Women's Studies, B.A.


Women's Studies Program

Janet Slagter, Coordinator
McKee Fisk Building, Room 244

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Women's Studies, B.A.
MN in Women's Studies, Minor

Women's Studies is an approach that places women in the center of inquiry. The primary mission of Women's Studies is to analyze gender. Students acquire both a local and global perspective on gender. Attentiveness to diversity, privilege and power, and women's unique creative contributions to human experience are central aspects of this training. More than simply a body of knowledge, Women's Studies encourages students to apply their learning to transform their lives and their communities. Women's Studies offers a vital perspective everywhere gender impacts our world.



Womens Studies

WS 10. Introduction to Women's Studies

Interdisciplinary course designed to introduce students to the major social, cultural, economic, and political forces which define gender in society. G.E. Breadth D3.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: D3

WS 12. Critical Thinking: Gender Issues

Theory and practice in basic skills of critical thinking using examples about the intersections of gender with race and class. Skills will be demonstrated and assessed through oral and written performance. G.E. Foundation A3.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: A3

WS 18. Women and Aging

(WS 18 same as GERON 18.) Interdisciplinary course designed to facilitate the understanding of older women and the physiological, psychological, and social aspects of the aging process. G.E. Breadth E1. (Formerly WS 118)

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall
GE Area: E1

WS 55T. Topics in Women's Studies

Topics of current interest in the Women's Movement, covering a wide variety of issues. (See Schedule of Courses for specific topics.)

Units: 1-4, Repeatable up to 12 units

WS 101. Women in History

(HIST 101 same as WS 101.) Prerequisite: G.E. Fondation and Breadth Area D. Historical survey of women's roles in history, with an emphasis on the emergence of the feminist movement. G.E. Intergration ID

Units: 3
GE Area: ID

WS 102T. Topics in Women's History

(HIST 102T same as WS 102T.) (See Schedule of Courses for specific topics.)

Units: 3, Repeatable up to 6 units

WS 103. History of Feminism

Survey of history of feminist thought and action from Middle Ages to present, with emphasis on nineteenth and twentieth centuries and major actors and debates.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

WS 107. Women in US Politics

(WS 107 same as PLSI 107). Prerequisites: at least one 3 unit WS or PLSI course. The course examines how women have shaped and been shaped by U.S. politics along with how gender impacts U.S.political thought, institutions, and practices.

Units: 3

WS 108. Rape

An inquiry into the phenomenon of rape, myths about rape and rapists, treatment of rape victims, discussion of physical and psychological preparation for possibility of attack. Lecture, film, paper, speakers. An all-day workshop held on two consecutive Saturdays.

Units: 1
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

WS 109. Incest

An exploration of the victim, the victimizer, and the family dynamics of incest, as well as the psychological and sociological implications of the family secret. An all-day workshop held on two consecutive Saturdays.

Units: 1
Course Typically Offered: Spring

WS 110. Representations of Women

Prerequisites: G.E. Foundation and Breadth Area D. Interdisciplinary course focusing on representations of women; how representations vary by class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation; and how these representations affect social, political, and economic behaviors and institutions. G.E. Multicultural/International MI.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: M/I

WS 112. Assertiveness Training

Women's special needs in becoming assertive; blocks preventing assertion and methods of getting around them. An all-day workshop held on two consecutive Saturdays.

Units: 1

WS 114. Marriage and Family Politics

Examines contemporary and historical marriage and family formations, including the ways public policies, laws and a variety of social institutions regulate the domestic sphere. Explores how women resist and re-work dominant understandings of marriage and family.

Units: 3

WS 115. Women, Children & Alcohol

Covers impact of addiction on women and children using a systems perspective.

Units: 1

WS 116. Domestic Violence

An historical and cultural overview of the battered and battering spouse syndromes; the marriage contract as a license to abuse; the status of remedial legislation; and, the effect of parental battering on children. An all-day workshop held on two consecutive Saturdays.

