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10 US Universities With Top Womens & Gender Studies Programs

MAR 30, 2021

As Women's History Month comes to a close, we're concluding a month dedicated to celebrating women’s contributions throughout history with a blog dedicated to the next generation of leaders. For ambitious young people with career aspirations in women's advocacy, human rights, social services or something similar, we've compiled a list of 10 US universities with renowned Women’s & Gender Studies programs.

March is Women’s History Month, an annual observance in the US dedicated to celebrating the perseverance and achievements of women around the world. As so many of our students aim to study in the US, and some hope to follow in the footsteps of the female role models that have made strides in the global effort towards gender equality in recent decades, we wanted to wrap up the month with a useful resource for students eyeing a degree in Women’s & Gender Studies.

Read on to learn about 10 top Women’s & Gender Studies programs at US universities, with information on each compiled from their respective webpages. Compare degree programs at universities across the country to see which ones pique your interest!

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Harvard University

Harvard offers a degree called Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality which brings together a wide range of academic fields in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences (including history, literature, visual studies, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, LGBT studies, political science, psychology, and biology, to name a few). As an interdisciplinary field of study, Women, Gender, and Sexuality pay close attention to how social norms have changed over time and how they vary across cultures.

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Yale University

Students majoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale take a series of core courses, develop an individual area of concentration, and write a year-long or single-term senior essay. The program demands work that is interdisciplinary, intersectional, and international. Individual concentrations evolve along with students’ intellectual growth and academic expertise.

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Pomona College

The Gender & Women’s Studies (GWS) Program at Pomona focuses on the culturally and historically specific production of sexual difference, the wide-ranging impact of feminist research, and how gender intersects with other social forces such as race, sexuality, class, and colonialism. The GWS program offers a rigorous critical inquiry into these multiple forms of difference, challenging conventional assumptions about women, sexuality, and gender roles.

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Amherst College

To make sense of the world and make changes in the world around us, Amherst’s Women and Gender Studies graduates need a firm understanding of the histories and politics that have shaped conversations around women’s rights, sexual rights, reproductive justice, and trans and queer identities. Coupled with Amherst’s open curriculum, Amherst’s Women and Gender Studies program heavily encourages interdisciplinary study.

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Williams College

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) has existed in some form at Williams for over 30 years. Williams formalized Women’s Studies into a program in 1983, and name changes over the years have reflected increasing attention in the interdisciplinary field to issues of gender and sexuality studies. Integral to the WGSS program is the idea of intersectionality - that race, ethnicity, class, ability, nationality, and religion are essential factors in any critical understanding of gender and sexuality.

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Swarthmore College

Swarthmore’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program facilitates the interdisciplinary study of social relations of power in various texts, practices, and cultural and historical contexts. The program emphasizes the interrelationships among gender and sexuality, race, class, nation, and ability and connects such inquiry to local and global politics. Gender and Sexuality Studies brings feminist and LGBTQ theory in conversation with research in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences through courses offered across Swarthmore’s three academic divisions.

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Middlebury College

The Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (GSFS) at Middlebury is a dynamic interdisciplinary field that examines the social construction of gender and sexuality. GSFS courses utilize gender and sexuality as a mode of analysis, and Middlebury GSFS graduates pay particular attention to how gendered ideologies concerning race, class, ability, and other ways through which people experience the world.

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Bowdoin College

At Bowdoin, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies encourages students to interrogate how gender expressions such as masculinity and femininity and social norms around sexuality, reproduction, and the family vary across cultures and historical periods. The curriculum challenges the privileging of some categories of identity and experience over others and explores such patriarchal/matriarchal hierarchies’ social and political implications.

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Wellesley College

Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley, an all-women’s institution, provides a venue to explore the complex social realities that lead one to value the environment a women’s college can offer. Issues of women’s employment, healthcare, and social roles from the angles offered by each of these different disciplines. In many ways, the Women’s Studies Department encapsulates the liberal arts ideal, providing a classroom environment where students can critically analyze the world in which we live.

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Vanderbilt University

Gender and Sexuality Studies at Vanderbilt is an interdisciplinary department that encourages the development of critical perspectives in both intellectual and activist contexts. Gender and Sexuality Studies teaches students to re-examine traditional beliefs and to recognize that gender, race, class, ethnicity, age, sexuality, and nationality are crucial aspects of identity and can be understood primarily in their intersections.

Are you interested in a degree in Women’s & Gender Studies, a related minor, or an interdisciplinary program like any of the ones listed here? The first step is to research which universities offer the curriculum you’re looking for, along with the faculty, facilities and other factors that fit your criteria. To learn more about how Crimson can help you identify the degree and universities that are best suited to you, click the link below to schedule a free consultation with one of our Academic Advisors.

Alex N.

Written by

Alex N.

Alex is a longtime Crimson student who was admitted to Middlebury College to study physics. He enjoys poetry, history, philosophy, Spanish, and of course — physics! In his free time, he enjoys writing, exercising, and spending time with his friends.