The women's studies minor is an 18 credit hour cross disciplinary program that explores the scholarship related to gender and equity issues affecting women. This minor includes one required course, WMST 200. The remainder of the program incorporates many academic fields.

Required Course

Credit Hours

WMST 200. Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies


Choose five of the following:


ANTH 370. Topics in the Anthropology of Gender

ENG 327. The Gothic

ENG/WMST 368. Women's Literature

ENG 369. Feminist Literary Theory

ENG/WMST 370. Queer Literature

ENG/WMST 466. Studies in Women's Literature

HIST 320. Women in United States History

HIST 321. European Women's History

HIST 327. Technology in America 1

HIST 448. Gender in Colonial Latin America

HIST 449. Women and Fascism

HIST 466. The Family, 1400-1800

ISAT/WMST 485. Gender Issues in Science

JUST/WMST 341. Gender and Justice

NSG 393. Issues in Family Violence

PHIL/WMST 350. The Philosophy of Feminism

PSYC 310. The Psychology of Women and Gender

REL 306. Women and Gender in Islam

REL 315. Women and Religion

SCOM/WMST 348. Communication and Gender

SOCI 336. Race and Ethnicity 1

SOCI 337. Sociology of Gender

SOCI 347. Community, Diversity and Popular Culture 1

SOCI/WRTC/WMST 420. Feminist Rhetorics

WMST 300. Special Topics in Women's Studies

WMST 400. Issues and Research in Women's Studies

WMST 490. Independent Studies in Women's Studies

WMST 492. Internship in Women's Studies

WMST 495. Special Topics in Women's Studies


1 If research project addresses issue of gender.

Course Descriptions

Click each course link above for the course description.

Independent Study

WMST 490: Some students who minor in Women's and Gender Studies opt to pursue independent study of a particular topic or issue by working closely with a faculty member. For more information, contact Dr. Mary Thompson or a Women's and Gender Studies faculty member with whom you would like to work.


WMST 492: Many students wonder how to turn a minor in Women's and Gender Studies into a viable career. Internships are a good way for students to recognize and apply transferable skills fostered by Women's Studies to potential job settings and to gain experience in those fields. For more information, contact Dr. Mary Thompson (Women's Studies Coordinator).

Recent On-Campus Internships:

General Editor, Sister Speak 
Layout and Design Editor, Sister Speak
Facilitator, Women's Caucus Student Interest Group
Organizer and Publicist, Women's Studies Research Group
Researcher, JMU Women and Leadership
Researcher, Homophobia, Sexism & Racism in Student Evaluations of Faculty
Researcher, JMU Women and Social Movements
Researcher, Madison Art Collection

Off-Campus Internships:

National Organization for Women (NOW)

PLEN: Public Leadership Education Network
Internship program in Washington D.C. for women

Young People For (YP4) Fellowship
Fellowships in DC for young progressives

Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) - Includes list of internships for other organizations.

Study Abroad
Comparative Women's and Gender Studies in Europe (through Antioch University)

Study Abroad

Many JMU students take advantage of the opportunity to spend some period of time abroad as part of their academic experience. Students can choose from a variety of different programs, some that last a semester, an academic year, or a summer. Some programs regularly offer courses that can count towards the Women's Studies minor. Below is a list of study abroad programs at other schools that focus on Women's Studies. For more information contact Dr. Mary Thompson (Women's Studies Coordinator) and/or the JMU Office of International Programs.

LONDON / Michigan State University

EUROPE / Anitoch College

Summer Study Abroad opportunities through Tulane University's Newcomb College Center for Research on Women


Anyone who is curious about issues affecting women, who asks questions about gender, or who is interested in understanding gender in society is a good candidate for a Women’s Studies minor. Additionally, a Women's Studies minor may be interested in broad cultural issues as they affect family life-diversity, or economic and social justice, for example. A Women's Studies minor may wish to enlarge her/his understanding of women's contributions to science, art, music, and literature--all the areas of human creativity that compose the whole of human civilizations. Or, a Women's Studies minor may want to better understand gender issues in global contexts, and pursue his or her interest in a particular country or culture. The Women's Studies minor is truly cross-disciplinary, and affords students a rare opportunity to combine personal values with rigorous academic study that has sweeping social and cultural implications.

While “education for education’s sake” is sufficient for some university students today, many want an education that is at the same time “training.” Sensitive to world of work, they expect the bachelor’s degree and the major to be preparation for careers. So, instead of the question “What can a minor in Women’s Studies do for me?” such students are asking, “What can I do with a minor in Women’s Studies?”

Those concerned primarily with contributing to women’s studies knowledge work in universities with graduate departments and professional schools. Those who communicate women’s studies knowledge teach in undergraduate colleges, junior colleges, community colleges, and occasionally, in high schools. Those concerned primarily with utilization of women’s studies knowledge are employed at international bodies and national, state, and large municipal governments, industry, the military, nonprofit organizations, political parties, and trade unions.

Although graduate education is becoming imperative in many disciplines today, a liberal arts graduate with a minor in Women’s Studies can be very competitive in the world of work. While it is probably impossible to provide a listing of work opportunities available to graduates with Women’s Studies minors, any such list would include areas such as advertising, banking and finance, communication, education, insurance, law, manufacturing, marketing and merchandising, health sciences, social work, government, social sciences, and urban planning, for example. Job titles within these fields include, for instance, market researcher, mental health counselor, community planner, lawyer, writer-editor, legal assistant, survey researcher, labor relations specialist, and community financial needs analyst.

A minor in Women’s Studies provides skills and perspectives that enhance all careers. Women’s Studies increases knowledge; broadens viewpoints; sensitized you to organizational issues and social change; teaches you how to think, analyze, synthesize, and express; and prompts you to examine attitudes and values. The challenge for the women’s studies graduate is to demonstrate imaginatively to prospective employers the distinct advantages of an education that includes women’s studies.

As a student in Women’s Studies, you will want to consult members of the Women’s Studies faculty about career possibilities. You might also want to examine Women’s Studies Graduates: The First Generation by Barbara F. Luebke and Mary Ellen Reilly.

Academic Advising and Career Development 
JMU’s Office of Academic Advising and Career Development (Wilson 301) has a library of information about various careers. They conduct workshops on all aspects of the job search, and they often present workshops tailored to students with various majors and minors, including Women’s Studies.

Job Searching on the Internet
Women's Studies minors might find the following sites helpful:

Graduate Studies

We encourage students to consider seriously the advantages of a graduate degree. Your minor in Women's Studies as an undergraduate will provide you with a background to pursue a graduate degree in many fields. Bulletin boards on the first floor of Moody Hall and the second floor of Keezell have information on graduate study, including a handout for students who are considering graduate school. If you are interested in graduate school, please pick up one of these handouts.

Here are some useful sites for researching graduate programs in Women's Studies:

Visit the Women's Studies bulletin board in Moody to learn more about the following programs:

  • Master's Program in Applied Women's Studies, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA

  • Women's and Gender Studies MA at UNC at Greensboro in Gender and Health, Gender and Community Leadership, or an Individually Designed Concentration

  • Gender Studies Ph.D. at Indiana University, Bloomington

  • MA in Women's Studies at Georgia State University

  • Certificate in Interpersonal Violence and Healthcare at the University of Colorado Denver's Center on Domestic Violence

  • Graduate Program in Women's Studies at the University of Northern Iowa

  • Master of Arts in Women's Health at Suffolk University (

  • MA in Women's Studies at Texas Woman's University (

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