The women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS) program examines how ideas about women, gender and sexuality are organizing principles of society that intersect with racialization, urbanization, immigration, (dis)ability, religion and a number of other historical phenomena. Our interdisciplinary program’s curriculum spans the four divisions of Earlham College and encourages you to take artistic, literary, social scientific, historical, psychological and medical approaches to gender and sexuality.
As a WGSS major, you’ll dedicate your first three years to deep engagement with your individual track of study, spending your time reading, writing, on the stage, in the laboratory, in the archive or at work in the community.
During your senior year, you’ll do a collaborative demonstrative project, where you present your work to the wider Earlham community. You will also take a capstone seminar, where you produce an original research project on an individualized topic that you workshop with your peers. You will end up with a coherent area of expertise that directly translates to your life and work after Earlham.
To earn a Bachelor of Arts in women’s, gender, sexuality studies, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements.
Choose a primary track within the major to focus your studies: history, social science, humanities, psychology and health studies.
You will complete:
Four courses in your primary track
Two courses in each of two secondary tracks
One Writing Intensive course
One Research Intensive course
This track focuses on how the concepts of women, gender and sexuality have changed over time. Courses that count toward the historical track include but are not limited to:
HIST TBD Women, Gender and Sexuality In Modern Africa
This track focuses on how the concepts of women, gender and sexuality are socially, culturally, politically, and economically constructed. Courses that count toward the social science track include but are not limited to:
POLS TBD Women and Politics in the United States
This track focuses on how the concepts of women, gender and sexuality grow out of representation practices in media, performance, film, literature and visual art Courses that count toward the humanities track include but are not limited to:
Psychology and Health Studies
This track focuses on how ideas about the mind, consciousness, neurobiology, health, genetics, and disease produce the concepts of women, gender and sexuality. Courses that count toward the psychology and public health track include but are not limited to:
To earn a minor in women’s, gender, sexuality studies, you must complete a total of five courses:
93% of work seekers who majored in a cross-divisional major between 2018-2022 were employed, pursuing graduate school or volunteering within six months of graduation.
100% of WGSS graduates from 2017-2019 were working or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Top sectors for WGSS grads include community and social services, education and nonprofits.
Approximately 70% of WGSS majors pursue graduate and professional programs. The most popular areas of graduate work are law, mental health, education, library science, non-profit management and creative writing.
What types of jobs and graduate school programs do graduates pursue?
Earlham’s women’s, gender, sexuality studies graduates are everywhere doing everything. They are attorneys and social workers, advocates, acupuncturists, schoolteachers, midwives, carpenters and college professors.
Approximately 70% of WGSS majors pursue graduate and professional programs. Majors have completed graduate degrees at the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, Iowa University, Smith College School of Social Work, Tuffs, Northeastern University, Indiana University, the City University of New York, Brown University and others.
WGSS graduates are using the skills and knowledge they gained in the program as:
- A fellow in the Office of the Chief Operating Officer at Planned Parenthood of America in Washington, D.C.
- A senior trial attorney at EEOC
- The executive director of JustFaith Ministries
- A principal at MC Lane Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in diversity education and organizational structures
- The dean of the library services at Bergen Community College
- A teacher at Youth Build Charter School of California and a member of their Youth Justice Coalition
What kind of research experience and internships are available?
It is a requirement of all WGSS majors to complete an internship before graduation. Internships can be done on an off-campus program, during the summer or in Richmond during the academic year.
Recent internships have included research at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, editing and publishing at the feminist publication Off Our Backs and working at the National Women’s History Alliance.
Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.