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Gender and Women's Studies

Your coursework in Gender and Women's Studies will focus on how gender identity and roles are structured. You will examine the often invisible assumptions we hold about race, class, gender and heterosexuality and learn how these assumptions shape our lives.

You will also study the economic, political and sociological ramifications of identity shaped by race, class, gender and sexual preference. Gender and Women's Studies (GWS) provides a global perspective, analyzing how these issues unfold in both the U.S. and other nations around the world.

Gender and Women's Studies

Contact Information

Mary Petrie, Ph.D.
Gender and Women's Studies Instructor

Admissions Team
College Center

You can earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) with Emphasis in Gender and Women's Studies and transfer your credits to a four-year college or university to pursue GWS as your major. Gender and Women's Studies provides a strong interdisciplinary foundation for other majors as well.

Earning your A.A. with Emphasis is not required to take GWS classes. You can add courses in this discipline to your academic palette to broaden your perspective and enhance your career options. All Gender and Women's Studies courses transfer within the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC).


Gender and Women's Studies A.A. with Emphasis – 60 credits

The A.A. degree with Emphasis in Gender and Women's Studies offers interdisciplinary perspectives on the formation of gender and its intersections with other relations of power, such as sexuality, race, class, nationality, religion and age. Courses prepare students for careers in human services, the media, community organizing and education, among other possibilities.

Coursework   Program Planning Guide

Gender and Women's Studies Curriculum - 12 credits

Course Number Title Credits
Required (choose two) 6 cr
GWS 1000 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies (Goal 5, 7) 3 cr
GWS 1100 OR
GWS 1200
Gender, Race and American Culture (Goal 5, 7) OR
Women and Global Issues (Goal 8, 9)
3 cr
Restricted Program Electives (choose two) 6 cr
GWS 1100 Gender, Race and American Culture (Goal 5, 7) 3 cr
GWS 1200 Women and Global Issues (Goal 8, 9) 3 cr
GWS 2100 Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity (Goal 6b, 7) 3 cr
BIOL 1107 Biology of Women (Goal 3a, 7) 3 cr
BIOL 1114 Critical Issues in Human Biology (Goal 3a, 9) 3 cr
ENG 2239 Women in Literature (Goal 6b, 7) 3 cr
INTS 1140 Human Sexuality (Goal 5, 9) 3 cr
HIST 1135 History of the Family (Goal 5, 7) 3 cr
PSYC 1140 Psychology of Women (Goal 5, 7) 3 cr
Total Credits: 12

Additional General Education – 28 credits

The Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) requires a minimum of 40 credits, some of which will be satisfied by the required Gender & Women's Studies curriculum. You must complete the MnTC courses that are specifically designated below. You may choose the other courses from each goal area from the list located at:

To streamline your degree, you are encouraged to choose MnTC Goal 1-6 courses that also meet MnTC Goal areas 7-10.

Goal Description Courses
Goal 1 Communication
  • Goal 1a: ENGL 1108 Writing & Research Skills
  • Goal 1b: ENG 1111, 1114 OR 1130
  • Goal 1c:COMM 1100, 1110 OR 2230
3 courses
Goal 2 Critical Thinking
  • Satisfied by First Year Experience course or MnTC completion
Goal 3 Natural Science (1 course must include lab)
  • Goal 3a (Life Science) course
  • Goal 3b (Physical Sciences) course
2 courses
Goal 4 Mathematical/Logical Reasoning
  • Goal 4 course
1 course
Goal 5 History/Social Sciences/Behavioral Sciences
  • Satisfied by GWS 1000
  • Goal 5 course
  • Goal 5 (non-GWS) course
3 courses
Goal 6 Humanities/Fine Arts/Literature
  • Goal 6a (Fine Arts) any course
  • Goal 6b (Humanities/Literature) course
  • Any additional Goal 6 course
3 courses
Goal 7 Human Diversity
  • Satisfied by GWS 1000
1 course
Goal 8 Global Perspective
  • Goal 8 course
1 course
Goal 9 Ethical and Civic Responsibility
  • Goal 9 course
1 course
Goal 10 People and the Environment
  • Goal 10 course
1 course
Total Credits: 28

Electives – 18 credits

Electives may be courses numbered 1000 level or higher from any discipline. This may include additional courses from the Restricted Program electives and/or the MnTC. Examples of non-MnTC courses that may be taken include the following disciplines: ACCT, BUS, CJS. CS, CRDV, EDU, EMS, ENGR, HLTH, HSER, ITC, PA and PE.

