Program Overview

Gender Studies offers students an interdisciplinary examination of the role of gender across the spectrum of human experience. The program investigates how gender functions and shapes the lives and experiences of women and men, including the institutional, social, and scientific forces that create meaning around gender; the struggles and achievements of women across cultures and time; and the study of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) identity and communities.

Courses in the Gender Studies Program invite students to explore topics such as: the social construction of femininity and masculinity from both historical and contemporary perspectives; the intersections of gender with race, class, religion, nationality, age, sexual orientation, and other social categories; gender and the body; gender and sexual identity as organizing factors in social institutions and creative production; gender within international contexts; and feminist theory.

The gender studies program consists of a core set of courses taught by faculty from a variety of disciplines as well as electives from across the university. Students in the program build their understanding of gender through academic study as well as community-based learning and action. The curriculum as a whole enables students to develop the analytic and communication skills crucial to professional success, while at the same time deepening their understanding of the history and contemporary dynamics of gender.

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Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core, and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

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Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

  • At least half of the credits for the major must be completed at Metropolitan State University.
  • Up to 12 lower division credits (100 and 200 level courses) may be applied to the major.
  • Students should select electives in consultation with a program advisor.
  • Transfer courses may be applicable to major requirements. The university's degree audit will specify transfer courses that are directly equivalent to major requirements; other transfer courses must be approved by a faculty advisor in the Gender Studies Program or its coordinator.

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Course List

Prerequisites

Requirements ( 120 total credits)

Gender Studies Prerequisite (2-4 credits)

One of the following is required:

  • One of the following classes is required:
    • INFS 115 Information Access
      2 credits

      Research expertise is required in all academic programs and in an educated citizenry. In this class, students explore critical issues about information literacy and learn practical step-by-step techniques for discerning and analyzing information resources, including online databases and World Wide Web sites. The application of these skills to any subject area is demonstrated through a final project requiring the development of a search strategy and the gathering of quality resources on a topic of academic or personal interest. These skills support lifelong learning.

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    • INFS 315 Searching for Information
      4 credits

      A student completing this course understands the process of finding, synthesizing, evaluating, and documenting sufficient and reliable information appropriate to a variety of purposes including upper division coursework, senior capstone papers or professional writing, and communication tasks. Students also explore a number of the contemporary issues surrounding information in society, have opportunities to use and/or visit primary resource collections and learn a variety of research techniques. Specific sections of the course will structure assignments around a course theme identified in the class schedule. Prior themes have included Civil Rights, Holocaust and Genocide, Crime and Punishment, Food, Immigration, and Health Care. Both themed and non-themed sections are offered every semester as are online and in-class sections.

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Gender Studies Core Courses

  • GNDR 201 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
    4 credits

    This course provides an introduction to gender and women's studies, an interdisciplinary field that critically analyzes themes of gender and power in a range of social spheres such as education, government, law, culture, work, medicine and the family. The course will explore the complex ways in which gender interacts with class, race, ethnicity, sexuality and age within these spheres and social institutions. The class addresses questions such as the following: Why has gender been an organizing principle of society? How do different expectations for men and women emerge in different societies and historical periods? How do race and sexuality influence and differently shape our experiences of gender? How do we explain the sexual division of labor and the unequal status of women? Close attention will be paid to the connection between social structure and human agency: how are people's lived experiences both shaped and limited by social forces, and how is experience reshaped or reproduced through human action? This course sometimes includes service-learning components.

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  • GNDR 345 Global Perspectives on Gender
    4 credits

    This course critically analyzes global issues related to gender and sexuality from historical, social scientific and interdisciplinary perspectives. We will question commonly accepted notions of gender and sexuality and perceived social roles both historically and beyond the framework of U.S. and western societies. Areas to be explored include culture, economic development, education, government, health and law. Special attention will be given to such issues as human rights and public activism. The class will engage in understanding gender and sexuality within the contexts of shifting local and global power dynamics and as necessarily interconnected with race, ethnicity, class, and (neo) colonialism.

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  • GNDR 365 The Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality
    4 credits

    This course studies the socio-cultural, political, and conceptual bases of contemporary identity formation in gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual communities. Variable topics of study, focused primarily on the United States, examine the development of communal and political GLBT identity rooted in the philosophical, social, and political debates and challenges among and between GLBT people since 1945: the Homophile movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the Stonewall Riot of 1969 and Gay liberation movements of the 1970s, lesbian feminism and the politicization of sexuality, the HIV Crisis, GLBT civil rights and public policy, transgender politics, race and its relationship to sexuality, and cultural, literary, and filmic expressions of GLBT identity.

