Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

What is Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies?

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is an interdisciplinary field of study that draws from the humanities, social sciences, arts, and natural sciences to examine the lived experiences of marginalized groups as these are impacted by systems of power.

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Hear from WGSS program faculty members Sandibel Borges, Kong Pha, and Rose-Marie Avin, along with WGSS major, Kessa Albright. 

Watch this short video about what makes WGSS such a unique academic program at UW-Eau Claire.

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that draws from the humanities, social sciences, arts, and natural sciences to examine the lived experiences of marginalized groups as these are impacted by systems of power. The goal of the field is to develop critical feminist methodologies, theories, and epistemologies. These provide students with the tools to employ intersectional and transnational analyses that interrogate exploitation, imperialism, cis-heteropatriarchy, and white supremacy.

In addition to developing critical feminist perspectives through their coursework, our students apply the theoretical frameworks they learn in the classroom to real-life work and activist situations. Through their capstone seminar, all GWSS undertake an internship experience. The capstone students gain experience by working with community non-profits such as Planned Parenthood, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), Family Support Center, Bolton Refuge House, and EX-incarcerated People Organizing (EXPO).  Other students gain experience interning at the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center on campus.

Our core faculty, Dr. Sandibel Borges and Dr. Kong Peng Pha, bring expertise in feminist and queer interdisciplinary and transnational scholarship to our Program. Their teaching, which reflects their scholarly work, covers current and cutting-edge scholarship in the field, equipping students with abilities to critically analyze historical and current socio-political systems.

Our Affiliates illustrate a range of disciplines, including Psychology, History, English, Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, Communication and Journalism, etc.

Students can major and minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, in addition to getting Certificates in the following:

  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Women of Color Feminism Certificate (developing)

What do students do with a WGSS degree:

Students are well prepared to do organizing and activist work. They can also study law, do social work, obtain a graduate degree in the field of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Many students combine WGSS with another major. The interdisciplinary and critical perspectives in WGSS enrich all other fields of study.

For more information on Major and Minor, please click here.

For more information on International Opportunities/Cultural Immersion and Faculty-Student Collaboration, please click here.

 Blugold Insider

I really enjoyed Women’s Studies classes so much that I added Women’s Studies major on top of my other major (Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis). This program helped develop my critical thinking skills and this degree can be applied to any field you go into.

Katie Gorycki, WGSS major and Psychology major

Through the WGSS program, I have had abundant opportunities for both personal & professional growth. From organizing during the 2016 Presidential election, to becoming more aware of how institutional inequality appears in facets of daily life – the WGSS program at UWEC has taught me so much. I feel 100% prepared & confident that I will do important activist work after graduating in December.

Kessa Albright, WGSS major and Communication minor

Is this field a fit for me?

Enacted as a discipline, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is a site of social change and activism as much as theory. We provide many ways for you to expand your world view, from rigorous, rewarding classes on campus to hands-on learning experiences in the Eau Claire community and across the nation and globe.

What sorts of things happen in WGSS?

  • Learn about LGBTQ social movements and plan the Eau Queer Film Festival through a travel seminar in San Francisco.
  • Interact with women leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement and study their achievements through a class featuring a 10-day experiential learning excursion to significant southern locations where the movement unfolded.
  • Go on a study abroad trip with UW - Eau Claire faculty to Nicaragua, site of arguably the most dynamic women’s movement in Latin America. Students get a first-hand account of the struggles, creativity, and resiliency of women in the developing world.
  • Take a winterim course with students and faculty at the world renowned Miranda House College, New Delhi, India. Students learn about gender in relation to Indian law and public policy.

In addition to developing critical feminist perspectives through their coursework, our students apply the theoretical frameworks they learn in the classroom to real-life work and activist situations. Through their capstone seminar, all WGSS students undertake an internship experience. Capstone students gain experience working with community non-profit agencies such as Bolton Refuge House, Planned Parenthood, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), Family Support Center, and Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing (EXPO). Other students gain experience interning at the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center on campus.

San Francisco, Castro District

Film seminar heads for the Golden Gate

A group of UW-Eau Claire students embark today on a travel seminar that will take them to the Frameline Film Festival, the world’s largest international queer film fest in San Francisco, where they will create films.

Immersed in learning
Gretchen Bachmeier graduation

Why it matters

2014 graduate Gretchen Bachmeier gives her personal and powerful statement about what feminism means to her.

Gretchen's testimonial
The two newest graduates of the Women's Studies program.
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