University of Wisconsin–Madison
Students in Sterling

Gender & Women’s Studies Major

The Gender and Women’s Studies major provides a unique background for students seeking to analyze gender and other vectors of inequality, both historically and in contemporary society, as reflected through texts, social practices, and social institutions in the United States and abroad.  Graduates have gone on to provide this kind of analysis in fields like health policy, immigration law, social work, reproductive justice, educational administration, employment policy, medicine, architectural design, and media production.

The curriculum reflects the interdisciplinary nature of gender and women’s studies, offering to all students an opportunity to study gender and women in such areas as literature, history, anthropology, sociology, education, law, biology, psychology, philosophy, political science, economics, and the arts. Department courses have been designed to fulfill breadth requirements in the appropriate divisions.

The Department of Gender and Women’s Studies endorses the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Essential Learning Outcomes.  Drawing on UW’s essential learning outcomes, we have developed GWS Learning Outcomes for our majors that are cultivated through the structure of our major requirements.


Declare the Gender and Women's Studies Major

  • Learn more about GWS Major requirements

    Through the Guide, you can find more information about the requirements for the Gender and Women’s Studies Major. Please note: to declare the major in Gender and Women’s Studies, students must earn a B or better in one of the three introductory courses (Gen&WS 101, 102, or 103).

  • Advising for the GWS Major

    When you meet with the undergraduate advisor in Gender and Women’s Studies, you will learn more about the major, plan courses, discuss study abroad options, and discover how to get involved on campus and in the community.

    You can schedule an advising appointment online using the Scheduling Assistant; drop-in advising is every Tuesday from 2 to 4 pm.

    Also, you are welcome to contact the undergraduate advisor, Susan Nelson, by email ( with quick advising questions.

Honors in the Gender and Women's Studies Major

Are you eager to experience the excitement of original research? Honors in the Major is appropriate for students considering graduate work in gender and women’s studies or who want rigorous training in research, reasoning, and writing skills useful to a wide range of career choices. Students should consult with the department advisor to determine the best way to fulfill honors requirements and how to make the most out of the Honors in the Major experience in the field.

To develop a working relationship that may lead to thesis supervision, students should identify an area of interest, possible thesis advisors, and relevant coursework early in the major.

Learn more about the requirements for Honors in the Major in Gender and Women’s Studies.