Schools with strong undergraduate programs in women’s studies offer students an opportunity to launch meaningful careers with the aid of accomplished scholars in nurturing environments. The schools below meet these criteria and have earned their place on a list amassed by the online service Find the Best Colleges.
This liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts, offers a program of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, where students will learn how assumptions about gender shape female identities and influence social and political structures. Its graduates have launched fulfilling careers from their Williams education. One is a policy analyst for Oregon’s lieutenant governor; another teaches environmental studies at Rutgers University and another is a University of Chicago researcher of pregnant and parenting teens. The department launched a pod-cast in 2013 with feminist authors and round table discussions that teachers across disciplines at Williams use as a teaching tool. To graduate with honors, a student must turn in a 40-70 page thesis, a presentation of art, music, poetry, theater or fiction or a college-sanctioned project.
The Gender and Women’s Studies Program at this college near Los Angeles, California, challenges stereotypes about women and gender roles and promotes the development of new views of feminist scholarship within an open, supportive environment, according to its website. The college allows students to pursue a stand-alone major that focuses on feminist theory or an interdisciplinary program that links feminism with another area of study. Stanford University Ph.D. Kyla Tompkins, whose research expertise includes food studies, nineteenth century literature, U.S. literature and queer and feminist theory, leads the program.
A degree in Women and Gender Studies from this all-female college in Northampton, Massachusetts, garners respect in a multitude of fields. One of its graduates runs the pro-choice group NARAL in North Carolina. Another is Associate Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. Smith graduate Gloria Steinem, a feminist icon, returned to campus in April 2013 to host a conversation about sex trafficking. Smith students have access to world-class research libraries on campus and facilities at excellent liberal arts colleges nearby.
The college, founded in 1861 in Poughkeepsie, New York, was all-female until 1969 and has always had a commitment to the equality of the sexes. Students in the Women’s Studies Program tailor their own course of study with guidance from a program adviser. A senior thesis or project is required. Vassar scholars continually produce foundational feminist works, including Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” in 1971. The department director, Leslie C. Dunn, has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and conducts research focused on music, gender, and representation in early modern England.