What is Women's & Gender Studies?

Women's & Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate Program, that provides an academic framework and broad-based community for scholarly inquiry focusing on women, gender, race, and sexuality. Exploring gender with the tools of multiple disciplines, WGS subjects strive to help MIT students better understand how knowledge and value take different forms depending on a variety of social variables. In the course of their inquiry, students not only learn how to use gender as a category of analysis, but also reflect on the manifestation of gender in their own lives, leading to a range of personal and intellectual discoveries. Although gender is a central component of every subject, the study of gender requires attention to connections between gender, sexuality, race, class, religion, nationality, and other social categories; different subjects shed light on different aspects of such connections.

WGS offers an undergraduate curriculum consisting of core classes and cross-listed subjects from several departments. Students may concentrate, minor and petition for a major departure in WGS. There are more than 40 faculty members who are affiliated with the Program from fields as diverse as architecture, history, comparative media studies, music and theater arts, brain and cognitive sciences, literature, and political science. WGS offers 28 classes, crosslisted in approximately 16 different fields. During the academic year 2008 - 2009, approximately 300 students enrolled in our courses.

WGS is also an important resource for MIT faculty with an advanced knowledge of gender studies within particular disciplines who are interested in learning more across disciplinary lines. We also welcome faculty who have an emerging interest in the field of Women's & Gender Studies.

MIT is also a part of the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies, which was established in 1993 jointly between MIT and six other institutions -- Radcliffe College, Boston College, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Tufts University. The Consortium now also includes Boston University and Simmons College.

An award offered annually, the Louis Kampf Writing Prize in Women's & Gender Studies, was founded in 1996 in honor of retired literature professor Louis Kampf.

A chair in women's and gender studies, the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Professorship in the Study of Women in the Developing World, was established in 1996. WGS hosts the Geneviève McMillan/Reba Stewart Lecture on Women in the Developing World each semester.