Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Equality through Understanding
The W offers both a major and a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies which are housed in The Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy. The major and minor in women's studies are grounded in MUW's history as America's first public college for women and its ongoing commitment to academic and leadership development for women.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, students in the minor critically examine the social construction of gender and the status of women in diverse cultural contexts and time periods. The women's studies program emphasizes both scholarly exploration and the application of knowledge to practical women's issues.
The minor requires 18 hours of coursework, including WS 200: Introduction to Women's Studies. Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students enjoy learning both in and out of the traditional classroom while independently researching women's issues, planning programming, preserving women's history and attending professional conferences. A Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor enhances any major and offers opportunities for creative projects and collaborative research with faculty mentors from a variety of disciplines.
The major in Women's Studies was approved by the IHL board in 2012 and the name was officially changed to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in 2022. Like the women's studies minor, it is interdisciplinary, but is housed in the Department of Langauges, Literature and Philosophy. The major requires 33 hours of coursework. WS 200: Introduction to Women's studies is required as a pre-requisite to the other courses in the major, and the program also requires either a senior level independent research Capstone project (WS 499) or a senior level internship.
This major fits naturally into the overall academic life of the campus, because an important part of The W's mission is academic and leadership development for women. The major is strongly connected with the mission of the Center for Women's Research and Public Policy, which is "dedicated to advancing research, providing information, and analyzing policies important to women and girls."
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies majors, which include men as well as women, will learn more about women's roles in all aspects of society, and by understanding old biases and barriers, will be better prepared to enter the workforce. Current women's studies students have completed internships which collected women's oral histories focused on women's educational history, military service, and the civil rights movement. They have worked as interns at the Southern Women in Public Service Conference and with the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women.