What to Expect
Women's studies majors study feminist issues from a historical, sociological
and cultural perspective. They may study subjects such as the evolution of
feminism, or the media's portrayal of women.
For Veronica Leandrez, who took women's studies at Tulane University in
New Orleans, the major was the only one that allowed her to learn about various
areas of study with a woman's perspective in mind.
"What other major allows you to take a look at sociology, history, literature,
feminist theory, film criticism and science all under one degree?" she
"It is also a major that allows for self-growth and self-improvement. It
constantly challenges previous notions about almost every facet of our lives,
and it has helped me to know more clearly who I am," she adds.
Leandrez says she most appreciated the small classes. "It also helps
to know that the professor knows you're a human being and not just another
student ID number in their roll sheet. It makes for a comfortable environment
where sharing ideas and opinions is welcome."
The amount of work required in a women's studies program can be overwhelming
at times, Leandrez says. Professors assign many articles the students not
only need to read, but also understand and process so they can participate
in an intelligent discussion during class.
"But professors are almost always understanding in that regard and are
willing to cut some slack if they know that you are trying," Leandrez says.
Another challenging aspect of the women's studies program involves the
research. Since it is a relatively new field of study, students may have
a difficult time finding information for a research paper or project,
Leandrez says. It's also exciting, though, to realize students are like pioneers
in a new arena, she adds.
How to Prepare
Jodi York took a certificate in women's studies at the University of San
Francisco. She suggests students study abroad. "I decided that I couldn't
afford it, and I've regretted it ever since," she says. "It's a great opportunity
to immerse yourself in another culture, the more different, the better."
York also recommends taking classes in a broad spectrum of areas.
Her philosophy classes, which she took against her will, were invaluable in
honing her ability to think critically about ideas and formulate a good argument.
Take classes that are writing intensive, she adds. "Most people express
themselves in writing very poorly; people who can write well get promotions,"