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Women's & Gender Studies

About the program

Women's and Gender Studies prepares students for the complexities of the real world, both at home and at work, by introducing students to the many ways that gender structures lives, relationships, and institutions.

Students learn to think critically about the ways that gender works in tandem with sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, and social class; to use feminist models to analyze historical and contemporary social issues in the U.S. and globally, and to work with others to find a voice and initiate change.

The major and minor in Women's and Gender Studies includes both specialized courses and courses from the general education curriculum that include analysis of women, masculinity, sexuality, or gender as a significant component of the course. Many students choose to integrate internships — particularly with non-profits in the Quad Cities — or study abroad into their experience. Internship and graduate school information is available from the coordinator.

Clothesline Strength
Women's & Gender Studies students assemble a Clothesline Project on campus, October 2012. For more on the Clothesline Project, see

What our students say

"Overall, this class has provided me with knowledge that will go past just the class room and into real life experiences."

"Classes in this department have given me the knowledge and confidence that I need to go out into the work of graduate school and later into the field of social science knowing that I will have a firm foundation."

"I did not give much thought to being a woman until I took a WGS course....I never knew how strongly I felt about these issues until I took courses in the WGST department."

"I see myself as a stronger and more independent woman in society."

"I no longer see feminists as women who are outrageous and burn their bras. I see feminists as people who are advocating for the betterment of women's lives."

"This term I learned things about myself and the world around me that I never would have imagined. I was made aware if issues that are ignored day to day for some reason but really need to be fixed. I think by taking this class it has made me a better, more aware, young individual."

"My writing and critical thinking skills have developed exponentially since I began taking these courses...I have learned how to effectively argue my position and critically analyze our society because of the tools these classes have given me."

Special opportunities

  • Mary Wollstonecraft Award for Student Writing (awarded each spring)
  • Vazquez-Valarezo Poetry Award (awarded each spring)
  • Feminist Tea Series (opportunity to learn about faculty research on gender and sexuality, 2 per term)
  • Annual fundraisers to raise awareness of domestic violence on campus and in the community
  • Opportunities to meet with visiting scholars, local leaders, and community activists
  • Women's Leadership Symposium (biannual)
  • Research projects with faculty
  • Opportunities to partner with campus groups and programs such as Diversity Services, Augustana Gay-Straight Alliance, Sigma Alpha Iota (women's music fraternity), and others
  • Course work and programming that offer significant opportunities to engage in activism on campus and in the community on issues such as health education, GLBT awareness, violence prevention, and global equality
  • Course work and programming that offer significant opportunities to engage in activism on campus and in the community on issues such as health education, GLBT awareness, violence prevention, and global equality

What graduates say

Courtney James '08, major in women's and gender studies, English, and sociology; Assistant Director of Campus Activities at the University of Central Oklahoma

My courses in WGS allowed me to gain a critical lens in the way I view the world and interact with different types of people.  Prior to my classes in WGS, I essentially lived in a bubble, thinking that my way of life was shared with the majority of people around the country.  Through my courses at Augustana, I learned about the different challenges that people face because of their differences in gender, sex, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, socioeconomic status, and other factors.  Because of this, I am comfortable and confident when I have conversations with the college students I work with to challenge their ways of thinking.  My major in WGS benefits me every day in the work that I do and allows me to challenge and support the students I work with.

 Finding a career with WGS: as real world as it gets!

What kind of job can you get with a degree in Women's & Gender Studies? Our majors and minors are working in fields ranging from health care to law, non-profits to IT. You'll find our grads in....


School Psychologist, Chicago

Teacher, Milwaukee Public Schools

Teacher, Ridgewood High School

Asst. Dir. Of Campus Activities, UCO


Americorps Volunteer, Seattle

Peace Corps Volunteer, Gabon

Lutheran Volunteer Corps, Atlanta  

Media & Communications 

Senior Production Editor, Chicago

Desktop Publisher, Geneseo

Freelance Writer, Chicago

Journalist, Rock Island

Technical Writer, Arlington Heights

Health Care

Program Dir., St. Coletta's Care, Orland Park

Clinical Therapist, Moline

Patient Care Tech, Yorkville

Pastoral Work

Associate Pastor, St. Paul, MN

Pastor, Campbell Hill 



Attorney, Saylorsville, KY

Legal Assistant, Brookfield

Attorney, Orion

Senior Litigator, Chicago

Business & Technology     

IT Technical Recruiter, Bensenville  

Comcast Gov't Affairs Mgr, N. Aurora

Hotel Sales Director, Orland Park     

Compliance Consultant, Ameritrade, Nebraska 

IT System Analyst, Davenport 

Business Information Project Mgr., Chicago

Operations Admin., Wind Energy, Hopedale 


Amon Carter Museum Program Mgr, Ft. Worth

Research Assistant, Art Institute of Chicago 


Community Organizer, Crystal Lake

Program Coordinator, Bethany Home, Plainfield                       

Quality Mgmt Specialist, Florida Children's Home

Foster Care Worker, Auburn Hills, MI

Outreach Worker, Project NOW, Orion