Units: 1
Course Typically Offered: Fall

WS 120. Women of Color in the United States

Prerequisites: G.E. Foundation and Breadth Area D. Examines the role and status of U.S. women of color within the larger social structure. Women in varying family structures and cultural settings will be examined, with an emphasis on how social systems shape the roles of women and affect larger U.S. institutions. G.E. Multicultural/International MI.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring
GE Area: M/I

WS 125. Introduction to Lesbian/Gay Studies

Introduction to theory, questions, and topics in interdisciplinary lesbian and gay studies.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall - odd

WS 126. Women and Violence: Public Policy and the Law

(CRIM 126 same as WS 126.) Historical and contemporary issues in public policy responses to violence against women. Gender bias in the legal system and policing violence against women. Theory and research on problems in government policy and enforcement of the law.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

WS 127. Female Sexuality

(PH 127 same as WS 127.) Studies on female sexuality which include past and present sexual roles, female sexual response patterns, and discussion of common problems encountered by women functioning as sexual beings.

Units: 3

WS 130. Women's Health

(PH 130 same as WS 130.) Examines current crises/ controversies in women's health care. Includes conventional/ alternatives approaches to treatment, management, and prevention with emphasis on self-care and promotion of optimum health.

Units: 3

WS 132. Women and Work

(SOC 132 same as WS 132.) An examination of women and work in contemporary society including housework, labor force participation, employment in various occupations, and career planning.

Units: 3

WS 135. Women In Cross-Cultural Perspective

Prerequisites: G.E. Foundation and Breadth Area D. Examines economic, social, political, and cultural roles as well as current status of women in one or more of the following: China, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, Middle East, and Latin America. Prepares students to function in an international, multicutural world. G.E. Multicultural/International MI.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: M/I

WS 136T. Topics in International Women's Studies

Examines how global economic and cultural processes affect women. Investigates the interconnections between "first" and "third" worlds through topics such as international division of labor, work and gender ideologies, and women's organized resistance to changes in local economics. (Formerly WS 150T)

Units: 3, Repeatable up to 9 units

WS 136T. Intnl Feminism

Units: 3

WS 137. African American Women

(AFRS 137 same as WS 137.) An overview of the accomplishments of African American women in the United States; their contributions to American culture; African influence; African American women as defined by a dominant soceity vs. legitimate definition designed to encourage a positive self-concept.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

WS 141. The Chicano Family

(CLAS 141 same as WS 152.) Traditional and changing relationships in the family structure of the Chicano; interaction with wider instituitional social system. (CLAS 141 formerly CLAS 152).

Units: 3

WS 143. Feminist Theory

Review of major feminist theories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, analysis of assumptions underlying each, evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of each, and examination of relationship of various theories to various women's life experiences.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall

WS 148. Women and Religion

Seminar to explore many facets of women's religious experience, including history of women in institutional churches, theologies of liberation and oppression, women's religious experience, and feminist spirituality.

Units: 3

WS 150T. Topics in Women's Studies

Topics of current interest in the women's movement, covering a wide variety of issues. (See Schedule of Courses for specific topics.)

Units: 1-4, Repeatable up to 12 units

WS 150T. Radical US Women's History

Radical women like Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, and Bernadine Dohrn have their own visions of feminist justice, which they work to enact so as to bring about real social change. Students will engage you in feminist and historical discussions where gender, sexuality, class, and race intersect. Students will study how various women refashioned empowered notions of womanhood, often did it by breaking men's rules and doing their best to smash the patriarchy.

Units: 3, Repeatable up to 9 units

WS 151T. Topics in Lesbian/Gay Studies

Topics in lesbian and gay studies, drawing upon areas such as history, sociology, literature, psychology, or interdisciplinary fields.

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 6 units

WS 153. Feminist Research Methods

Pre-requisites: Either WS 10, WS 103, WS 110, WS 120, WS 135 or WS 143. Introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods. Hands-on practice of designing and conducting a research project and writing a grant.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall

WS 160. Feminist Issues in Counseling

Prerequisite: WS 10 or permission of instructor. Evaluates counseling theories; individual and group counseling techniques; examines ethical issues and power structure in therapeutic settings; surveys community resources; and explores innovative and feminist perspectives concerning the effective treatment of women.