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  • GNDR 375 Intersectionality
    4 credits

    This course examines the concept of Intersectionality (the simultaneous effects of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality and other social and descriptive categories on identity formation and experience), including an evaluative overview of the concept; feminist roots and derivations of the idea; criticism of the concept from a variety of standpoints; and practical and ethical dimensions and applications of the concept in scholarship. This course has a significant focus on race and racism.

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  • GNDR 399 Applied Concepts in Gender Studies
    4 credits

    Building on principles and foundations gained in previous classwork, the Applied Concepts course will pursue a different topic each spring semester in the areas of gender, women's studies, and/or sexuality. Designed to be an integrative experience, the course will engage students in discussion, critical response to research, and application of disciplinary concepts. Attention will be paid to the future of the Gender Studies student, how to link coursework to potential careers, and consideration of the practical and ethical dimensions of taking Gender Studies concepts into the world beyond the university. Students pursuing a major or minor in Gender Studies should plan to take this course in their last spring semester (as close to graduation as possible).

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Gender Studies Electives (to reach 36 credits)

  • ANTH 302 Gender and Culture
    4 credits

    What is gender? How can we understand differences in gender and sexuality? Through the perspective of cultural anthropology, students examine how gender is perceived and realized in a range of human societies. Discussions on the biological/cultural determinants of gender are considered. Ethnographic materials explore how gender varies cross culturally and historically and is related to social power. Students engage with contemporary debates surrounding such themes as marriage, family, human rights, and sexuality.

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  • BIOL 106 Biology of Women
    4 credits

    This course is an introduction to the health and biology of women, focusing on the major health and disease concerns for women (heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, menstruation, pregnancy, infertility) and the biological systems involved (cardiovascular, neurological, skeletal, endocrine, and reproductive etc.). No dissection is required. Lab included. Intended for general education students and students needing a one-semester introduction to human biology or the biology of women.

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  • CJS 318 Women and Crime
    4 credits

    This course will be comprised of material on three main topics: women as offenders, women as victims of gendered violence, and women working in the criminal justice system. Women's involvement in criminal activity has been ignored by traditional criminological theories/theorists. This course will examine the frequency and nature of women's involvement along with the more modern theories which we can use to understand these phenomena. Students will also learn about the issues surrounding gendered violence including stalking, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Finally, students will learn about the special issues surrounding women's work in the traditionally male-dominated fields of corrections and law enforcement.

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  • COMM 321 Gender, Sport and Communication in the U.S.
    4 credits

    This course explores gender and sport from a communication perspective. The course will consider professional, amateur and youth sport through the lenses of gender and language/media. Questions addressed include: How do traditional and non-traditional constructions of femininity work toward the marginalization or empowerment of women in sport? How is masculinity expressed, embodied, and reproduced through organized sport? Do the sports media of countries outside of the U.S. construct gender differently? How do race, class and disability interact with gender in the media-saturated world of sport? Course readings and visual materials include feminist theory; historical accounts of gender and sport; and primary media sources (magazines, newspapers, TV clips, films) Student learn communication techniques such as debating, doing oral presentations, and analyzing visual media.

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  • ECON 315 Economics of Diversity
    4 credits

    This course uses various techniques to examine issues and problems relevant to the themes of race, ethnicity, gender, preference and class. Topics include: how race, ethnicity and gender arise in economics and how they relate to the labor market; the impact of national economic policies on diverse groups; the economics of discrimination; and questions related to domestic partner issues.

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  • ETHS 354 Latina/o Gender and Sexuality
    4 credits

    This course studies concepts of gender and sexuality in US Latina/o communities. Particular foci of the course are concepts of femininity and masculinity, the family, feminist critical analysis, and contemporary Latina/o lesbian and gay expressions of identity. The course approaches its topics through an interdisciplinary framework using scholarship, memoir, manifesto, and popular culture.

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  • ETHS 363 Asian American Women: Myths and Realities
    4 credits

    This course examines myths and ideological teachings concerning Asian American women, and how these shape their experiences in the United States. Analyses of myths about Asian American women as obedient, submissive, and as sexual objects will be explored. Scholarly writings that present knowledge and critical understanding of these women's experiences and their issues will be part of course readings and discussions.

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  • GNDR 220 Introductory Topics in Gender Studies
    0 credits

    This course explores, at an introductory level, contemporary and historical issues not represented in regularly scheduled courses in the Gender Studies program or in other departments.

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  • GNDR 300 Topics in Gender Studies
    0 credits

    This course explores contemporary and historical issues not represented in regularly scheduled courses in the Gender Studies program or in other departments.

