Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Program Description

What is a woman? Who decides who or what a woman is? What does it mean to be a woman today? What is feminism? How does gender structure our social, political, and economic world? How have people’s experiences of gender varied across time, space, and culture?

These are just some of the questions we ask in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, a highly interdisciplinary field of study that impacts everything we do at Cottey College.  Because Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies’ reach is so broad, it provides a strong complement to any major you choose.

One of the most unique features of Cottey’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program is that it resides in a women’s college.  From Virginia Alice Cottey’s desire to educate women to be “knowledgeable, thinking, mature adults” to the College’s current mission to “educate…women to be contributing members of a global society through a challenging curriculum and a dynamic campus experience,” Cottey’s primary concern is women.  This commitment to women’s education is at the heart of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

While the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program offers a wide range of courses, students learn about women in courses outside the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, in co-curricular activities ranging from student organizations to suite life, and in interactions with the many feminist mentors they encounter on campus.  Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, therefore, is at the heart of the college.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies courses focus on the historical and/or contemporary experiences of women, gender, or sexuality. Students in these courses will be expected to devote significant time to at least two of the following activities:

  • Analyzing the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality in people’s lives
  • Examining institutional structures and structures of power from the perspective of women, gender, or sexuality
  • Engaging with women, gender, and sexuality studies theory
  • Considering how a focus on women, gender, or sexuality impacts the academic discipline being studied
  • Linking course content about women, gender, or sexuality to their own experiences

Our course offerings include the following:

WGS/OLS 102 Foundations in Leadership
WGS 105 Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
WGS/ANT 151 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
WGS 200 Introduction to LGBT Studies
WGS/SOC 203 Family and Society
WGS/ANT 204 Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective
WGS/SPE 205 Gender and Communication
WGS/HIS 211 History of Women in the United States
WGS/FRE 215 Francophone Women in Translation
WGS/INR 216 Women, Power, and Politics
WGS/ENG 220 American Women Writers
WGS/ENG 222 British Women Writers
WGS/SOC 235 Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
WGS 240 Transnational Feminism
WGS/FLM 253 Women and Cinema
WGS 300 Women’s Health
WGS/ENG 310 Women in Shakespeare
WGS/ENG 321 Topics in Fiction: Eighteenth Century British Women Writers
WGS/PSY 321 Human Sexuality
WGS/ENG 324 On Location: British Women Writers at Home
WGS/HIS 330 Women’s Suffrage Movement
WGS/PSY 331 Psychology of Women and Gender
WGS/ENG 333 Topics in Poetry: “Her Kind”: Twentieth Century American Women Poets
WGS 350 Feminist Theories
WGS/IDS 360 Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, and Social Justice
WGS/ENG 364 Topics in Post-1900 Literature: “Make it New!” Women and Literary Modernism
WGS/ENG 371 Major Authors: Jane Austen
WGS/ENG 372 Major Authors: Toni Morrison
WGS/CRM 375 Violence Against Women
WGS 490 Senior Capstone

Students who pursue the major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are required to complete a minimum of 42 credits in WGS courses by the time of graduation, with a minimum of 120 credits total. Students majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies must take WGS 105 before completing any upper-division coursework in the major. Students majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program.

As an interdisciplinary field of study, students majoring in WGS are required to complete 18 additional hours outside of their WGS curriculum. This requirement ensures that all students majoring in WGS complete a minor or second major in an additional field of study. A significant portion of these additional credit hours may simultaneously count towards other degree requirements. Students are encouraged to discuss their degree plans with their major advisor to ensure efficient degree completion.

WGS Core Requirements (15 credits):

WGS 105   Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (3)
WGS 199   Internship (3)
WGS 350   Feminist Theories (3)
WGS 490   Senior Capstone
N/A*          Research Methods course (3)

*Students are required to take a methods course at Cottey College. Students are encouraged to select a methods course appropriate to their capstone research project interests.

Electives (nine WGS courses or WGS cross-listed courses, 27 credits):

  • At least two courses must be from the humanities/fine arts.
  • At least two courses must be from the social sciences/natural sciences.
  • At least one course must have a non-Western focus. [This requirement can be fulfilled simultaneously with one of the preceding two.]
  • No more than two electives can be taken below the 200 level, and at least three of the electives must be taken above the 200 level.
  • Up to three courses may be counted simultaneously for the WGS major and another major or minor.


