Through the Women’s and Gender Studies program, you can pursue your interest in gender equity and social justice while developing skills that are sought after by employers and competitive graduate programs.
Through this major, you will examine the ways that gender — through its connection with other forms of power such as race, class, sexuality, and nationality — shapes lives, bodies, institutions, and worlds. The community-building focus of the program will contribute to both your intellectual growth and post-graduate employment opportunities in today’s ever-changing labor market. Women’s and Gender Studies majors work in a variety of fields, including business and industry, education, health care, politics, law, and social work.
Voices of Students and Alumni
“Being a WGST major enhanced my knowledge of how to develop content centered around Arab American women with disabilities as we advocate for our needs and propel positive systemic change.” - Hala Alazzawi
"With a passion to support oppressed and underserved communities, taking a WGST course expanded my lens and awareness of the struggles these communities experience." - Ali Ali
“Recognizing and fighting for social inequalities and taking pride in your identities is a powerful feeling, but being able to combine your efforts and pride with academic and historical insight heightens this feeling more than anything else. I carry my knowledge from these courses as I walk in marches, pen letters to congress people, work in the male dominated field of STEM, and interact with people of different backgrounds.” - Hania Khan
“As a male biochemistry student pursuing a career in medicine, you would think that WGST courses would be so far from me. In reality, they were exactly what I needed.” - Mohammad Ali Itani
“These courses helped me shape my politics as a Black feminist. As an aspiring therapist, I plan to take the valuable lessons I’ve learned in this curriculum and put them into practice with future Black and POC LGBTQ+ clients.” - Christa Mullins
“This program equipped me with the knowledge, skills, and awareness that are needed to be an effective social worker.” - Michael Nesbitt
"Through the WGST Program, I have had the opportunity to work on research projects, present at conferences around the country, and volunteer in the women’s prison. These experiences reinforced what I was learning in class and opened up new employment opportunities." - Becky Richardson
What Will I Learn?
Women’s and Gender Studies Program Goals:
- Analyze the ways gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, and class intersect to construct our social, cultural, and lived experiences.
- Apply the fundamental concepts, theories, and methods of women’s and gender studies scholarship, including the ways they challenge and/or enrich prevailing disciplinary approaches.
- Gain skills to recognize and understand the relationship between theory and practice as it relates to social and personal change.
Visit the University Catalog:
Making the Most of Your Major
See the WGST Major Map to get a more detailed, year-by-year view of how you can learn, engage, network, and transform your community and prepare for life after graduation. You are always welcome – and encouraged! – to meet with the program director to ask questions and discuss your plans and ideas.
- Check out student organizations related to gender equity and social justice such as the Alliance for DisAbility Awareness, PRIDE, the Social Justice League, Society of Women Engineers, and the Women Veterans Association. Explore UM-Dearborn student organizations on VictorsLink!
- Talk to the Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) director to learn about the program.
- Consider attending the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) over the summer.
- Talk to Dr. Brainer about becoming a student member of the National Women’s Studies Association.
Get Real World Experience
- Find out about internship and research opportunities.
- Visit the Office of International Affairs to plan and register for a Study Abroad course.
- Explore your passions through an independent thesis project.
Plan for Life After Graduation
A Women’s and Gender Studies degree can be applied to a multitude of careers. It signals to employers that you are well-rounded, having studied across the disciplines instead of in one narrow skill area. Career Services offers assistance with job searching, resumes, interviews, and graduate school applications.
We recommend this book for students who are thinking about how to frame and apply their WGST degree.
Learn About Our Faculty
Women’s and Gender Studies faculty teach and do research in diverse fields. Click the link below to read more about us and our work.
Below are some recent books published by our faculty.
- Crowdsourcing the Law: Trying Sexual Assault on Social Media by Francine Banner
- Capital Defense: Inside the Lives of America’s Death Penalty Lawyers by Jon Gould and Maya Barak
- Liberating Economics: Feminist Perspectives on Families, Work, and Globalization by Drucilla Barker, Suzanne Bergeron, and Susan Feiner
- Queer Kinship and Family Change in Taiwan by Amy Brainer
Other Programs Under the WGST Umbrella
Scholarships related to WGST and LGBTQ+ Studies (don’t miss out on these!)
- Shirley Dudek Demmer Memorial Scholarship
- Stokes-Hoffman Scholarship
- Critical Difference Fund: This is a smaller pot of money set aside by Women’s and Gender Studies to support students who are experiencing financial hardships that make it difficult to continue in the program. Please reach out to the program director, Dr. Brainer, if you are in need of this support.
Word art based on a survey of our majors, minors, and recent alumni describing their experience of Women’s and Gender Studies. The largest words are the ones people used most often: inclusive, critical, community, feminist, and engaged.