Women and Gender Studies
Varner Hall, Room 521
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(248) 370-2154



The university requirements for a bachelor's degree as described in the OU Undergraduate Catalog include at least 28 credits counted towards the major that must be at the 300 level or above. The requirements for the major include 40 credits in Women and Gender Studies.
Major and Minor
WGS Major

Requirements for the major include 40 Credits in Women and Gender Studies distributed as follows:
  • WGS 200 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
  • WGS 320 Feminist Theory
  • WGS 321 Methods of Feminist Analysis
  • WGS 399 Field Experience in Women and Gender Studies
  • WGS 405 Women and Gender Studies Capstone Course
  • 5 electives
Please note that WGS 320 and 321 should be taken in the junior year and WGS 399 and 405 should be taken in the senior year.  Read more about the major requirements.

WGS Minor

Requirements for a liberal arts minor in Women and Gender Studies (20 Credits):
  • WGS 200 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
  • WGS 320 Feminist Theory
  • WGS 321 Methods of Feminist Analysis
  • Two electives
You can major in Social Work and minor in Women and Gender Studies. The minor in WGS will fulfill the Social Work exploratory requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Starting in Fall 2015, we offer a minor in LGBTQ studies. For more information, click here
Course Offerings
The Women and Gender Studies Program offers a liberal arts major and minor designed to engage students in understanding the complex relationships between gender, power, and representation. As an interdisciplinary field of study—linking the humanities, arts, social sciences, and education—the WGS program enables and inspires women and men to work together to promote social justice, and prepares students to pursue a variety of meaningful professional endeavors.

The WGS program is student-centered, offering small class sizes that promote active interaction between students and professors. We also possess the only major on campus that encourages students to explore and hone their career interests through an internship and a major research project of the student’s design. Internships provide students with hands-on experience in relevant professional arenas, training students to be successful in a range of occupations. Employers prefer students who have completed internships and interns also fare better in a weak job market. Similarly, research projects demonstrate to employers that students are ready to engage in independent and critical thinking and they also prepare students for graduate study. The fusion of academic wisdom with marketplace know-how is a winning combination that our students leverage to enhance their career success.

To learn more about the WGS major or minor, click on the links to the right. If you wish to declare your major or minor in WGS, complete the Change of Major or Minor Request Form. For more information, contact Jo Reger.
Special Topics
Winter 2016, WGS 301: Nineteenth-Century Rhetorical Fiction
MWF, 1:20-2:27 p.m.
Instructor: Lori Ostergaard, Special Instructor of Writing and Rhetoric

This special topics course will combine a study of the rhetoric of nineteenth-century women’s rights movements—suffrage, temperance, property and marriage rights, and education—with an analysis of the rhetorical fiction women wrote during this time. A special emphasis will be placed on women’s novels as this genre emerged alongside, and in many ways played a role in, these movements. Thus, nonfiction works including Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Julia Ward Howe’s Sex and Education, and Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” will be read alongside short novels, including George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Frances E. W. Harper’s Iola Leroy, and Julia Ward Howe’s The Hermaphrodite. This course is partially-online.