B.A. in Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Otterbein offers a major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Many of our students combine coursework in WGSS with other programs of study. Our most popular double majors are in English, Psychology, Sociology, and History/Political Science.

Requirements for the Major (33 hours)

Students who major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies must take the following:

  • a foundational core of four courses: WGSS 1100 (Introduction to WGSS), WGSS 2001 (Theories and Methods: Feminisms), WGSS 2002 (Theories and Methods: Gender and Sexuality Studies), and WGSS 3500: Advanced Seminar in WGSSS (12 hours)
  • a concentration in the focus area of their choosing (three courses, 9 hours)
  • additional elective courses (9 hours)
  • a senior capstone project: WGSS 4200 (Practicum in Collective Action), WGSS 4600 (Senior Research Project), or WGSS 4900 (Capstone Internship) (3 hours)

Twelve (12) hours of the WGSS major must be at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Foundation Courses in WGSS (12 hours)

  • WGSS 1100 Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • WGSS 2001 Theories and Methods: Feminisms
  • WGSS 2002 Theories and Methods: Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • WGSS 3500: Advanced Seminar in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Focus Area/Concentration (9 hours)

Upon completing the 2000-level foundational sequence, WGSS majors will be asked to declare a three-course concentration, or focus area, in the subject of their choosing. The concentration is designed to encourage coherent inquiry into an issue, period, field, discipline, thematic, critical problem, or research question in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
WGSS majors may choose from a list of standard options for the concentration or design one of their own (with the approval of the WGSS director).

Concentrations may include (but are not limited to):

  • Gender, Culture, and Representation 
    Possible coursework: Women as Subjects and Objects in the Visual Arts; Reading and Writing in Women’s Literatures; Reading and Writing in GLBTQ Literatures; Women and Music; Studies in Film, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Power and Identity
    Possible coursework: Sociology of Gender; Psychology of Women; Gender and Communication
  • Social Activism and Political Change
    Possible coursework: Race, Gender, Class, and Media; Organizing across Race, Gender, and Class: Gender and Feminist Political Theory
  • Queer Studies
    Possible coursework: Reading and Writing in GLBTQ Literatures; Screening Sexualities; Queer Theory; The History of Sexuality in the U.S; Gender, Sexuality, and Religion; Gender and Biology
  • Intersectional Studies
    Possible coursework: Poverty, Wealth, and Inequality; Mass Incarceration and the African-American Civil Rights Movement; Race, Gender, Class, and Media
  • Women and Leadership
    Possible coursework: Women and Leadership; Organizing Across Race, Class, Gender and Age; Leadership Practices
  • Individualized Concentration
    Designed by the WGSS major.

Elective WGSS Courses (9 hours)

  • Special topics courses in the WGSS program
  • Disciplinary courses that affiliate with the WGSS program
  • Selected FYS courses
  • Independent study in WGSS
Student Learning Outcomes University Learning Goals (KMERI*)
1. Students increase their knowledge of women‘s status in and contributions to past and contemporary societies. Knowledgeable, Multi-literate
2. Students analyze the effects of cultural attitudes, power and inequality, and social structures on the material conditions and lived experience of women. Knowledgeable, Engaged, Inquisitive
3. Students appreciate the rich and multiple histories of feminisms, feminist movements, and feminist theories. Knowledgeable, Multi-literate
4. Students are able to think broadly and comparatively about gender and sexuality: across multiple cultures, national and transnational contexts, and historical moments. Knowledgeable, Multi-literate
5. Students analyze gender as it intersects with other relations of power, such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, nationality, and ability. Multi-literate, Engaged
6. Students examine, complicate, and challenge the construction of sexed and gendered identities. Engaged, Inquisitive
7. Students explore the interconnections and distinctions between sexuality and gender in different contexts. Multi-literate, Inquisitive
8. Students develop awareness of the ways in which gender and sexuality shape their own lives, as well as the lives of individuals generally. Engaged, Responsible
9. Students understand and value the relationship between theoretical and experiential knowledge. Engaged, Responsible
10. Students develop new ideas and theories about gender and sexuality that challenge assumptions and contribute to social change. Responsible, Inquisitive
11. Students will demonstrate effective communication skills, both written and oral. Knowledgeable, Multi-literate
12. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking skills. Multi-literate, Engaged
13. Students will develop the ability to think divergently, creatively, and flexibly about complex ideas and issues. Multi-literate, Inquisitive
14. Students will be able to locate, analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate information from a variety of sources, including print and electronic media, film and video, and internet technologies. Multi-literate, Inquisitive

*NOTE: KMERI refers to Otterbein's learning goals. It stands for KnowledgeableMulti-literateEngagedResponsible, and Inquisitive. To learn more about KMERI, visit our University Learning Goals page.

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