Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies requires twelve term courses and may be taken either as a primary major or as one of two majors. Requirements include two intermediate courses selected from the following offerings: Bodies and Pleasures, Sex and Genders (WGSS 205); Transnational Approaches to Gender and Sexuality (WGSS 206); Gender, Justice, Power and Institutions (WGSS 207 ); Feminist and Queer Theory (WGSS 340 ). Majors are strongly encouraged to take these intermediate courses during their first two years. The major also requires two methodology courses, five courses in an area of concentration, the Junior Research Seminar (WGSS 398) and senior essay. The area of concentration consists of at least five courses, the majority of which should be drawn from program offerings. Substitutions to the major requirements may be made only with the written permission of the director of undergraduate studies.
Majors are required to take two intermediate courses selected from the following offerings: Bodies and Pleasures, Sex and Genders (WGSS 205); Transnational Approaches to Gender and Sexuality (WGSS 206); Gender, Justice, Power and Institutions (WGSS 207 ); Feminist and Queer Theory (WGSS 340). Majors are strongly encouraged to take these intermediate courses during their first two years.
Given its interdisciplinary nature, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies necessarily relies on a wide range of methodologies: literary criticism, ethnography, visual analysis, historiography, and quantitative data analysis, among others. Each student is expected to acquire competence in at least two methodologies relevant to their own concentration and planned senior essay. Students are advised to take the first of these courses during their first two years and to complete the two-course methods requirement in the junior year, in preparation for the senior essay.
Junior Research Seminar
All students in the major must take the Junior Research Seminar (WGSS 398), which provides majors opportunity to examine, synthesize and apply the interdisciplinary theory and methods to which they have been exposed while completing the intermediate course sequence and methodology requirement. (Individualized alternatives are found for students who study abroad during the junior year.)
Yearlong Senior Essay
The yearlong senior essay: The two-term senior sequence consists of the Senior Colloquium (WGSS 490), in which students begin researching and writing a senior essay, followed by the Senior Essay (WGSS 491), in which students complete the essay. The senior essay is developed and written under the guidance and supervision of a WGSS-affiliated faculty member with expertise in the area of concentration. Students are expected to meet with their essay advisers on a regular basis.
Single-term Senior Essay
The single-term senior essay: Majors may opt to complete the senior essay requirement in an approved upper-level WGSS seminar in the fall or spring term, with the approval of the instructor, by writing a senior essay of twenty-five to forty-five pages in lieu of the course’s normal writing requirements. Students who choose the single-term senior essay take one additional WGSS course of their choosing to fulfill the twelve-term-course requirement.
Senior Essay Guidelines
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior requirement)
Specific courses required Junior Research Seminar (WGSS 398)
Distribution of courses 2 intermediate courses; 2 methodology courses; 5 electives in area of concentration
Senior requirement Senior colloquium and senior essay (WGSS 490, 491); or single-term senior essay in an upper-level seminar and one additional elective
Major ‘road map’ and worksheet
The ‘road map’ and worksheet are references to help you plan your coursework.
WGSS Major Road map
WGSS Major Completion Worksheet
Access a full listing of WGSS courses for the current academic year in Yale Course search: