Women's and Gender Studies (WST)

Women's and gender studies is an interdisciplinary area of scholarship and research that focuses on the significance of gender as a variable in experience, history, and culture. Women's and gender studies raises questions that often have been ignored or marginalized, and it makes the experience and history of women central to the study of any human concern. Scholarship in women's and gender studies demonstrates the need to recognize new models of knowledge, as well as the need to be critical of theories and approaches that do not take into account the difference of gender. In so doing, women's studies serves as a site for "reflective critique," and it has often challenged the traditional disciplines to reflect on their concepts and methods in ways that have enriched those disciplines.

At Stony Brook, the Women's and Gender Studies program introduces students to the history of feminism, as well as its contemporary theories and methods. Feminist theory in a global context provides the background for a critique of the social construction of gender and its relation to other systems of privilege.

The major and minor in Women's and Gender Studies are designed for students interested in the interdisciplinary study of gender and women. The programs emphasize the development of skills in critical thinking, argumentation, and writing. The program consists of a set of core courses offered in women's studies as well as related courses in other disciplines. Students wishing to complete the major or minor should consult the Department and establish an advising folder by the beginning of the junior year.

Because it emphasizes transposable skills of reading, writing, analysis, and expression, women's and gender studies provides an excellent preparation for graduate school, professional school, or employment. Graduates have gone on to careers in law, medicine, social work, psychology, teaching, and business, among other fields, and graduate work in women's studies. Double majors, combining Women's and Gender Studies with another field, are not uncommon.

Students may choose to pursue a combined Women's and Gender Studies B.A. and Master of Public Health.