Year One

Fall Spring
FWS 101 (3)WRI 102 (3)
SPAN 101/FRE 101 (4)SPAN 102/FRE 102 (4)
WGS 105 (3)PHE 139 (3)
MAT 110 (3)ANT 151 (3)
PHE 1XX (1)
Total hours: 14 Total hours: 13

Year Two

Fall Spring
ART 101 (3)PHI 112/MAT 112 (3)
HIST 102 (3)HIST 102 (3)
WGS 200 (3)POL 101 (3)
WGS 216 (3)WGS elective from list (3)
PHE 1XX (1)Excursion course/Step Into the World (2)
Second major or elective (3)**
Total hours: 16 Total hours: 14


Year Three

Fall Spring
WGS 305 (3)WGS 350 (3)
WGS 200+ elective from list (3)WGS 200+ elective from list (3)
Second major/minor (3)Second major/minor (3)
Second major/minor (3)Second major/minor (3)
Second major/minor (3)Second major/minor (3)
Total hours: 15 Total hours: 15

Summer Session: WGS 199-Internship (3)*

Year Four

Fall Spring
WGS/PSY 331 (3)WGS 490 (3)
WGS 200+ elective from list (3)WGS 200+ elective from list (3)
Second major/minor (3)Second major/minor (3)
Second major/minor (3)Second major/minor (3)
Second major/minor (3)Second major/minor (3)
Total hours: 15 Total hours: 15


*WGS 199: Internship may be taken across semesters or over one summer

**A second major is not required, however if a student elects to do so, it may result in a heavier course schedule (12+ hours) or a longer time-to-degree (4+ years).

***Most minors are 18-22 hours

WGS Fall/Spring Courses:

  • WGS 102: Foundations in Leadership (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 105: Intro to WGS (core WGS)
  • WGS 151: Intro to Cultural Anthropology (fulfills social science)
  • WGS 185: Women in Music (fulfills arts/humanities)

WGS Fall Courses:

  • WGS 200: Intro to LGBT Studies (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 205: Social Justice and Civic Engagement
  • WGS 216: Women, Power, and Global Politics (fulfills social science/non-western)
  • WGS 250: Women and Economic Development (fulfills social science)
  • WGS 305: Women’s Health (fulfills humanities/writing-intensive)
  • WGS 330: Women’s Suffrage Movement (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 331: Psychology of Women and Gender (fulfills social science/writing intensive)
  • WGS 360: Ecofeminism (fulfills humanities/writing-intensive)
  • WGS 370: Contemporary Latin American/Spanish Women Writers (fulfills humanities)

WGS Spring Courses:

  • WGS 211: History of Women in US (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 220: American Women Writers (fulfills humanities; every odd year Spring)
  • WGS 222: British Women Writers (fulfills humanities; every even year Spring)
  • WGS 235: Race, Class, and Gender (fulfills social science)
  • WGS 240: Transnational Feminism (fulfills humanities/non-western; every odd Spring)
  • WGS 253: Women and Cinema (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 321: Human Sexuality (fulfills social science)
  • WGS 350: Feminist Theory (core WGS/writing intensive)
  • WGS 490: Senior Capstone (core WGS)

Occasional Courses

  • WGS 203: Family and Society (fulfills social science)
  • WGS 206: Gender and Communication (fulfills arts/humanities)
  • WGS 215: Francophone Women in Translation (fulfills humanities/non-western)
  • WGS 232: Ethnic Women Writers (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 304: Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (fulfills social science)
  • WGS 320: 18th Century British Women Writers*
  • WGS 323: Topics in Fiction: British Women Writers at Home*
  • WGS 333: 20th C. American Women Poets*
  • WGS 334: Poetry as Protest*
  • WGS 345: Afro-Latina Women Writers (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 364: Women and Literary Modernism*
  • WGS 371: Major Authors: Jane Austen*
  • WGS 372: Major Authors: Toni Morrissen*
  • WGS 4XX: Cultural Studies in Fashion (fulfills humanities)
  • WGS 450: Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (fulfills social science)

*Note: all 300+ WGS/ENG courses fulfills humanities/writing-intensive requirement.

Students who pursue a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are required to complete 18 credits in WGS courses. Students are required to complete WGS 105 before enrolling in other upper-division WGS courses.

Two Core WGS Courses (6 credits):
WGS 105Introduction to Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (3 credits)
WGS 350Feminist Theories (3 credits)
Elective WGS Cross-Listed Courses (12 credits):
  • No more than one elective can be taken below the 200 level, and at least one of the electives must be taken above the 200 level.
  • No more than two courses may be taken from any one department.
  • Up to two courses may be counted simultaneously for the WGS minor and another major or minor.

Elizabeth Verklan
Coordinator of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Rogers Fine Arts Building 210
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2197

 Rusalyn Andrews, Ph.D.
Professor of Theatre and Speech
Center for the Arts
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2241

Angela Firkus, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Office: Grantham 216
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2201

Mary Mba, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of French
Grantham Hall 123
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2260

Kathryn Pivak, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Alumnae 132
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2272

Oindrila Roy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of International Relations
Rubie Burton Academic Center 125
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2229

Trisha Stubblefield, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Alumnae 134
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2274

Julie Tietz, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Alumnae 139
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2220

Sarah Quick, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
Rubie Burton Academic Center 124
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2269

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