Women's Studies & Gender Studies (WMNST) at Penn State Behrend is designed to address the concerns and interests of both women and men. It asks students to think about the impact of gender in their lives and to interpret both their own experiences and social expectations. The WMNST minor is interdisciplinary; students take courses in a variety of fields, including communication, history, literature, political science, psychology, and more.
To obtain a minor in Women's Studies, students are required to complete 18 credits of coursework, 6 prescribed and 12 supporting. The supporting credits, which students choose from a program-approved list, must include at least 3 credits each in arts and humanities and natural or social sciences, and 3 credits focusing on non-Western women or on women of color in the United States. A total of 6 credits must be at the 400 level.
When students complete the minor requirements, they receive a certificate, and the minor is noted on their official transcript.
The minor requires 18 credits of coursework. Please note that certain courses are required (see below)
Required Coursework (6 credits)
Take one Introductory Course: (either WMNST 001 or 003), and also take WMNST 301
WMNST 001 Introduction to Women's Studies (3) (GS;US;IL)
The introductory course defines terms such as patriarchy and feminism and provides conceptual frameworks for the causes and effects of women's subordination, as well as their contributions to society. Race and class issues as they intersect gender are also examined. Images of women and men in psychology, the arts, philosophy, history, religion, and the sciences are among the subjects individual instructors may emphasize. WMNST 001 is usually taught in the fall semester.
WMNST 106 (formerly WMST 003) Representing Women and Gender in Literature, Art and Popular Cultures (3) (GH;US;IL)
Women's Studies 106 examines the experiences, achievements, and status of women in the humanities and the arts. What does it mean to be an American woman? What is the lived experience of being a female artist? These questions will guide us in our exploration of literature, art, poetry, popular music, dance, film, and television by and about women. Sample figures studied might include Virginia Woolf, Martha Graham, Toni Morrison, Judy Garland, the Riot Grrrl Punk Movement, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WMNST 106 is usually taught in the spring semester.
WMNST 301 Introduction to Feminist Thought (3)
Theories are ways of making sense of the world. In this class, we read famous essays about gender—but we also apply them by looking at your own lives, and at images of women in the media. For example, how does the career of Madonna intersect with gender performativity? What does Mean Girls tell us about the theory of relational aggression? How does your life online relate to cyberfeminism? This course is required for the WMNST minor.
WMNST 301 is usually taught every other spring.
Supporting Coursework (12 credits)
Your remaining 12 credits will need to follow the following distribution:
- 3 credits from Arts or Humanities
- 3 credits from the natural or social sciences
- 3 credits focused on non-Western women or U.S. women of color
- 6 credits overall must come from 400-level classes.
Courses vary by year and include offerings in sociology, psychology, English, communications, and other fields. Some substitutions are also allowable.