gender, Power and Privilege
WS 632Feminist Thought4
Discovery Program Capstone Requirement:
WS 798Colloquium4
or WS 799 Honors Thesis
Select seven additional courses chosen in consultation with a WS academic advisor 128
Total Credits40

At least two of the courses must be WS courses.  The remaining courses may be either WS courses or WS-faculty-approved courses offered in departments or programs outside of WS (cross-counted courses). A list of cross-counted courses can be found each semester at: https://cola.unh.edu/womens-gender-studies/cross-counted-courses-ws-schedule.

At least five courses for the major must be taken at the 600 level or above. Only two 400-level courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.

WS topic courses include:

444 Inquiry Courses

WS 444Trans/Forming Gender4
WS 444ARace Matters4
WS #444COn the Roads to Equality4
WS 444DCyborgs, Avatars, and Feminists: Gender in the Virtual World4

505 Surveys

WS 505 Survey in Women's Studies

Examples of course topics include:

  • Sustainability & Spirituality
  • Leadership for Social Change
  • Fashion This!
  • Intro to LGBTQ+ Studies
  • Exploring Masculinities 
  • Queer Cinema
  • Reproductive Justice 
  • Disability Justice

WS 510 Framing Feminism: Gender Politics in Film

798 Colloquiums

WS 798 Colloquium

Examples of course topics include:

  • Feminist Studies in Film and Queer Cinema 
  • Jewish Feminism, Politics, and Culture
  • Global Feminist Issues
  • Transgender Feminism
  • Theater as a Provocative Act
  • #Metoo Movement
  • Native and Indigenous Women
  • Queer Sustainability
  • Queer Theory

For a list of currently-approved cross-counted offerings from other departments, please check: cola.unh.edu/womens-gender-studies/cross-counted-courses-ws-schedule.

A practicum, internship course, and/or research with faculty is strongly recommended.

Women's and gender studies majors may use two major-required courses to satisfy two Discovery category requirements. First and second majors may double count no more than two courses between the WS major and another major or minor.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement. ASL: COMM 401 American Sign Language I and COMM 502 American Sign Language II may be used to satisfy the language competency requirement.

  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically about categories of difference—including gender, sexuality, race, nation, class, religion--and explore the relationship between inequality and those categories of difference.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how difference influences the values, beliefs, and experiences of individuals and groups in across historical, cultural, political and geographic contexts.
  • Define and apply central concepts in Women’s and Gender Studies and Queer Studies, including but not limited to sexuality, power, privilege, inequality, justice, violence, the body, reproductive health, and intersectionality (i.e., interlocking and simultaneous forms of oppression).
  • Know the history of feminist thought and production, especially as it has been inflected by cultural difference.
  • Demonstrate self-reflectiveness, cultural awareness, critical analysis, and the ability to effect personal and community change.
  • Write and speak clearly, be able to construct persuasive arguments based on their experiences, the experiences of others, and on scholarship; be able to conduct research using feminist methodologies.


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