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Gender and Women Studies

Your coursework in Gender and Women 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 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 Studies

Contact Information

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

Admissions Team
College Center

You can earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) with Emphasis in Gender and Women Studies and transfer your credits to a four-year college or university to pursue GWS as your major. Gender and Women 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 Studies courses transfer within the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC).


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

This program 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.

Note: To earn the A.A. with Emphasis, students need to complete all requirements for a general A.A. degree incorporating the specific requirements of their chosen emphasis. Careful planning with an academic counselor is strongly advised to tailor the emphasis to meet the requirements of the student’s chosen four-year college or university.

Coursework   Program Planning Guide

Gender and Women Studies Curriculum

Incorporate the following gender and women studies coursework into the requirements of an A.A. degree as part of the MnTC or within the elective category.

Course Number Title Credits
GWS 1000 Introduction to Gender and Women Studies 3 cr
GWS 1100 OR
GWS 1200
Gender, Race and American Culture OR
Women and Global Issues
3 cr
Choose two additional courses from:
BIOL 1114 Critical Issues in Human Biology 3 cr
BIOL 1107 Biology of Women 3 cr
ENG 2239 Women in Literature 3 cr
PSYC 1140 Psychology of Women 3 cr
HSER/INTS 1140 Human Sexuality 3 cr
HIST 1135 History of the Family 3 cr
GWS 1100 Gender, Race and American Culture 3 cr
GWS 1200 Women and Global Issues 3 cr
GWS 2100 Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity 3 cr

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum – 40 credits

Courses from the Gender and Women Studies curriculum may be applied to the MnTC requirements. The specific requirements for the MnTC are outlined as part of the Associate of Arts degree. See A.A. degree requirements section of the catalog

General Electives – 18 credits

Courses from any department numbered 1000 or higher. Courses from the Gender and Women Studies emphasis not applied to the MnTC should be incorporated into the elective category.

Health/Physical Education – 2 credits

The specific requirements for Health/Physical Education are outlined as part of the Associate of Arts degree. See A.A. degree requirements section of the catalog.

Course Descriptions

GWS 1000  Introduction to Gender and Women 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, and cultural influences shaping women's lives around the world, with a focus on emerging and non-Western nations. 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 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:

Lisa DuRose
English Instructor
LGBT+ Club Faculty Advisor

Pam Fergus
Psychology Instructor
LGBT+ Club Faculty Advisor

Professional Organizations

Employment Information

Majoring in Gender and Women 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 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 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.

Additional resources

Academic Calendar