Women's Studies

Find out what you'll learn in a women's studies program, and get info about your undergraduate and graduate degree options in this field. Explore some careers you could pursue with an education in women's studies.

Is Women's Studies For Me?

Overview

Like many fields under the umbrella of liberal studies, women's studies is an interdisciplinary field that emphasizes analytical thinking skills and examines relevant issues in society, which can be useful in an array of different careers such as education, law, counseling and social work. Women's studies focuses on the study of gender roles in society and how those can influence our experiences in society. As a professional in the field of women's studies, you'll provide insight and work towards improving issues regarding employment equality, sexual harassment, domestic violence and family issues that directly affect women. Possible careers vary for those with degrees in women's studies. You may work for a government agency or nonprofit organization, or as an educator, social worker or counselor.

Employment

If you're interested in a career related to women's studies, you can expect favorable job prospects over the next several years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary teachers of area, ethnic and cultural studies programs, social workers and substance abuse counselors are all projected to see faster than average employment growth over the 2012-2022 decade, with increases of 16%, 19% and 31%, respectively (www.bls.gov). The best opportunities are expected for those seeking work in substance abuse counseling, family social work and at educational institutions that cater to adult learners. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $41,530 for family social workers and $38,520 for substance abuse counselors in May 2012. During the same period, postsecondary teachers in area, ethnic and cultural studies earned a reported median annual wage of $67,360.

How Can I Work in Women's Studies?

Education

Degree programs in women's studies, which are available at both the undergraduate and graduate degree level, examine traditional gender roles, inequality in the workplace, gender identity and other relevant women's issues. Women's studies classes include the study of women's issues as they relate to class, race and equality. A women's studies program also examines other factors that intertwine with gender studies, including race, ethnicity, social class and sexuality.

Students interested in an education in women's studies can pursue degrees such as an Associate of Arts (A.A.) with a women's studies concentration, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Women's and Gender Studies, Master of Arts (M.A.) in Women's Studies or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Women's Studies. Common B.A. coursework includes women's reproduction and health, politics and sexuality, gender in the workplace, gender as a social construct and global feminism. M.A. programs include courses such as research methods and analysis of feminist theory and practicums, as well as a master's thesis project. A Ph.D. program in women's studies has required courses such as feminist genealogies and contemporary feminist theory and methodology, and it culminates in qualifying exams and an independently researched doctoral dissertation.

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