The minor in gender and women’s studies at Western Michigan University brings an additional perspective to any field of study. Minors take one common course, Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies, and choose from an extensive list of options for the elective courses which best suit their interests and career goals. To sign up for the minor and to learn more about course options, students should meet with the advisor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies.


Gender and women's studies minors must complete 22 hours of course work.

  • One required course: GWS 2000, Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies (four credits).
  • The remaining 18 hours of electives draw from the list of GWS courses and approved electives (see the University catalog for the full listing of approved courses).

Tips for success

  • Choose a major that is meaningful to you.
    There are no particular majors that we recommended to minors. College and departmental advisors are happy to help you learn about options. Although any major can be combined with a minor in gender and women's studies, some of the more popular ones are communication, English, psychology and sociology. A gender and women's studies minor is an asset to business majors, those working toward science and health-related professions, pre-law students and future counselors, educators and social workers. Our minor is a great complement to liberal arts degrees in the humanities and fine art degrees and to other interdisciplinary programs, such as global studies and environmental studies.
  • Earn general education credit while completing your minor.
    Courses in your gender and women's studies minor may be used for general education credit. Make sure to visit College of Arts and Sciences advising periodically to ensure that you are fulfilling your general university requirements.
  • Seek advising.
    This is our number one recommendation. We can help you avoid unnecessary stress as you approach graduation. For instance, an elective course that fits with your major and a second minor (e.g., Women in European History) can only be applied to gender and women's studies or your degree in another department, not both. At your advising appointment, we will make sure you have the credits you need to graduate.
  • Strive to earn good grades.
    You need a C or better in the courses you want to count toward your minor. If you earn a 3.0 GPA or higher and have completed six GWS credits or electives, you are eligible for membership in our honor society.
  • Substitutions are possible.
    We will keep an eye out for courses that could count toward your gender and women's studies degree during advising meetings. If you took a course—or are thinking of taking a course—with a focus on gender or women that is not listed in the university catalog, it still may be able to apply to your minor. Check with the chair of gender and women's studies if you would like to have a course evaluated for approval. Courses taken at other two-year or four-year colleges are the most common substitutions we make; one-time special topics courses (e.g., GLBT Theater) can be counted as well.
  • Visit the department.
    We want to meet you, learn more about your interests and share information that is vital to your success in the department. Plus we offer a T-shirt and other items with our logo on it to students who sign up for our degree programs. Stop by!