Health/Physical Education - 2 Credits

For a list of the requirements and courses, go to:

Course Number Title Credits
Health   1 cr
Physical Education   1 cr
Total Credits: 2
Course Descriptions

GWS 1000  Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GWS 1000

Introduces students to the main concepts of Gender and Women Studies by examining the origins of the field of study, its theoretical and sociological underpinnings, and evolution. Explores the psychological and social construction of gendered identity, including LGBTQIA theory and social concerns, as well as the intersections of race, class and gender.

GWS 1100  Gender, Race and American Culture   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GWS 1100

Explores the historical and contemporary intersections of race, class and gender in the United States and examines the relationships between racially-based and gender-based movements for civil rights. Identifies and analyzes contemporary stereotypes regarding race, class and gender.

GWS 1200  Women and Global Issues   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GWS 1200

Explores the political, economic, environmental and cultural influences shaping women's live around the world, with a focus on the Global South and climate change. Investigates the distinction between 'global' issues and local issues by examining international commonalities, as well as differences.

GWS 2100  Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity   3.0 cr

Course Outline for GWS 2100

Explores key psychological, linguistic and philosophical theories on the origins of masculinity and femininity as essential gendered characteristics. Identifies current cultural assumptions about gender, masculinity and femininity and explores how LGBTQIA theory complicates these assumptions.

Transfer Information

The A.A. with Emphasis in Gender and Women's Studies at Inver Hills has articulation agreements with the following four-year institutions:

Meet the Faculty

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Clubs & Organizations

Student Clubs

LGBT+ Club

Purpose: Foster an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance of diversity in sexual orientation, to combat homophobia, discrimination, and harassment in order to create a place of support, respect, pride and safety for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) members and their supporters.

To learn more, contact:

Rachael Youngren
LGBT+ Club Advisor

Amy Zsohar
LGBT+ Club Faculty Advisor

James Kolles
LGBT+ Club Faculty Advisor

Professional Organizations

Employment Information

Majoring in Gender and Women's Studies gives you an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the complex arrangements that define human societies. You'll analyze issues regarding injustice, oppression, race, gender and culture from American and global perspectives.

You will build the skill set of the future while following a pathway to a wiser understanding of yourself, the people you know and love, and the worlds of people all around you.

Gender and Women's Studies delivers a liberal arts education based on critical thinking and superb communication skills in both writing and presentation, exactly the qualities employers need in the modern workforce.

As a GWS major you will:

  • Maximize your knowledge on contemporary social issues
  • Maximize your understanding of diversity in gender, sexuality, race, culture and class
  • Maximize your insights into reasons and solutions for injustice and oppression
  • Maximize your ability to analyze inequities and initiate change

Occupations pursued by GWS majors

  • Communication consultant
  • Congressional aide
  • Counselor
  • Energy conservation manager
  • Filmmaker
  • Foreign policy advisor
  • Foundation executive director
  • Hate crimes victim advocate
  • Health clinic coordinator
  • Human rights organization director
  • Human services administrator
  • Journalist
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Politician
  • Professor
  • Rape crisis center director
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Public health educator
  • Public relations director
  • Social service agency manager
  • Social worker
  • Teacher
Why Inver Hills?

Completing your A.A. in Gender and Women's Studies degree obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. You will receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with GWS faculty
  2. You will get experience working to understand and find solutions to complex social issues important to people across the gender spectrum
  3. You will save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

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