Why Women's and Gender Studies?

So, what is Women's & Gender Studies?

The first women's studies programs in the United States and Canada made room for feminist scholars to research women's experiences and women's contributions to art, politics, history, and philosophy.

Today, feminist scholarship in Women's and Gender Studies is less centered on the category of "woman" and more focused on understanding gender as one of many interconnected social formations.

Research in our field is intersectional, which means that when we set out to understand social structures and human experiences, we recognize the ways that gender, race, class, sexuality, nation, age, and ability must be understood in relation to one another. Women's & Gender Studies research is also political and scholars in the field are generally committed to the broad goals of social justice.

This means that feminist researchers are interested not only in understanding the world, but we hope also to make a difference.

What's in it for me?
In a Women's and Gender Studies classroom, the opinions, experiences, and thoughts of all students are valued. In our classes, students are given room to learn about, and then to form educated opinions on, the world around them. WGS courses are open to all students and our classrooms are protected as Safe Spaces for students with diverse experiences and identities.

All courses in WGS train students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Given the emphasis on in-class participation, presentations, and independent research papers, students in WGS develop strong writing and researching abilities that can be applied in a wide variety of other settings.

Ultimately, our program is designed to offer you a solid base upon which to enter the workforce, to pursue further education, and to have an impact on the world.
Can I get a WGS degree?
Absolutely! And we'd be thrilled if you did!

Although you do not need to be working towards a degree in Women's & Gender Studies in order to register in one of our classes, we do encourage all students to consider taking a Major, Minor, or Combined Honours BA degree in Women's and Gender Studies. To find out more about our programs of study, courses, and cross-listed courses, view the Undergraduate Program pages.

You can also earn an MA in Gender and Social Justice! Check out the Graduate Program pages to learn more.
What can I do with a WGS degree? Like, career-wise...

Women's and Gender Studies prepares graduates to be engaged, curious, and active participants in their communities.

Some of our students move into the not-for-profit sector, working with organizations to support people in need. Others find work in provincial or territorial governments working to develop policies that support the broad social justice commitments that they studied as undergraduates. Many of our graduates take the LSAT admissions exam and enter law school, eventually to become lawyers in Canada and abroad. Some enter professions like social work, medicine, or occupational therapy. Others have drawn on their writing and analytic skills to work as editors, journalists, and communications experts. Many of our Honors students successfully apply to graduate schools in Canada and the US and, with their graduate degrees, have begun to teach a whole new generation of students in the field.

Some examples of employers who have hired our graduates include:

Why should I study in WGS at the U of A?
Our Department is nourished by a community of students, staff, and professors who are dedicated to equality and solid education.

Smaller class sizes permit a great deal of interaction and discussion.

Our faculty members are committed to offering educational experiences that will ground students in the field of Women's and Gender Studies while opening their minds to the possibilities across Campus and throughout our communities.

As part of that commitment, our programs allow our students to access to more than 25 courses offered by other units at the University, creating an education with greater depth and diversity. Several of our classes are affiliated with the Community Service-Learning program, which provides students guidance as they engage in volunteer work in our community.

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