About the Major
SUNY Oneonta’s Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) major is an interdisciplinary program that takes gender and sexuality as defining categories of human experience. Intersectional in its approach, WGS recognizes that gender and gender inequality cannot be understood separately from race, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, class, ability and other markers of social power and difference.
The undergraduate major grew out of our WGS minor, which was founded in 1972 and is one of the oldest WGS programs in the state.
Using methodologies from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities, our courses equip students with the critical tools to understand cultural, social and historical constructions of gender and sexuality. You will take core courses in feminist theories and research methodologies and choose from a wide range of electives. In addition to examining ideas about femininity and masculinity across diverse historical periods and cultural contexts, the curriculum highlights the lenses offered by gay, lesbian, queer and transgender perspectives.
Experiential learning opportunities
A field rooted in activism for social justice and gender equity, Women’s and Gender Studies generates powerful, real-world connections between the classroom and our communities. Locally and regionally, our students complete internships in human and social services, in media centers, and legal and legislative offices. Every semester since fall 2011, WGS students have presented their academic research or their work in internships and other experiential-learning experiences at our semi-annual Student Symposium.
Our "Gender out of Bounds” series features informal faculty seminars, formal campus presentations and special guest lectures by visiting speakers, highlighting the unexpected, even surprising, ways in which we approach questions of gender and sexuality from diverse fields of study.
What can I do with this major?
By promoting critical thinking and analysis, effective communication and collaborative problem solving, the program will prepare you for a broad range of fields. Recent WGS graduates from Oneonta are developing social media campaigns with the Ad Council in New York City; pursuing Ph.D. and master’s degrees in education, sociology, public health, public policy and social work; and working as journalists, counselors, activists, teachers, advocates and police officers.
What students say about WGS
"I have written and rewritten this testimonial dozens of times trying to find the right words to describe what being a part of the WGS department is like. I have concluded that there will simply never be the proper words to express the way it feels to be a part of such a community. WGS has helped to shape my perception of the world and of myself, it has shown me unwavering support from my professors and my peers, and it has given me a sense of home and familiarity especially in times when the world feels unfamiliar. I am privileged and grateful to have found and engaged with the WGS department at Oneonta for it has never once let me down. I can only hope that after my time as an undergraduate student has expired and I take with me the tools WGS has equipped me with, I make the department just as proud as I feel to be in it." - Angela Boscarino
"Women's and Gender Studies has taught me so much about all classifications of people, not just women. It has also taught me a lot about myself."
"Regularly overlooked are the insights and cultural explorations founded in feminist research of Women’s Studies. Contrary to popular belief, Women’s Studies is not an educational vessel for male bashing, but a discovery of how equally important women have been throughout the world and throughout history."
“Through Women’s and Gender studies I feel as if I have found my own voice, and that my awareness of certain issues has encouraged me to inform others about these issues and how much they impact our everyday lives.”