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  • GNDR 365 The Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality
    4 credits

    This course studies the socio-cultural, political, and conceptual bases of contemporary identity formation in gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual communities. Variable topics of study, focused primarily on the United States, examine the development of communal and political GLBT identity rooted in the philosophical, social, and political debates and challenges among and between GLBT people since 1945: the Homophile movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the Stonewall Riot of 1969 and Gay liberation movements of the 1970s, lesbian feminism and the politicization of sexuality, the HIV Crisis, GLBT civil rights and public policy, transgender politics, race and its relationship to sexuality, and cultural, literary, and filmic expressions of GLBT identity.

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  • GNDR 367 Transgender Identities
    4 credits

    This course examines transgender as a social, cultural, individual, and communal identity category, with a focus on the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, and other socially constructed identities to better understand the nature and experience of transgender peoples and communities. Specific topics examined in the course may include the impact of social institutions, such as the legal system, education, media, the family, and the workplace; social movements organized around transgender identity; transgender social history and activism; and theories of identity and society focused on or by transgender peoples.

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  • GNDR 369 GLBT Issues In Literature and Film
    4 credits

    Once a uniformly banned and censored subject, these orientations have been treated with increasing frequency in modern culture. This course examines history and themes in the presentation of "glbt" people, by "glbt" people in novels, plays, poetry, essays, documentaries and films. The course examines perceived notions of the relationship between gender and sexuality, and common themes in the material, including love, desire, tolerance, conflict and social change.

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  • HIST 309 Women and Public Activism
    4 credits

    This course examines women's public activism in the United States from the Republican period to the social movements of the 1960s. Thematic emphasis is on an analysis of how women's position outside traditional politics determined the direction of their activism over time, with particular attention to the development of collective efforts to achieve legal, political, economic and social equality with men. Students consider how ethnicity, race and class differences among women affected these coalitions for social change. In addition, students learn to understand how the civil rights and women's movements created opportunities for women to change mainstream politics by the 1970s.

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  • HIST 328 Women in Modern U.S. History
    4 credits

    This course examines how and why political, economic, and cultural events and social customs in modern America were influenced by and shaped the life experiences of women from diverse ethnic, racial, and class backgrounds. We will also examine when and how women organized collectively to improve the quality of their lives. The course introduces students to many aspects of women's everyday life in modern America-family life, sexuality, work, friendship, leisure, consumerism, and public activism-through documents, films, lectures, discussions, and recent scholarship in U.S. women's history.

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  • HIST 339 History of Sexuality: Modern Perspectives
    4 credits

    This course will examine the tension between the private life and public controversies about sexual expression and identity in modern U.S. history. Students will consider the preconditions that gave rise to collective behavior calling for increased regulation of private life as well as examine when, why, and how groups organized to reclaim individual rights to free expression. Consequently, this course is organized around the following sources of public debate about sexuality over time: reproduction and reproductive freedom; patterns of sexual behavior within and outside of the family; consumer culture and mass media; and the formulation of sexual identities.

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  • HIST 357 Gender in Early Modern Europe
    4 credits

    This course explores gender in early modern Europe with an emphasis on women, both ordinary and elite. With lives and experiences as diverse as the Europe in which they lived, women in the period from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century were not only daughters, wives and mothers, but also prophets, witches, writers, artists, artisans, queens and courtesans. Applying gender analysis to early modern European society allows for better understanding of how people both shape and are shaped by the time and place in which they live.

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  • HIST 394 Comparative Women's History
    4 credits

    This course compares women as global citizens in a least two cultures or regions of the world. Topics to be covered include women's involvement in family, reproduction, work, education, social and public activism, and war as well as cultural, racial/ethnic, class, generational and ideological differences among women. We will examine these issues in such global contexts as capitalism, industrialization, imperialism/colonialism, socialism and international law.

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  • HIST 451 American Women's Movements
    4 credits

    This independent study, designed for students with a background in women's history or women's studies, examines from an interdisciplinary perspective a variety of women's movements in the United States. It considers how women's movements have been influenced by and have influenced major social, political, and economic developments in the United States. Students use theoretical explanations of collective behavior, social movements and identity politics to analyze why social movements for women's rights have occurred during particular periods in U.S. history.

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  • IDST 330 Women in Math, Science and Technology
    4 credits

    This interdisciplinary course explores the history, theory and methods of analysis for understanding institutional barriers to women's participation in math, science, and technology. Students will explore the history of women's participation, the ways in which the philosophy of science has created an exclusive view of science itself as well as science education, the educational and professional climate for women in these fields, and the ways in which stereotypical images of women in literature and film continue to influence women's participation.

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  • LING 346 Language and Gender
    4 credits

    Students explore how men's and women's different uses of language correlate with power and status, class, network, race and ethnic group affiliations, as well as with religion, personality, sexuality, and disability. Coursework involves critical reading of articles from diverse fields, including sociology, psychology, ethnography, speech communication and linguistics; discussions and essays on course material; and journals and research projects. Projects are developed in stages to give students support and promote excellence.

