Program information

The goal of the Program in Women and Gender Studies is to enable learners to recognize, analyze, and transform gender relations as they appear in everyday life. The program provides the opportunity to study women as social agents whose identities and experiences are shaped by systems of race, class, sexuality, and national power. At the same time, to study gender is to refute simple assertions about women, men, and gender binaries, and to strive instead for richly detailed accounts of the political, economic, and technological conditions through which relations of power have been established and maintained. Analyzing gender enriches our ability to apprehend the differing social roles assigned to individuals, the inequitable distribution of material resources, and the ties between structures of knowledge and larger systems of privilege and oppression. Courses examine women and gender relations in multiple cultural, historical, and material contexts, encouraging the use of transnational, multiracial feminist perspectives. Students may choose to either major or minor in women and gender studies. More information on the women and gender studies program is available on the website (

Major Requirements. Any student considering a major in women and gender studies should take WGST 100 and INDS 250 before the end of the sophomore year. Students must complete the following set of requirements: a total of ten courses, including WGST 100, AA/WS 201, INDS 250, WGST 400, and 457 or 458 (senior thesis). The remaining five courses may be chosen from the list that follows, at least two of which must be at the 300 or 400 level.

The women and gender studies course list represents only those courses that are currently part of the Bates curriculum. Students may use courses—including first-year seminars and topics courses—that were listed as women and gender studies core courses in a previous year, provided the catalog year is one in which the student was matriculated. No more than one Short Term course may be counted toward the major. The list of committee-approved first-year seminars appears in the course list below.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, many courses in women and gender studies have prerequisites in other departments. Majors should plan their schedules carefully and are urged to consult regularly with the chair to ensure that their program has both breadth and depth.

Planning for the senior thesis should begin in the junior year. In consultation with the chair of the program, each student chooses a thesis advisor according to the subject matter of the thesis. With the assistance of the thesis advisor, each major submits a thesis proposal to the Committee on Women and Gender Studies according to a schedule determined by the program. Students should consult the program website for thesis guidelines and a schedule of deadlines.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Aside from the thesis, which must be taken for a grade, there are no restrictions on the use of the pass/fail option within the major.

Minor. A minor in women and gender studies consists of WGST 100, AA/WS 201, INDS 250, WGST 400, at least one other 300- or 400-level women and gender studies course, and two other committee-approved courses. No more than one Short Term course may be counted toward the minor.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. There are no restrictions on the use of the pass/fail option within the minor.

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