2015-16 Catalog

Publication date June 2015

Women's Studies Major - Bachelor of Arts (BA)

GENDER is a society's ideas about what it means to be male or female. Gender works with other ideas like RACE, CLASS, and SEXUAL ORIENTATION to shape our lives. It influences how we think about relationships. It structures our decisions about work and determines how much money we are likely to make. It disrupts health diagnoses and treatment. It stigmatizes behaviors and actions. It even helps determine what we eat, wear, and buy. 

And it has always generated action and organized movements seeking equality, worldwide.

The Department of WGSS enacts the Wisconsin Idea: that universities should produce knowledge and educate students in ways that serve real people. We study and teach on the lives of women, men, and sexual or gender identity minorities. We examine the ways that race, social class, age, and other socially constructed hierarchies connect to gender to impact people's real lives. We study how social change works and what social justice might look like. We use and teach students to use academic skills to make social change. We maintain the connection between theory and practice, issues and advocacy, throughout our curricula and in all our programs. 

(All colleges, excluding teacher certification programs)

33 credits (24 credits must be 300/400 level, and courses may not count in more than one category).


Admission to the major requires a grade of "C" or higher in any courses taken for the introductory or transnational categories. Students majoring in women’s studies and another major must satisfy requirements for both majors; no more than six credits can count for the women’s studies major and another major or minor.


Category I. Introductory
Select one of the following:3
Gender, Race and Class in American Institutions
Women's Voices / Women's Culture
Women's Diversity: Race, Class, and Culture
Category II. Transnational
Select one of the following:3
Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change in Religion
Globalization, Women, and Work
Gender and Human Rights
Women, Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe
Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Latin America
Women in South Asia
Women and Gender in Africa
Women and Gender in the Middle East
Women and Politics in Asia
Women and Politics in the Middle East
Women and Politics in Africa
Women and Politics in Latin America
Category III. Intimacy, sexuality, and the family
Select two of the following:6
Introduction to LGBT Studies
History of Motherhood in the United States
Violence Against Women
The Gendered Body in History and Today
The History of Black Women's Activism
Lesbian Studies
Women of Color and Autobiography
Gender Communication
Sexual Health Promotion
Philosophy of Love, Sex and Friendship
Human Sexuality
Psychology of Women
Men and Masculinities
Sociology of Gender
Category IV. Gender stratification
Select two of the following:6
Women's Diversity: Race, Class, and Culture
Women in the Military
Girls and Women in Sport
Women in the Modern United States: 1890-Present
Violence Against Women
Images of African American Women
The Gendered Body in History and Today
Sociological Aspects of Work and Life
Women, Learning and Knowledge
The History of Black Women's Activism
Women, Poverty and Public Policy
Women and Society
History of Women in the Ancient World
Women in the U.S. Economy
Women and Popular Culture
Women's Health Issues
Women and Politics
Category V. Feminisms/social change
Select two of the following:6
Social Justice and Peer Education
Search for Economic Justice
Women and Leadership
Girls and Women in Sport
Gender, Justice, and Film
History of Feminist Thought
Gendered Violence Prevention
Black Feminist Thought
Hip Hop Culture, Race, and Gender
The History of Black Women's Activism
Gender and Human Rights
Lesbian Studies
Internship in Women's Studies
Women Authors
Advanced Study of Women's Literature
Women and Diversity in Philosophy
Changing the Culture, Women in Science
Category VI. Theory and practice
WGS/HIS 315History of Feminist Thought3
or WGS 325 Black Feminist Thought
WGS 390Social Justice Research Methods3
WGS 499Women's Studies Seminar3
Total Credits33

All students must complete the general education, college core, major/minor, and university degree requirements in order to qualify for a degree. The easiest way to track all of these requirements is to refer to the Advisement Report (AR) found in the Student Information System (WINGS) Student Center. All enrolled students have access to the AR. 

College of Liberal Studies (CLS/SAC) Bachelor of Arts core requirements

The following conditions apply to one or both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees:

  1. Students majoring in English or in a modern language must earn a Bachelor of Arts degree (education majors earn a Bachelor of Science degree).
  2. Students majoring in other CLS programs may choose either a B.A. or a B.S. degree.
  3. Language courses (CHI, FRE, GER, RUS, SPA, MLG) used to fulfill general education requirement: "Mathematical/logical systems and modern languages" (GE 02, category 2) may also be used to meet the B.A. and B.S. language requirements.
  4. All other courses used to meet the requirements below must be in addition to the minimum 39 credits required in the General Education Program.
  5. At least one course in the B.A. or B.S. college degree program (core requirements) must be a CLS designated diversity course.
  6. Applicable courses may be found on the CLS B.A./B.S. Degree Option Course List or in the Advisement Report (AR) when the degree has been declared.

Courses used to fulfill general education requirements will not apply to core requirements except for language courses (CHI, FRE, GER, RUS, SPA, MLG) that count in the general education requirement: "Mathematical/logical systems and modern languages" (GE 02, category 2).

Declare ONE of the following tracks in the CLS Academic Services Office in 260 Morris Hall:

A. Language track

  1. Native speakers of English complete:
    Select one of the following:
    Intermediate Chinese II
    Intermediate French II
    Intermediate German II
    Intermediate Russian II
    Intermediate Spanish II
    World Languages: Intermediate II
    Heritage Language: Intermediate
    Heritage Language: Advanced
    Non-native speakers of English: score at least 80 on the La Crosse Battery of exams for non-native speakers of English; or submit a TOEFL or IELTS score that meets the university's English language proficiency requirement for admission; or complete ESL 252 or ESL 253, and one additional course from ESL 250, ESL 251, ESL 252, ESL 253. (Contact the English as a Second Language Institute for eligibility and regulations); and
  2. Two additional courses outside of the student's major in two of the following: humanities, social sciences or fine arts.