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  • LIT 312 Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course takes a critical and historical approach to literature in English by women, looking at the emergence of female literary voices and exploring the contexts in which their works were written. Some sections of the course may focus on particular traditions within the range of literature written by women.

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  • LIT 315 Gender in Literature and Film
    4 credits

    This course surveys how classic works of American literature and film assert, examine and/or question gender conventions that affect both men and women. Students discuss ways in which fiction, drama, poetry, popular music and film can promote, question or subvert gender conventions. The goal of these discussions is to make new discoveries about familiar works of literature, to examine a range of assertions and arguments that authors and film directors make about gender, and to consider the purposes gender conventions serve for individuals and the community in the United States.

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  • LIT 362 Black Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the literature by African-American women writers from the 18th century to the present, analyzing their depictions of racism, sexism, and classism as artistic, moral, and civic responses to inequality. Students learn techniques for critical reading and literary analysis at the upper-division humanities level to understand how these creative works explore issues related to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow laws, and the influence these writers had on cultural events, such as anti-lynching journalism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Era, and the Women¿s Liberation Movement.

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  • LIT 365 Asian Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the rich tradition of Asian women's literary voices expressing their chosen themes in novels, diaries, anonymous folk poems, short stories, and lyric verse from ancient times to the present. Relevant aspects of geography, history, culture, and language support interpretations of representative works; regional focus may vary. All selections are read in English translation.

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  • PHIL 306 Philosophy and Sexuality
    4 credits

    This introductory course explores the most basic ideas about human sexuality and sexual identity: What does it mean to be a woman or a man? What does it mean to have a sexual identity? Is there such a thing as "normal" sex? How has sexuality been socially regulated in the past and how is it currently regulated? How can people evaluate such "regulations"? How do ideas about sexuality influence gender, ethnic, racial and other sterotypes? What sorts of ideas do people have about the nature of their bodies? Students develop basic philosophical skills in order to sort out these questions. Topics usually include: eroticism, desire, homophobia, sexual violence, pornography, prostitution, and sexual imagery in popular culture, love and romance.

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  • PSYC 331 Psychology of Men
    4 credits

    This course, developed for men and women interested in understanding the male experience and their own personal journeys, explores the male experience amid the cross-currents of change in contemporary American society and related implications for counseling. It takes into account the feminist critique and moves toward a new understanding of today's masculinity. The course covers issues of power, dominance, nurturance, aggression, competition and emotional expression. Students gain a perspective of the historical, biological, anthropological, sociological and psychological theories of sex-role development and the politics surrounding it and how both men and women have been affected by the imposition of limiting roles and expectations.

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  • PSYC 335 Psychology of Women
    4 credits

    This course covers the biological perspectives, cultural variations, psychological sex differences, history of oppression and ethnic diversity explaining the female experience. It is interdisciplinary and includes ideas from biology, sociology, economics, communications and selected traditional psychological theories. The course helps students understand how imposed and real differences between men and women have affected the mental behavioral characteristics of women. It is useful for those who counsel, advise, teach, supervise or work closely with women.

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  • PSYC 367 Human Sexuality
    4 credits

    This course addresses the physiological, psychological and social aspects of human sexual development, functioning and experience, with an emphasis on the diversity of human sexuality. Major theoretical approaches to understanding sexuality over the life cycle, the dynamics of intimate relationships, and the etiology of sexual health and dysfunction are explored, along with contemporary sociosexual issues such as gender and power, sexual orientation and homophobia, AIDS and prevention education, sexual abuse and violence.

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  • RELS 377 Women and Religion
    4 credits

    Does religion view women positively? Do certain religious teachings impact the quality of women's lives and their role and status at home and in society? From a religious viewpoint, how can women and men work together toward change for the betterment of society. This course examines religious teachings and treatment of women as well as the role of religion in women's struggle for social change. Topics include analyses of women's structural and personal oppression; critique of the role of gender, race, class and other diversity issues as they impact religious doctrines; and religious teachings about women and women's spirituality. This course may at times approach its subject matter in terms of a particular religious tradition, such as, Christianity or Buddhism, or it may be taught from a comparative religious perspective.

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  • SOC 325 The Body in Society
    4 credits

    This course provides a sociological perspective on the human body. While the body is a biological entity, the body is also social. The perceptions and meanings of the body are embedded in complex socio-cultural contexts. Students will examine how social processes and cultural practices shape human bodies and our everyday lived experiences. The course will also discuss bodies in relation to gender, sexuality, race, class, age, ability, and health. Lecture, discussion, multimedia materials, and a variety of readings are used to study the relationships between the body, culture, and society. Competence Statement Knows and understands the sociological perspective on the body and embodiment well enough to interpret, analyze, and evaluate the body in society at an advanced level.

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