Units: 3

WS 162. Community Service in Women's Studies

Prerequisite: 9 hours of WS courses and permission of instructor and agency. Individual experience relating classroom studies to experience in a women's community service agency. CR/NC grading only. (Minimum of 3 field hours per unit.)

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 6 units

WS 163. Consciousness Raising: Group Leader

Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Students learn skills in facilitating group discussion of women's issues through training and practicum. CR/NC grading only.

Units: 1, Repeatable up to 2 units

WS 168T. Women and Literature

(WS 168T same as ENGL 168T.) Prerequisite: ENGL 20. Discussion and written analysis of literature by and about women. Special emphasis on 19th and 20th Century authors including the Brontes, George Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, and contemporary writers.

Units: 4, Repeatable up to 8 units
Course Typically Offered: Spring

WS 170. Women: Culture and Biology

(ANTH 118 same as WS 170.) A cross-cultural and interdisciplinary analysis of the determinants of female statuses and circumstances. Examines theories, including biological and cultural determinism, which explain variations in the expression of sexuality, maturation, reproduction, and the life cycle. (Formerly ANTH 170)

Units: 3

WS 175. Seminar in Women's Studies

Primarily for women's studies majors and minors. Prerequisite: 15 units in women's studies or permission of instructor. A synthesis of objective and subjective experience in women's studies. Culminating experience required.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

WS 190. Independent Study

See Academic Placement --Independent Study. Approved for RP grading.

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 6 units

WS 194T. Seminar in Women and Literature

(ENGL 194T same as WS 194T.) May be substituted for ENGL 193T in the English major; no more than 12 units of ENGL 193T- ENGL194T applicable to the major. Sections designated by topic. Individual projects; reading, discussion, and writing papers on individual women writers or some aspect of women in literature; for example, Doris Lessing, Myth and Archetypes of Women. ENGL 194T should ordinarily not be taken until 3 upper-division courses in English have been completed.

Units: 4, Repeatable up to 8 units

WS 195. Diversity in the United States: Race and Gender Issues

(See A I S 195, AF AM 195, ASAM 195, CLS 195.) This interdisciplinary course introduces students to theoretical perspectives concerning the historical development of class, race, and gender within the United States and the impact of these issues on contemporary U.S. society. Participation in a special class project is required.

Units: 3


Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Women's Studies Major

Major requirements (36 units)
Core: WS 103, 143, 153, 175 (12 units)
Approved electives (24 units)

General Education requirements (51 units)

Electives and remaining degree requirements (33-42 units)*

Total units (120)

*This total indicates that three courses (9 units) in General Education also may be applied to fulfill WS major requirements. These courses are WS 12 in G.E. Foundation A3, WS 10 in G.E. Breadth D3, and WS 18 in G.E. Breadth E1. Consult the program coordinator or faculty adviser for additional details.

Advising Notes

  1. The 24 units of electives must be selected from a list of approved courses available in the Women's Studies Program office.At least one course must be selected from each of the following three clusters:
    Cluster 1, Gender and Diversity - WS 120, 125, 136T (with adviser approval), 150T (with adviser approval), 151T (with adviser approval); ASAM 138; CLAS 162; WS/AFRS 137.
    • Cluster 2, Women and the Arts and Humanities -
    WS 110, 136T (with adviser approval), 148, 150T (with adviser approval), 151T (with adviser approval); WS/ENGL 168T; WS/ENGL 194T; WS/HIST 102T; LING 130; PHIL 110.
    •  Cluster 3, Women and the Social, Natural, and Applied Sciences -
    WS 114, 135, 136T (with adviser approval), 150T (with adviser approval), 151T (with adviser approval), 160; WS/CRIM 126; WS 127/PH 127; WS/PH 130; WS/SOC 132; MGT 189T; SWRK 271T.
  2. No more than 3 units may be selected from the 1-unit Saturday courses: WS 108, 109, 112, 116.
  3. CR/NC grading is not permitted in the women's studies major, except for courses offered only under CR/NC grading.
  4. Some General Education units may dual count toward the major, double major, or minor as appropriate. Some electives may also dual count for their primary and double major as appropriate. Students should consult a program faculty adviser to find out how many units and which courses in their plan of study this may apply to.
  5. Students whose primary major is women's studies should be aware that while any WS courses also offered by the program as General Education courses can count toward their major as appropriate, courses taken to meet their upper-division General Education Integration and Multicultural/International requirements must be taken outside women's studies. (This particular G.E. restriction does not apply to double majors for whom women's studies is declared as their second major or for women's studies minors.)
  6. Majors are urged to fulfill the upper-division writing skills requirement during the first semester of their junior year. See Degree Requirements.

