Program History

The groundwork for establishing a Department Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta was laid through the hard work of a generation of faculty members and senior University administrators committed to improving the number of women among the professoriate.


  • As a response to growing interest in the academic study of women and women's issues, the Vice-President (Academic) struck a fifteen member Advisory Committee on Women's Studies.
  • The Committee's 1986 report recommended that the University establish an undergraduate degree program in Women's Studies, along with an Institute of Feminist Studies and an Interfaculty Council on Women's Studies.


  • The Women's Studies Program was formally launched, offering its first fifteen cross-listed courses.


  • The Women's Studies Program appointed its first tenure track faculty member, Dr. Winnie Tomm.
  • The first Women's Studies (W ST) courses were offered.
  • The Major and Minor programs were launched.
  • The first Women's Studies students were admitted to the program.


  • The program introduced an honours option.


  • On January 1, the Women's Studies Program officially became the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, earning full department status.


  • After much dedication and hard work, the Department of Women's & Gender Studies was awarded its own graduate program, MA in Gender and Social Justice Studies. (Read announcement article here.)


  • In the Fall Term, the first 8 Gender and Social Justice students began their journey toward a Master of Arts degree.