Gender & Women's Studies (GWS)

The mission of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies is to promote and support teaching, research and outreach that works to contest the historical, ongoing and pervasive gender-based oppressions within society. Gender and Women’s Studies aims to be an evolving interdisciplinary forum for scholarship including but not limited to: feminist approaches to all possible areas of scholarly investigation; the study of the constitution of women’s lives in diverse social contexts; analysis of feminisms; the exploration of women’s movements; the study of the inextricably interconnected processes by which social formations such as gender, race, class, sexuality and nation are constructed.

History of the Department of Gender and Women's Studies

Nearly 50 years ago, Women's Studies began as an undergraduate program committed to excellent in teaching, research, and service. At that time it had only one faculty member.

Shortly after its founding, Women’s Studies partnered with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) to foster collaborative research projects on issues related to women's employment, health, education, and culture within the southwestern United States and the US-Mexico border region.

In 1983, Women's Studies began offering a Bachelor of Arts degree, and two years later, the Women's Studies Advisory Council (WOSAC) was formed to generate financial and political support for Women's Studies. After much advocacy and commitment on the part of the Women’s Studies faculty, the Arizona Board of Regents granted Women's Studies department status in 1997 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today the Department of Gender and Women's Studies offers a B.A. with optional concentrations in Chicana/Latina Studies and Sexualities and Queer Studies concentrations. The department also offers a Juris Doctorate/M.A. in conjunction with Rogers College of Law; a graduate certificate, and a Ph.D. in Gender and Women's Studies. Our graduate program is one of the best in the nation.

Our faculty are nationally ranked scholars in a wide variety of disciplines (transnational studies, Chicana studies, post structuralist theory, ethnic studies, Black Studies, feminist science, environmental justice to name a few). In addition to the core faculty, the department has grown to include numerous affiliated faculty from across the university and students are encouraged to also study with those affiliates