Bachelor of Arts in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Given the rapidly shifting changes in how we consider human identity and experience and the body of research that has grown over the past half-century, few areas of study can be considered more dynamic or relevant than the field of women's, gender and sexuality studies. At Brandeis, the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program (WGS) is a locus of research, education, social engagement and activities that explore and expand our understanding of how gender and sexuality intersect with race, class, culture, religion, ability and more.
Whether you major or minor, you will be part of a diverse, inquisitive and intellectually rigorous community with whom to engage theories of feminism, gender and sexuality; the diversity of women’s experiences and representations, past and present; and social movements in the United States and around the world. You may also pursue a minor in sexuality and queer studies (SQS), which is supported by WGS.
As a WGS or SQS major or minor, you’ll be prepared for a career in a wide range of professions, including law, health care and public health, social service, public policy, advocacy and higher education. Many of our graduates also pursue graduate work in law, social work and a variety of other fields.
Our approach is decidedly intersectional and necessarily interdisciplinary, calling upon the arts and humanities as well as the social sciences to provide a variety of perspectives from which to interrogate complex questions of women, gender and sexuality.
In keeping with the Brandeis ethos, our program has a strong emphasis on social engagement and social justice, encouraging learning in the classroom and creating change in the community. Our faculty will be remarkably supportive of both your academics and your activism.
Academics and Research
If you are qualified, you may choose to conduct extensive independent research in a topic of your choice and write an honors essay (one semester, 30-50 pages) or an honors thesis (two semesters, 60-90 pages). Whether you choose the essay or the thesis, an oral defense will be required.
Student and Faculty Excellence
Our faculty combine disciplinary focus with interdisciplinary methodologies and insights. While they come from 23 departments and programs representing a wide range of specialties in the arts, humanities and social sciences, all are deeply committed to the study of women, gender and sexuality. Their scholarship is widely recognized and their teaching consistently praised, and they are highly productive:
Anita Hill’s 2011 book “Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home” combines the study of commercial and anti-discrimination law with an examination of culture and society to address the 2008 foreclosure crisis and its ongoing impact.
Harleen Singh works on questions of history, politics and identity and their intersection with literary analysis, film and feminist theory. Her 2014 book “The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History and Fable in India” interprets the images of an historical icon in literature, film, history and popular culture.
Jill Greenlee investigates the relationships between major life cycle events, such as becoming a parent, and the political attitudes and behaviors of ordinary citizens.
Outside the Classroom
We encourage you to seek an internship with an organization in an organization focused on women, gender or sexuality that you believe in and are committed to supporting with your energy and time. Your internship should provide you with the opportunity to participate actively by developing or contributing to a specific program or project.
Our students have done internships around the world from Boston to Boulder, from Costa Rica to Haiti, from the Sudan to India. Some internships even turn into jobs.
WGS provides funding for students pursing summer internships through the Rapaporte Foundation Grant.
Graduate Study, Careers and Alumni
Many of our alumni go on to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in law; social work; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and a variety of other fields.
WGS offers several joint MA programs. The joint master's degree option may be pursued independently, or in conjunction with a PhD in one of several fields. We do not offer a PhD solely in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
WGS graduates work in fields as varied as the arts, advocacy, consulting, health care, public policy, and broadcast journalism.
Recent alumni have gone on to work as a community outreach specialist for a domestic violence shelter, a health care associate for Planned Parenthood, a legal associate for a New York law firm, a counselor at a Boston-area hospital and a physician with an interest in refugee children.