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The University of Tennessee

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Women’s Studies Major Guide for 2008-2009

What is Women’s Studies

Women’s Studies encourages inquiry into the full range of human experience by raising new questions and opening new areas of research concerning women. The discipline enriches the traditional Arts and Sciences curriculum by adding new perspectives on women’s lives and accomplishments. Women’s Studies can broaden the education of both male and female students by helping them to understand the limitations placed on both sexes by narrowly defined sex roles. The program offers a major, a minor and a graduate certificate. The graduate certificate is designed to provide a supplementary perspective for students already enrolled in graduate programs, to provide an entry into graduate study for those who are exploring a number of disciplinary approaches, to provide enrichment for members of the community who have a BA or an advanced degree, and to develop skills for professionals in various fields.

Career Opportunities in Women’s Studies

Wherever there is a need to understand women and an interest in the new roles they are playing in society, Women’s Studies can enhance a student’s career preparation and opportunities. Careers in public policy and government, education, law, health, journalism, and business may build on a foundation in Women’s Studies.

Salary Trends in Women’s Studies

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary. As a group, Arts and Sciences graduates average $33,258 (

High School Preparation

Students find that a broad preparation in critical thinking, logic, research methods, and writing skill is beneficial in completing a major or minor in Women’s Studies. Students will be well-served by courses that promote an enjoyment of the arts, an understanding of diverse philosophies and methodologies, a tolerance for cross-cultural perspectives, and by building the skills needed to pursue basic as well as applied scholarship.

How to Major in Women’s Studies

Students should be in good academic standing and should declare their major by the beginning of their junior year, but may do so at any point in their academic career. The chair of Women’s Studies typically assists students in their course planning and signs advising cards and petitions.

Requirements for Women’s Studies

The Major Concentration in Women’s Studies consists of 30 semester hours including 12 hours of required courses. Required courses include one of the Images of Women in Literature courses (210 or 215), Women in Society (220), Emergence of the Modern American Woman (310), and at least three hours of Independent Study (493). An additional eighteen credit hours of electives complete the major and must include at least one course from each of the three major focal areas: Women’s Heritage (383, 432, 453, 466, 483), Contemporary Issues (320, 340, 360, 375, 382, 410, 425, 434, 476), and Literature and the Arts (330, 332, 422, 433, 469). As its content varies, Women’s Studies 400 may be included in any of these areas. Students are encouraged to take at least nine hours in one of the focal areas (heritage, arts, or contemporary issues).
The minor is comprised of 18 credit hours consisting of one of the images of Women in Literature courses (210 or 215), Women in Society (220), and an additional 12 hours of upper divisions Women’s Studies courses.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Foreign study (WS 491) and off campus study (WS 492) may count toward completion of the major and should be arranged in advance through an individual drop/add process with a specific faculty sponsor and approval of the chair of Women’s Studies. The required independent study WS 493 is similarly arranged by individual drop/add with a specific faculty sponsor and approval by the chair of Women’s Studies.

Highlights of Women’s Studies

The Women’s Studies program offers an education with outstanding scholars and artists across a wide range of disciplines within the humanities, law, health, and the social sciences. Women’s Studies courses help students to develop critical thinking about the economic, social, and legal factors influencing women’s roles in contemporary and historical societies, evaluating those roles in the widest possible perspectives.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

"Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education website ( or the Ready for the World website ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. 
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  Visit the Programs Abroad Office website ( for information on study abroad opportunities.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
Foreign Language 6
Natural Science Lab Sequence 8
Quantitative Reasoning 6-8
Women’s Studies 220 3
Elective 0-2
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Non-US History sequence 6
Natural Science 3
Foreign Language or General Electives 6
Social Sciences 9
Women’s Studies 210 or 215 3
Humanities List B 3
Junior Year Credit Hours
Humanities 3
Upper Division Electives 12
Women’s Studies 310 3
Women’s Studies (major) 9
Communicating Orally 3
General Electives 3
Senior Year Credit Hours
Women’s Studies 493 3
Women’s Studies (major) 9
Upper Level Distribution 6
Communicating Through Writing 3
General Electives 5
GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

For More Information

Dr. Ken Gilbert
(Department Head)
or Dr. William Seaver
(Chairman of the undergraduate curriculum committee and undergraduate advisor)
phone: (865) 974-2556



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.