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Women’s Studies Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is Women’s Studies?

Women’s Studies encourages inquiry into the full range of human experiences by raising new questions and opening new areas of research concerning women.  The discipline enriches the traditional arts and sciences curriculum by adding new perspectives on women’s lives and accomplishments.  Women’s Studies can broaden the education of both male and female students by helping them to understand the limitations placed on both men and women by narrowly defined gender roles.  The program offers a major, a minor, and a graduate certificate.  The graduate certificate is designed to provide a supplementary perspective for students already enrolled in graduate programs, to provide an entry into graduate study for those who are exploring a number of disciplinary approaches, to provide enrichment for members of the community who have a BA or an advanced degree, and to develop skills for professionals in various fields.  See the Women’s Studies home page

Career Opportunities in Women’s Studies

Wherever there is a need to understand women and an interest in the new roles they are playing in society, Women’s Studies can enhance a student’s career preparation and opportunities. Careers in public policy and government, education, law, social services, health, human resources, mental health services, journalism, and business may build on a foundation in Women’s Studies.

Salary Trends in Women’s Studies

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions.  Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (community service, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and can improve projected salary.

High School Preparation

Students find that a broad preparation in critical thinking, logic, research methods, and writing skill is beneficial in completing a major or minor in Women’s Studies. Students will be well-served by courses that promote an enjoyment of the arts, an understanding of diverse philosophies and methodologies, a tolerance for cross-cultural perspectives, and by building the skills needed to pursue basic as well as applied scholarship.

How to Major in Women’s Studies

Students should be in good academic standing and should declare their major by the end of their sophomore year, but may do so at any point in their academic career. The chair of Women’s Studies typically assists students in their course planning, clears advising holds, and signs petitions. Please visit the undergraduate page of the Women’s Studies web site to plan your own undergraduate program, To begin a course of study for the graduate certificate, visit

Requirements for Women’s Studies

The concentration consists of 30 semester hours.


  • WOST 220 – Women in Society*
  • WOST 310 – Women and Social Change

Select one course:

  • WOST 235 – Women in the Media*
  • WOST 240 – Women, Gender, and Sexuality*

Complete at least 3 hours:

  • WOST 493 – Independent Study

Select 9 hours:

any 300-400 level WOST courses

Select one course from each area:

Note: Because its content varies, WOST 400 may be included in any of the areas below when appropriate. Students are encouraged to take at least nine hours in one of the three areas.

Women’s Heritage

  • WOST 325 – Women in American History
  • WOST 484 – African-American Women in American Society

Contemporary Issues

  • WOST 320 – Gender and Religion
  • WOST 340 – Women, Politics, and the Law
  • WOST 370 – Gender and Globalization
  • WOST 375 – Gender in Society
  • WOST 382 – Philosophy of Feminism *
  • WOST 434 – Psychology of Gender

Literature and the Arts

  • WOST 330 – Women in Music *
  • WOST 332 – Women in American Literature
  • WOST 422 – Women Writers in Britain

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Foreign study (WS 491) and off campus study (WS 492) may count toward completion of the major and should be arranged in advance in consultation with a specific faculty sponsor and approval of the chair of Women’s Studies. The required independent study WS 493 is similarly arranged by individual drop/add process with a specific faculty sponsor and approval of the chair of Women’s Studies. Individual faculty sponsors may suggest appropriate topics for an independent study. A wide range of programs and opportunities are suitable for independent study projects; some options may be identified by visiting, for example, web sites for the National Women’s Studies Association ( and the American Association for University Women ( Students often pursue an advanced paper inspired by a topic covered only briefly in another class Please see the Women’s Studies web site for guidance on how to arrange an independent study

Highlights of Women’s Studies

The Women’s Studies program offers an education with outstanding scholars and artists across a wide range of disciplines within the humanities, law, health, and the social sciences. Women’s Studies courses help students to develop critical thinking about the economic, social, and legal factors influencing women’s roles in contemporary and historical societies and help students in evaluating those roles in the widest possible perspectives.

Ready for the World logo

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Dr. Pat Freeland
Women’s Studies Program, rm. 310 Jessie Harris Building
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-1930
phone: (865) 974-2409  fax: (865) 974-9530
email: or


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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