B. Humanities track

  1. One modern language course 102 or higher or an Office of International Education (OIE) approved semester long study abroad experience combined with the INS 250, INS 251, INS 252 sequence; and
  2. Two additional courses outside the department of the student's major from two different departments chosen from: history, English, philosophy; and
  3. One additional course in social sciences or fine arts.

C. Fine arts track

  1. One modern language course 102 or higher or an Office of International Education (OIE) approved semester long study abroad experience combined with the INS 250, INS 251, INS 252 sequence; and
  2. Two additional courses outside the department of the student's major from two different departments chosen from: art, communication studies, music, theatre; and
  3. One additional course in social sciences or humanities.
In addition to all other College of Liberal Studies core requirements, all students in CLS must complete a second major, minor, or program option by satisfying one of the following:
  1. Complete a minor (or second major) outside of the student's major program, consisting of at least 18 credits; or
  2. Complete an emphasis, program or concentration of at least 18 credits outside the student's major program. General education courses may apply provided they are not being used to fulfill minimum general education requirements; or
  3. Complete 18 credits in two or more departments or programs (at least 12 credits earned at the 300/400 level). These courses must be outside the student's major department and can be from any college. General education courses may apply provided they are not being used to fulfill minimum general education requirements.

Baccalaureate degree requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degrees must accomplish the following:

  1. Fulfill the general education requirements.
  2. Complete at least one ethnic studies (diversity) course.
  3. Complete the courses prescribed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the degree desired in the respective school or college. (No substitutions for graduation may be made in course requirements for a major or minor after the fourth week of the last semester of the senior year.)
  4. Earn a minimum of 120 semester credits with at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.1 At least 40 credits must be earned in 300/400 (senior college) level courses. Courses earned at the 100/200 level that transferred to UW-L as 300/400 level courses do not apply to this requirement nor do courses from two-year schools.
  5. Complete major and minor requirements with at least a 2.00 GPA1 in each major and minor (and concentration or emphasis, if selected).
  6. A minimum of 30 semester credits in residence at UW-L is required for graduation. (See undergraduate resident requirement.)
  7. File a completed "Apply for Graduation" form via the WINGS Student Center as soon as the student has registered for his or her final semester or summer term in residence. December and winter intersession graduates should file by May 1. May and summer graduates should file by December 1.

Grade point average requirements for some programs will be considerably higher than 2.00. Re-entering students may be required to earn credits in excess of the 120 needed for graduation in any curriculum in order to replace credits earned in courses in which the content has changed substantially in recent years. Each case will be judged on its own merit.

No degree will be awarded unless all requirements are fulfilled and recorded within 30 days after the official ending date of each term.

Below is a sample degree plan that can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). This sample plan also assumes readiness for each course and/or major plan. Actual degree plans may differ. Some courses may not be offered every term. Review course descriptions or the class timetable for course offering information.

The sample degree plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UW-L in the fall term. Students should use the Advisement Report (AR) in WINGS and work closely with their faculty advisor(s) and college dean’s office to ensure declaration and completion of all requirements in a timely manner.

General Education Program
General education (Gen Ed) is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UW-L. Sample degree plans include Gen Ed placeholders to ensure completion of the general education curriculum. Courses may be rearranged to fit the needs or recommendations of the student’s program of study. Gen Ed courses may be taken during winter term (January between the semesters) and summer to reduce the course load during regular terms (fall and spring). Consult with your advisor and/or the assistant to the dean in your college for assistance with course and schedule planning. Refer to the general education requirements for more specific details.

Note: at least 40 credits of the 120 credits required must be earned at the 300/400 level.

This sample degree plan does not establish a contractual agreement. It identifies the minimum requirements a student must successfully complete, to qualify for a degree, in a format intended to assist the student plan their academic career.

Year 1
WGS 100, 230, or 210 (Gen Ed Minority Cultures)3CST 110 (Gen Ed Literacy - Oral)3
Gen Ed Math4Gen Ed Global Studies3
HIS 101, 102, or ARC 200 (Gen Ed World History)3WGS Transnational Course3
ENG 110 or 112 (Gen Ed Literacy - Written)3Gen Ed Arts2-3
Gen Ed Arts2-3Gen Ed Natural Lab Science4
 15 15
Year 2
Gen Ed Health & Well Being3CLS Core Course3
Minor Course3102+ Level Gen Ed/CLS Core Language14
Gen Ed Hum-Lit3WGS Stratification Course3
WGS Intimacy Course3Gen Ed Elective3
Gen Ed Self & Society3Gen Ed Elective3
 15 16
Year 3
University Elective3Minor Course3
WGS 3903WGS Intimacy Course3
Minor Course3Minor Course3
University Elective3WGS 315 or 3253
WGS Stratification Course3University Elective3
 15 15
Year 4
University Elective3WGS Social Change Course3
WGS Social Change Course3Minor Course3
WGS 4993CLS Core Elective3
Minor Course3University Elective2
Gen Ed Elective3CLS Core Diversity Elective3
 15 14
Total Credits: 120

At least two courses must be designed as writing emphasis.


CLS Core Humanities and Fine Arts Tracks require 102+ level language. CLS Core Language Track requires 202 level language. Students unprepared for 202 level will need to complete prerequisite course work.

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