Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How do I become a WGSS major?

You are welcome to visit any of the classes listed as WGSS or approved for credit so that you may get acquainted with the possibilities WGSS offers. Enrolling in an introductory course will create a closer acquaintance with the progression of classes that constitute the WGSS major.

a. Get a major plan form from the Registar’s office;
b. Write down a list of courses that fit the criteria described in the College Catalog under “Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies”;
c. Visit your advisor to discuss the feasibility of the plan and to check that the courses you have listed are eligible; get a signature from the advisor;
d. Visit the Chair of WGSS to get a signature on the form or to discuss any questions that may arise; in case of the latter, discuss whether any other combination of courses will meet the criteria;
e. Submit the form to the Registar’s office;
f. Notify the WGSS coordinator (Old Main 409) that you have declared your major and request to be included in the majors/minors email list so that you may receive news of all the exciting meetings, events, and other developments regarding WGSS.

2. How do I minor in WGSS?

You are welcome to visit any of the classes listed as WGSS or approved for credit so that you may get acquainted with the possibilities WGSS offers. Enrolling in an introductory course will create a closer acquaintance with the progression of classes that constitute the WGSS major.

a. Get a minor plan form from the Registar’s office;
b. Write down a list of courses that fit the criteria described in the College Catalog under “Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies”;
c. Visit your advisor to discuss the feasibility of the plan and to check that the courses you have listed are eligible; get a signature from the advisor;
d. Visit the Chair of WGSS to get a signature on the form or to discuss any questions that may arise; in case of the latter, discuss whether any other combination of courses will meet the criteria;
e. Submit the form to the Registar’s office;
f. Notify the WGSS coordinator (Old Main 409) that you have declared your major and request to be included in the majors/minors email list so that you may receive news of all the exciting meetings, events, and other developments regarding WGSS.

3. Is there a list of approved classes for the major?

The College Catalog lists the “core” courses offered directly from the department. At present, these are courses taught by Professor Sonita Sarker and Professor Corie Hammers. The catalog also lists courses either crosslisted (i.e., designated by WGS numbers) or approved for credit; these are courses that are taught by professors from a number of other departments.

4. What is the most popular disciplinary focus for WGSS majors?

WGSS is an interdisciplinary major and minor. This means that students are invited to discuss with their advisor her/his academic and professional interests, and to combine courses that help to achieve that goal. For example, a student may be interested in the cultural sphere—taking courses in humanities and the fine arts may satisfy that goal, while fulfilling the criteria required for the major.

5. Are most WGSS majors double majors? Should I be a double major?

No. This is an open option but WGSS now has majors devoted solely to the department. Taking the option to be a double major should be a topic to discuss with your advisor.

6. How can I get in touch with current majors to talk about their experience?

Visit the WGSS office (Old Main 409) or the Chair to find out more; first, discuss your ideas with the Chair so that she may guide you towards specific majors. You are also most welcome to attend the many WGSS events throughout the year to become acquainted with a variety of majors who will have different perspectives to offer you. Enrolling in a WGSS class is yet another way to meet current majors.

7. What can you do with a WGSS major? What do WGSS majors do after graduation?

WGSS majors go on to a range of exciting jobs and careers. Many go to graduate school after a brief venture in social work organizations, paid internships, employment in schools, cultural arts groups, etc. The Alumni Office tracks the paths that all majors take and a visit to that office will generate more specific information about people and their contact information, if you wish to talk further to these alumni about your plans.


8. Can I study abroad if I am a WGSS major? What types of study abroad programs does the WGS program recommend?

Certainly! WGSS encourages experience away or abroad as a way to expand upon the national and international foci that infuse the courses in the department at all levels. You are encouraged also to discuss the kinds of study abroad programs that suit the direction your courses have taken with more than one source—the chair of the department, your advisor, and with the International Student Center. You may also consult with other WGSS majors/minors about the paths that led to their choices. Students often select study abroad programs that have an explicit and sustained focus on women’s, gender, or sexuality issues in relation to politics, development, and other topics.

9. How can I get an internship at a community organization that links to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies? How do I structure an internship into my WGSS coursework?

The Internships Office, the Community Services Office, the Chair of WGSS, your advisor, and your instructor in the WGS course in which you may be enrolled are all resources that will help to answer these questions. The WGSS website lists a number of community organizations at which WGSS majors/minors have interned.

Most introductory WGSS courses address the idea and purpose of interning at community organizations. Some specific course descriptions state clearly whether internships are required as part of the criteria or as part of the assignments. There is always an opportunity in the WGSS “core” courses to discuss with the instructor whether the internship you are enrolled in, during that particular term, may be integrated into your assignments.

10. Can I count courses from other institutions towards my WGSS major?

Yes. The courses you may have taken elsewhere (including ACTC and study abroad) should be grounded in the kinds of topics, foci, and methodologies as courses offered in the Macalester College WGSS curriculum. There are a couple of steps to follow in order to count these courses towards credit for your WGSS major—

a. Prepare a cover sheet with a rationale (2 or 3 paragraphs) explaining why the course applies for WGSS credit, in your opinion; also describe briefly the kinds of topics and assignments in the courses.
b. Attach the syllabus of the course in question, along with examples of the assignments as well as the evaluation by the professor who taught that course or directed the program.
c. Submit this information in a folder or file to the WGSS chair. She will then consult with the WGSS steering committee and inform you within two weeks about the decision to grant credit for the course.

11. How do I choose an advisor? Who can serve as my WGSS advisor?

It is best to choose an advisor based on your academic interests. You are invited to discuss your plans with the WGSS chair or professor in whose class you may be enrolled, and seek more specific directions in selecting an advisor.

Any professor who teaches the “core” courses (currently Professor Sarker and Professor Hammers) and those crosslisted or approved for credit may be your advisor.

12. How do I start an Honors Project? What are the guidelines?

Go to Honor Projects

13. How can I become more involved with the WGSS department? How can I contribute to the newsletter?

You are most welcome not only to take courses in the department but also to attend the many meetings and events that WGSS hosts. The department has a steering committee that oversees the general administration, the policy-making, and other important tasks associated with the running of the department—we seek students who are interested in governance to discuss with the WGSS chair possible participation in this committee.

One other specific way to contribute to the profile of the department is to edit or contribute to the WGSS newsletter that is issued once every semester. Please visit the link to the newsletter on the website to gain a better idea of what this entails. The newsletter is distributed beyond the department—to the campus and to other WGSS departments nationally and internationally.