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Gender Studies BA

About The Program

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.

Student outcomes

Proficiency in:

  • Foundational Concepts - The student’s work demonstrates understanding of foundational Gender Studies terminology, concepts, and social categories.
  • Analysis - The student’s work demonstrates the ability to independently analyze methods, scholarship, and/or cultural artifacts.
  • Gender Studies Theory - The student’s work shows understanding of disciplinary theory, critical concepts, and methods.
  • Application - The student’s work demonstrates the ability to connect the academic study of gender to practical career applications.
  • Ethics -The student’s work shows evidence of ethical and critical thinking about gender in the public realm beyond academic study.

Related minors

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Gender Studies BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Gender Studies BA

Courses and Requirements


Requirements (120 credits)

+ Prerequisites (2 - 4 credits)

Choose one

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.

Full course description for Information Access

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.

Full course description for Searching for Information

+ Core (20 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…

Full course description for Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies

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.

Full course description for Global Perspectives on Gender

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.

Full course description for Intersectionality

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).

Full course description for Applied Concepts in Gender Studies

Choose one

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 LGBT identity rooted in the philosophical, social, and political debates and challenges among and between LGBT 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, LGBT civil rights and public policy, transgender politics, race and its relationship to sexuality, and cultural, literary, and filmic expressions of LGBT identity.

Full course description for The Cultural Politics of LGBT Sexuality

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.

Full course description for Transgender Identities

+ Methods Course (4 credits)

Choose one

What is history? It is often said that history should be objective, that it should provide just the facts, that it should bring people a sense of the past "as it really was." Those who study and write history professionally tend to view these demands as extremely naive. It is a fact that historians have produced radically different interpretations of particular events or developments in the past. The dominant interpretations of important events have changed greatly over time. The study of these changes is called historiography. Through the readings in this course, students confront such interpretive discrepancies and changes with respect to several important historical developments, which occurred in different parts of the world and in different eras.

Full course description for Historical Interpretation

This course introduces influential literary theories developed between 1950 and the present. Students become familiar with the main concepts of each theory and with how these theories can be applied to particular texts, past and present. Discussions focus on how contemporary theory challenges older ideas about literature, what distinguishes literature from other uses of language, how literature should be read, what roles literature plays in social, political, and personal life, and what makes a work of literature effective.

Full course description for Literary Criticism: 1950-Present

This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of social science research. Students learn and implement a variety of research methods, and critically reflect on the relationship of these methods to philosophical traditions within social science. The courses examines two approaches to social science research, quantitative and qualitative, and the unique contribution of each approach for understanding social life. Experiential activities enhance classroom learning.

Full course description for Research Methods in Social Science

+ Electives (12 credits)

Choose three

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.

Full course description for Gender and Culture

Anthropology of Masculinity explores masculinities from a cross-cultural perspective. While many cultures once believed there is only one "natural" way to be a man, they are now confronted with a variety of masculinities. This course explores the modern quandary, "What does it mean to be a man in the modern age?" from an anthropological perspective. Themes include sexuality, work, dominance, fatherhood, marriage, violence, feminism, popular culture, initiation rituals, and the male body.

Full course description for Anthropology of Masculinity

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.

Full course description for Biology of Women

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.

Full course description for Gender, Sport and Communication in the U.S.

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.

Full course description for Women, Crime, and Justice

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.

Full course description for Economics of Diversity

This course studies and compares concepts of gender and sexuality in US Latinx communities and Latin America. Particular foci of the course are concepts of gender, the family, feminist critical analyses, and historic and contemporary Latin American and Latinx LGBTQ expressions of identity. This course has a significant focus on race and racism.

Full course description for Comparative Latinx and Latin American Gender and Sexuality

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.

Full course description for Asian American Women: Myths and Realities

Our ideas about race and gender shape and are shaped by popular media such as the internet, music, television, film, newspapers, magazines, and the arts. In this course, students will investigate how pop-culture industries represent race and gender in ways that create and reinforce systematic gender and racial privilege. The course also focuses on contributions to pop culture by marginalized groups and women in order to study self-representation, critiques of mainstream tropes of race and gender, and the subversion of hierarchies of privilege and power. Considerable content is geared toward the intersectional study of race and racism with gender and sexism. The course explores theories treating gender and race as social constructs (that interact with each other, and with other aspects of identity) at an introductory degree of complexity suitable for a non-specialist, lower-level course.

Full course description for Gender, Race and Popular Culture

Internships offer students opportunities to gain deeper knowledge and skills in their chosen field. Students are responsible for locating their own internship. Metro faculty members serve as liaisons to the internship sites¿ supervisors and as evaluators to monitor student work and give academic credit for learning. Students are eligible to earn 1 credit for every 40 hours of work completed at their internship site.

Full course description for Gender Studies Internship

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for Gender Studies Student Designed Independent Studies

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 LGBT identity rooted in the philosophical, social, and political debates and challenges among and between LGBT 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, LGBT civil rights and public policy, transgender politics, race and its relationship to sexuality, and cultural, literary, and filmic expressions of LGBT identity.

Full course description for The Cultural Politics of LGBT Sexuality

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.

Full course description for Transgender Identities

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.

Full course description for GLBT Issues In Literature and Film

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.

Full course description for Women and Public Activism

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.

Full course description for Women in Modern U.S. History

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.

Full course description for History of Sexuality: Modern Perspectives

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.

Full course description for Gender in Early Modern Europe

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.

Full course description for Comparative Women's History

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.

Full course description for American Women's Movements

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.

Full course description for Women in Math, Science and Technology

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.

Full course description for Language and Gender

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.

Full course description for Women Writers

This course surveys how works of American literature and film assert, create, examine, reinforce, privilege, and/or question the construction of racialized and gendered narratives surrounding identity. Students discuss ways that fiction, drama, poetry, popular music, and film engage with the issues of race, racism, and gender. In addition, students will learn and apply key concepts and theories of race and gender (for example, the masculine gaze, the white gaze, queer theories, critical race theory, postcolonial theories) with a critical emphasis on intersectionality in course discussions. Students will make new discoveries about familiar works from the narrative arts; understand the complex legacies of racist and sexist tropes underlying the conventions of popular genres (e.g., the western, the buddy movie, Sci-Fi, the great American novel, the American musical, and so on); and consider personal and collective responses to racism and sexism (e.g., personal viewing habits, social…

Full course description for Gender and Race in Literature and Film

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.

Full course description for Black Women Writers

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.

Full course description for Asian Women Writers

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 stereotypes? 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.

Full course description for Philosophy and Sexuality

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.

Full course description for Psychology of Men

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.

Full course description for Psychology of Women

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.

Full course description for Human Sexuality

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.

Full course description for Women and Religion

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.

Full course description for The Body in Society