Students who pursue the B.A. in Gender Studies learn to use innovative research and teaching methods in the mission of advancing cultural understandings of gender structures and representations. The Department of Gender Studies, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, offers interdisciplinary courses that explore the making and meaning of femininity and masculinity across cultures and social formations, both past and present.
Gender influences human options, conditions and experiences, and has a profound impact on knowledge and policy. The legal, political, economic, and cultural systems are all intricately gendered. Deep understanding of gender patterns, dynamics and biases can enhance the accuracy and scope of work in many fields. Gender awareness benefits individuals, communities and organizations.
Students work with faculty who are collectively engaged in original, cutting-edge research, which they often discuss in class.
The Department of Gender Studies also offers an undergraduate minor.
You begin work in the Gender Studies B.A. with GNDR-G 101 Gender, Culture and Society. In GNDR-G 101, you examine the development of the category "gender" and explore ways in which gender as practice, performance, and representation has differed for women and men according to race, class, and other divisions.
You may take additional lower level courses related to cross-cultural perspectives on sex and gender, queer cultures, and international issues relating to gender.
Tracks and concentrations
The interdisciplinary major in Gender Studies gives you an up-to-date, problem-oriented understanding of gender. There are no official concentrations in Gender Studies, allowing you to explore subjects relevant to your interests among a variety of elective courses.
You can study a variety topics of interest such as 'Sex, Race, and Voting Rights,' 'Politics of Gender and Sexuality,' 'Size Matters: Bodies, Size and Media Cultures,' 'Muy Macho,' 'Queer Performance: What a Drag,' 'Food, Sex, and Gender,' 'Black Masculinities: Pop Culture/Politics/Pleasures,' or 'Gender and the Politics of Reproduction.'
Upper level coursework
As you progress in the major, you will take GNDR-G 300, a course for majors and minors only, in which you discuss, analyze, and define gender in more depth through a variety of conceptual frameworks, theories, and cultural and historical constructs.
GNDR-G 101 and G 300 provide you with knowledge and skills that help you succeed in advanced Gender Studies courses.
The Gender Studies major also allows you to personalize the upper-level curriculum with a specialization in related courses. Consult the Gender Studies academic advisor and the faculty to explore the best courses for your interests and academic goals.
Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates
There are over 90 areas of study in the College of Arts and Sciences, any of which you could potentially add as an additional major, minor, or certificate. Meet with your academic advisor for assistance in planning how you can combine several areas interest.
Common minors for Gender Studies students include foreign language study (especially Spanish and French), History, Sociology and Psychology. Some students pursue the Public Human Resources minor offered through the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The Political and Civic Engagement Certificate (PACE) is also popular with Gender Studies majors. Check your Bulletin for more information about these credentials.
- Enhance your major
Working with faculty
When pursuing the a major in Gender Studies, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.
You can get involved in research as early as your freshman year. Many incoming freshmen apply to the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program. ASURE students experience project-based learning enhanced by a community of supportive faculty and peers. Choose an ASURE path in the arts and humanities, social and historical studies, or natural and mathematical sciences. Consider joining one that will deepen your skills and knowledge in an area related to your major or a different one to become a more well-rounded thinker.
As your studies develop, you may opt to work with a faculty sponsor to take GNDR-X 490, an independent readings or research course. You may also wish to gain teaching experience as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA). Connect with your instructors to learn more about your options in research, teaching, and independent study.
The Gender Studies academic advisor can give you more information about these and other opportunities.
Outstanding students may be able to graduate with departmental honors. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, honors students complete an honors thesis of their own design. If you are interested in pursuing departmental honors, consult with the academic advisor about your ideas, potential faculty supervisors, and the steps required to begin your thesis.
Undergraduate scholarships and awards
The Department of Gender Studies offers undergraduates the Alexander M. Doty Memorial Award.
Additional scholarships and awards can be found through:
- Carnegie Junior Fellows Program
- College of Arts and Sciences
- Critical Language Scholarship Program
- Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellowships
- Hutton Honors College Undergraduate Grant Program
- IU Alumni Association Scholarships
- IU Foundation Scholarships
- Office of Overseas Study Scholarships
- Service-Learning Scholarships
Students should also visit the Office of Scholarships for additional university and non-university alternatives.
Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.
Learn more about earning credit through GNDR-X 476, a Gender Studies practicum course. This course allows you to gain field experience by working in an internship or on a gender-related research project. Students in the past have interned in area and community service programs such as Middle Way House and Planned Parenthood, as well as the Kinsey Institute.
Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you’ll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.
Foreign language study
As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 80 languages. Foreign language study allows Gender Studies majors to communicate with members of different cultures and to travel overseas, as they study gender and sexuality within a global context. Languages popular with our students are Spanish, French, German, and Italian.
Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington:
- Arabic Flagship Program
- Center for Language Technology
- Chinese Flagship Program
- Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships
- IU Language Workshop
- Language Tables
- Project GO
- Russian Flagship Program
Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in an increasingly interconnected world. Gender Studies students pursue language study and other coursework through the following programs, including:
- Aix-en-Provence, France
- Amsterdam-IES (Psychology & Sciences), Netherlands
- Berlin-IES (Metropolitan Studies), Germany
- Buenos Aires-CIEE (Liberal Arts), Argentina
- Canberra, Australia
- Cape Town-CIEE (Arts & Sciences), South Africa
The College of Arts and Sciences also directly hosts a variety of study abroad programs, some even featuring IU faculty, that might be right for you. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with Gender Studies faculty, your academic advisor, and through the Office of Overseas Study.
Participation in a student group is a good way to make connections between your coursework and co-curricular activities. You can also further develop your leadership, communication, organizational, and teamwork skills. Examples of student groups relevant to Gender Studies students include:
- Campus Action Network
- Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality at Indiana University
- LGBTQ+ Culture Center
- Students Against State Violence
- Women of Color Leadership Institute
Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.
There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. The organizations below can help you connect with others from the university and beyond:
- Boys and Girls Club
- Habitat for Humanity
- IU Corps
- Kinsey Institute
- Middle Way House
- Planned Parenthood
- Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners
- Women Writing for (a) Change
Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.
The National Women's Studies Association defines itself as the main professional organization in the field of women's studies in educational and social transformation.
Other organizations pertaining to Gender Studies include:
- American Men's Studies Assocation
- Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
- Equality Now
- National Women's Council
- National Organization for Women
- Women Watch
- Build your skills
Through the major
The major in Gender Studies provides you with a set of skills and qualities that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. Through the major you will:
- Develop evidence-based arguments, defend your position, and make informed oral and written presentations
- Advance cultural awareness and understanding of gender structures and representations
- Develop new approaches to knowledge about women and gender-related issues
- Transform traditional disciplines and fields of study through the incorporation of methods, theories, and a range of frameworks relevant to race, class, and gender studies
- Examine complex constructions of gender in different historical epochs, cultural arenas, and global processes
- Inform and interact, both orally and in writing, with experts and non-specialists
Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree
Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:
- Question critically
- Think logically
- Communicate clearly
- Act creatively
- Live ethically
These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.
Skills desired by employers
Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what key skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.
The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical and quantitative skills
- Ability to take Initiative
- Being detail oriented
- Demonstrating adaptability
- Technical skills relevant to the field
- Interpersonal skills
- Computer skills
- Organizational ability
As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic advisor and career coach about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.
- Launch your career
Plan your search
The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.
Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.
Maximize your career preparation with a career course. Gender Studies majors should consider enrolling in ASCS-Q296 College to Career II: Navigate Your Arts and Sciences Experience. The section dedicated to Social and Historical Studies provides the opportunity for you to explore the relationship between your field of study and life after graduation, while developing an academic and career development plan for post-collegiate success. If you are considering continuing your studies after graduation, you may wish to enroll instead in the section dedicated to graduate school preparation. Regardless of the section you select, you will leave the class with your resume, a cover letter or personal statement, and a LinkedIn profile ready to go!
The job market
Completing the Gender Studies major gives you an indepth awareness of the making and meaning of gender in various cultures, with practical knowledge that can be applied to many different career fields.
Students with the Gender Studies B.A. take their education in many directions.
Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors: education, federal and state government, research and policy, non-profit organizations, helping professions, the corporate sector, and more. Graduates with the Gender Studies B.A. have become researchers, educators, policy advisors, businesspersons, and journalists, among many other careers.
Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!
Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.
Talk with Gender Studies faculty, the academic advisor, career coach, and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of the Department of Gender Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Post-graduate short-term experiences
After graduation, a short-term experience or internship can help you make connections, gain life skills, and assess your interest in future careers. Talk with your career coach and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:
Fellowships for post-graduate study
Fellowships are temporary post-graduate opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund graduate school. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profits, and government organizations.
Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Junior Fellows Program
- Fulbright Programs
- Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
- Herbert Scoville Junior Peace Fellowship
- Woodrow Wilson National Fellowships
Graduate and professional study
When applying to graduate or professional schools, you will need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career, to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.
A B.A. in Gender Studies prepares you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, including law, public affairs, public policy, non-profit management, education, and business.
With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other programs in the health professions.
Students who pursue graduate studies in Gender Studies have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, federal and state government, non-profit organizations, media, business, and entrepreneurship.
Here are examples of graduate programs offered at IU:
- Department of Gender Studies
- Kelly School of Business
- Maurer School of Law
- School of Education
- O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
The College of Arts and Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.
Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts and Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.
Is it for you?
The Gender Studies B.A. attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:
- Desire to reach new insights through interdisciplinary study
- Interest in examining questions thematically to generate new ideas, methods or solutions
- Curious to explore femininity and masculinity across cultures and historical periods
- Enthusiasm for discovering how concepts of gender are represented within cultures through literature, popular culture, the arts, science, and medicine.
- Aspire to think critically and ethically about gender research and its societal impact
Contact the Gender Studies academic advisor and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.
- Department website
- Advisor email address