The Department of Gender and Women's Studies at Western Michigan University offers a diverse array of courses.

Upcoming offerings that may be used toward a gender and women's studies major or minor


WMU course offerings provides a full listing of course offerings organized by department and semester.

Distribution areas

Area II: Humanities

  • GWS 1000, Media and the Sexes
    "I think this class really hits home because we are such a media driven society, and the class helps you to be able to see the effects media has on our lives as well as people's views on women and culture."—Emily McCulloch

Area III: The United States, Cultures and Issues

  • GWS 2000, Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
    "While taking this class, I found myself always wanting to know more, reading ahead, and really being interested in class. I was actually excited to go to class, even on blizzard days! I believe that you should love what you do, and I loved learning about the topics we studied, the power that women hold, and how they have achieved social change." —Lauren Russo
  • GWS 2010, LGBT Studies
    "This course taught me about how different identities shape what makes an individual who they are. I enjoyed that it was a safe place to ask questions and to acknowledge that while our society has made a lot of progress, we still have a lot of work to do in order to ensure basic human rights for all." —Katie DiBiase
  • GWS 3500, Psychological Perspectives on Gender
    "This course exposed the gendered assumptions that almost the whole class assumed to be natural and then went on to show how socially constructed they actually are. I think it will affect how a lot of the students, myself included, think about people around them as well as how they will parent." —Danielle Mott

Area IV: Other Cultures and Civilizations

  • GWS 3200, Women, Globalization and Social Change
    "This class focuses on women worldwide, covering a wide range of issues but also ways to approach the issues along with inspirational stories of women who are fighting for gender equality in many different cultures. I feel that everyone should take this class. It gives you a thorough understanding of the importance of intersectionality and makes you more sensitive to issues throughout the world and at home."  —Chanda Ringel

Area VII: Natural Science and Technology, Applications and Implications

  • GWS 3400, Race, Gender and Science
    "When learning history and science in the past, I never asked, 'Who wrote these textbooks? How accurate is the information? What is the story behind the facts?' Race, Gender and Science encouraged students to question all things, but have an educated and well-developed reason for doing so. It was not until I took it that I really understood what thinking critically meant." —Samantha LoBue


Proficiency 2: Baccalaureate Level Writing

  • GWS 4010, Foundations of Feminist Theory
    "This is a well-rounded, challenging class. It allowed me to develop a vocabulary and insight necessary to further my education within gender and women's studies. This class is about understanding ourselves, others, questioning all things from all angles, and finding connections within connections." —Alisa Spencer

More courses

These popular classes count toward the major or minor in gender and women's studies.

  • GWS 3700, Special Topics
    Recent topics have included Beyonce: Critical Feminist Perspectives of US Black Womanhood; Collective Action; Girlhood Stories: Fiction and Film; and Queer History.
  • GWS 4100, Special Topics
    Recent offerings have included Islam, Gender and Media; Motherhood Denied? Race, Class, and Reproductive Rights; Black Feminisms; Black Lives Matter; Women and Politics; and Queer Theory.
  • GWS 4400, Internship Seminar
    "My internship worked to empower people, combat inequality, and create social justice through social change. Doing an internship in gender and women's studies is a fantastic way to put your education into practice." —Christine Babcock

Outside of the department, a number of recommended courses focus on gender. Below is a list of some of the regularly offered options; see the University catalog for the full listing. Contact the department chair if you'd like to add your testimonial to this page.

  • ANTH 2600, Sex, Gender and Culture
    "This class taught me to challenge the intersection of race, gender and biology, not only in the United States but across all cultures. It looks in-depth at socially constructed gender binaries. I would recommend Sex, Gender and Culture to any WMU student who is curious about social constructs around the world and is looking to open their mind!" —Taylor Roberts
  • ANTH 3480, Gender and Plastic Bodies
    "This class gave me deeper insight into concepts which I had felt my whole life, but was unable to describe. It allowed me to open up my mind and explore the world in terms of gender inequities and other forms of inequality." —Jeremy Wu
  • COM 4790, Gender and Communication
"My favorite thing about this class was learning about non-verbal communication. It went over some of the basic ideas of intersectionality and definitions about gender/sex that would really benefit someone who is newly experiencing this language." —Alaina Gabrielson
  • ENGL 4160, Women in Literature
    "This class is fun, dynamic, and has a wide stylistic spread. Several prominent female authors are examined through the lens of gender and feminism; their societal context and their own lives provide intriguing backgrounds for their writing. Yes, male authors are great, but have you read any female authors lately?" —Katrina Tezak
  • FCS 2100, Human Sexuality
    "This is not your typical human anatomy course. We focused on gender as a social construct, and our professor created a safe space for students to learn and ask questions about their bodies. My favorite day included a panel and Q&A session with trans/queer individuals. I personally wish that every student would take this class at some point during their college career." —Sydney Bicknell
  • FCS 3150, Global Ecology of the Family
    "This course has given me a better understanding of my own place in society and how societal factors have influenced, and continue to influence me and affect my relationships with others.  Many of the same factors influence families around the globe, and this understanding is important in the diverse world we live in today." —Tara Chambers
  • HIST 3160, Women in U.S. History
    "This course opened my eyes to the sexist and racist components hidden in the version of history I had been taught all my life. It also taught me to appreciate the women who came before me because without their radical ideas and relentless hard work, I would not be where I am now." —Marilyn Bean
  • HIST 3360, Women in European History
    "The class shows you what average women were doing throughout time as well as the change of gender roles over time. The most important concept I have taken away from the class is that women played such a key role in many pivotal events. I highly recommend this class." —Rena Laws
  • PADM 2000, Introduction to Nonprofit Leadership
    "Students interested in working or volunteering for a nonprofit organization should consider taking this course. You learn how a nonprofit operates and what a board of directors does, plus the professor shares from their first-hand experience in nonprofits. You also get to learn about your favorite nonprofit of your choosing for a class project." —Michael Towns-Wheatley
  • PHIL 3150, Race and Gender Issues
    "This class challenged me to consider the main topics discussed in my gender and women’s studies classes from a different lens than usual. We asked, is race even real? Is gender even real? And if so, how is it real? It helped me better understand how the experience of race and gender is different for all people, including, for example, mixed race families."—Erin Zimmerman
  • PSCI 3460, Women in Developing Countries
    "This class is important to take when studying gender issues, specifically relating to women because it highlights women globally and from a political perspective. Through reading articles and novels, watching many documentaries, taking field trips, and in-depth class discussions, this class makes us more aware of the different issues women face." —Skyler Buffmyer