Averett University Undergraduate Catalog


Women’s and Gender Studies

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program (WGS) is an 18 credit minor that critically examines the place of women and gender in culture and society.  It is an interdisciplinary program that combines the analytic tools from different disciplines, incorporating both practical and theoretical approaches to understanding the role of gender in various societies.  This is a current popular field of study in academic environments that encourages participants to learn about cultural, social, economic, and other issues important in their own lives, regardless of gender.  The minor helps students recognize opportunities in a rapidly changing society and the minor flexibly complements any major. Course offerings also provide students with opportunities to integrate experiences from a variety of different fields of study.  The minor provides an education in gender issues that responds to an increasing demand for such expertise in many professions and offers strong preparation for further study in a variety of postgraduate fields and job markets, including business, human resources, health and medicine, counseling, education, government, and graduate studies.
Upon completion of the WGS minor, students should be able to:

  • Recognize how the social and cultural constructions of gender have shaped the experiences of men and women historically and geographically;
  • Understand connections between gender and power in a global context;
  • Examine gender roles from multiple perspectives and disciplines;
  • Evaluate feminist critical scholarship and methodologies;
  • Analyze the connections between gender inequalities and other forms of discrimination (race, class, ethnicity, etc.);
  • Develop abilities and skills to deal positively and effectively with gender issues;
  • Appreciate the ethical and social justice dimensions and implications of the study of gender.

The minor consists of two core classes (6 credits) and chosen electives (12 credits):



WGS200: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies


WGS300: Women’s Literature and Research


WGS electives (offerings vary each semester)




No more than two electives may be taken for WGS credit from any single department.  At least 9 of the 12 elective hours must be at the 300-400 level.


Research Project:
Students must include some specialized research and/or an internship as part of their WGS minor.  They may do so by completing a Capstone or Senior Seminar course in their respective majors: however, a WGS critical lens must be applied to the research project or internship to receive WGS credit.  The WGS Director and faculty member overseeing the student’s research in his or her major would need to approve the approach.  A syllabi for the Capstone or Seminar course will be created and overseen by the mentoring faculty member and a copy of it provided to the WGS Director in advance of the start of the student’s research.
If the student wishes for an internship to satisfy a requirement in the major or a general education requirement, significant attention must still be paid to having a WGS component of the project.  The student must obtain written approval in advance from the WGS Director and the professor teaching/overseeing the non-WGS requirement the student wishes to satisfy. 

Assessment of Minor—the Portfolio:
Because WGS classes are cross-listed with other discipline offerings, student mastery of these skills and content areas must be demonstrated beyond simply passing approved WGS classes. In order to ensure integrity of the WGS minor, students must submit a WGS Portfolio no later than the tenth week of his or her final semester of coursework.  The Portfolio must consist of three essays of no less than 5 pages each (not including works cited), all written for at least three different WGS classes. The major paper from WGS300, and a 1,500-2,000 word self-reflective essay will introduce the Portfolio must also be included. 

Course Descriptions:






Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies


This course provides an introduction to the dynamic, interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies.  By incorporating both contemporary and historical feminist material, the class will explore various definitions, movements, theories, applications, debates, intersections, waves, practices, contradictions and critical issues embedded within feminist and gender focused discourses. Fall.


Literature and Research


This course introduces students to representative works by and about women from historical, social, and literary perspectives.  Students read different literary forms and identify motifs, themes, and patterns in that literature.  Additionally, students learn historical, philosophical, religious, and cultural information to help increase understanding and appreciation of the works in context of Gender Studies generally.  Projects will be completed throughout the course that help students explore and apply how gender roles develop and change. Spring.

*Since the majority of electives in the WGS minor are cross-listed with other departmental offerings and are not on a set schedule, participants are encouraged to view the course descriptions online provided in the respective cross-listed department’s section.