Double Major in Women's Studies

Many students choose Women's Studies as a second major to complement their first, or primary, major. Double majors say their first major defines the field in which they work. Women's Studies gives them a special focus within that field. Women's Studies requirements are designed to make a dual major possible. All majors take the four core courses. Since in a dual major some courses may double count toward their degree, students pursuing Women's Studies as a double major should speak to an adviser in the Women's Studies program as soon as possible.



The Women's Studies Program has its own full-time and part-time faculty who come from a variety of disciplines: anthropology, history, sociology, political science, English, and philosophy. In addition to this core faculty, cooperating faculty members teach women's studies courses in their home departments: American studies, anthropology education, art, Chicano and Latin American studies, criminology, drama, education, English, ethnic studies, health sciences, history, philosophy, psychology, recreation, and sociology. Saturday School faculty are most often chosen from the community-at-large on the basis of their particular area of expertise.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.


Bachelor of Arts in Women's Studies

A Roadmap identifies the specific set of courses students must complete in their major in sequential order. Information on corequisites or prerequisites is listed along with other pertinent information to assist students in completing courses towards the major.

Click here for roadmap.

Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.

If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.


careers tab placeholder

As a field, Women’s Studies presents an exciting opportunity to anyone who wants to know more about the impact of gender on their lives and the world. The focus on a core aspect of all our identities makes the field personally rewarding and socially important. Attentiveness to diversity, power, and women's unique creative contributions to human experience are central aspects of this training. Our faculty work closely with students in order to help foster their success. Students also find a sense of community and leadership opportunities through participation in P.O.W.E.R.: The Women’s Studies Student Organization.

Many of our students choose Women’s Studies as their primary field. Other students choose Women’s Studies as a double major to complement a primary field or discipline. Double majors say their first major defines the field in which they work, Women’s Studies gives them a special focus and edge within that field.

What You Can Do

Nationally, Women’s Studies students have established successful careers in a variety of fields from politics to law, k-12 to graduate studies, biology to nursing, the creative arts to telecommunications, criminology to victim services, business and management to grass roots organizing, history to philosophy, and human resources to social services.

Interesting Classes You Might Take

  • Women and Work
  • Women and Politics
  • Women, Ethics, & the Environment
  • Women, Violence, & the Law
  • Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Introduction to Lesbian and Gay Studies


What You Can Learn

  • How to combine political and intellectual passions with scholarly research to become a leader in today’s rapidly changing world.
  • The role of feminist activism and feminist organizations in the promotion of social policies designed to end social inequality.
  • Critical and analytical tools to understand and contribute to interdisciplinary research on issues faced by women and children in the United States and across the globe.
  • The symbiotic relationship between theory and practice through experiential learning opportunities aimed at unleashing students’ creativity and fostering self awareness.
  • The historical, political, and philosophical roots of feminism and feminist studies across disciplines.


About the College

The College of Social Sciencesstudies the human experience, including the depth of the past and the breadth of the entire planet.

We place emphasis on learning practical skills to aid you in your career. Our students do internships, participate in archaeological digs, or do service-learning projects with a non-profit agency. Students can assist on research projects or organize a social change project.

Whatever a student's major, they enjoy our witty and talented faculty and our caring staff as they discover our social world.

College Contact Information

Phone: (559) 278-3013
FAX: (559) 278-7664

5340 N. Campus Drive MS/SS91
Fresno CA 93740-8019

Contact Information

Women's Studies Program
McKee Fisk Building, 244
2225 East San Ramon M/S MF19
Fresno, CA 93740-8029

Phone: (559) 278-2858
Fax: (559) 278-5230