Courses & Programs

Gender and Women's Studies

The Gender and Women's Studies Option will provide students of any gender the opportunity to think critically about gender as both a construct as well as a lived reality.

Mary Orisich

Chair, Critical Studies

Social Sciences

Donahue 241

413.552.2323 (Tel)

What will you learn?

The Gender and Women's Studies option prepares students for jobs in a range of fields, and for transfer to four-year baccalaureate programs. Through an interdisciplinary approach, this option provides students the opportunity to think critically about gender in diverse contexts.


Students completing coursework in this degree option will be able to:

  • Critically examine the experiences of women in various social, historical, and cultural contexts.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of gendered experiences in diverse cultures and across time, examining the ways in which race, social class, sexuality, and ethnicity intersect with gender.
  • Understand and apply fundamental concepts in feminist scholarship.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively through writing,analysis, research, leadership and organization.
  • Connect theory to practice through activism, community service learning, and scholarship and enhance their ability to advocate for justice.

What will you do?

Students develop the skills and knowledge to further their education by completing professional and advanced academic degrees, and may also pursue careers in community development and organizing, law, politics, education, journalism, social service, and other career fields.

60-61 total credits

32-33 credits General Education Requirements + 6 credits Program Requirements

Depending on course selection, 50% of this program can be completed online.

General Education Requirements

This course is the first half of the college composition sequence and focuses on close reading, critical thinking, beginning research skills, and the writing process. Students will read, analyze, and cite a range of nonfiction texts. Students will produce several formal essays totaling approximately 3000 words. Prerequisite: Appropriate scores on English placement tests or C- or higher in ENG 095.
This course is the second half of the first-year composition sequence and focuses on close reading, critical thinking, academic writing, research, and the writing process. Students will locate and evaluate both primary and secondary sources, and will gain skill in summarizing and synthesizing source material while employing MLA documentation. Texts will include a range of nonfiction (articles, essays, scholarly sources) and literary works. Students will produce at least 3000 words of formal written work, including a documented essay of at least 1250 words. Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C-or higher.
Introduction to the study and principles of behavior. Topics include general principles of scientific investigation; physiological bases of behavior including sensation, perception, learning, emotion, and motivation; development; individual differences; attitudes; and group dynamics. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101.
A scientific examination of human social phenomena. Major topics include interaction, statuses and roles, groups, social institutions, culture, socialization, social control, conforming and deviant behavior, collective behavior, social inequality, demography, social change, urbanism, industrialism and globalization.Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101
Introduces students to the necessary elements of informative and persuasive public speaking. The course includes performance analysis of speakers and major historical speeches. Course skills learned are useful in all forms of oral presentation in professional and academic settings. Students are required to attend one outside speaking performance, to deliver several speeches in class, and to participate in group discussion. Please note that this course replaces SPE 120 - Fundamentals of Speech. Students will not receive credit for both SPE 120 and COM 150.
This is a survey of United States Women's History that examines the unique political, social, economic, and cultural issues and experiences of women from the colonial period to the present. While tracing broader trends and themes, we will also consider the lives of specific individuals in order to shed greater light on the diversity of women's experiences. Throughout, we will explore the ways in which notions of gender differences have changed over time and how women both created and responded to shifting and contested cultural, political, and social roles. Some of the major themes may include the differences among women in class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality, the construction of gender, women's roles in family and community, various movements for women's rights, women and reform, and women in the work force.Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101
Humanities [C] Electives ART 101, ART 110, ART 121, ART 122, ART 123, ART 124, ART 131, ART 132, ART 140, ART 141, ART 276 (formerly 142), ART 145, ART 147, ART 148, ART 150, ART 151, ART 222, ART 272 (formerly 156), ART 231, ART 232, ART 235, ART 241, ART 242, ART 250, ART 253, ART 254, ART 255, ART 261, ART 262, ART 273, ART 274, ART 275, ASL 201, ASL 202, ASL 291, ASL 292, COM 121, COM 131, COM 150, COM 205, COM 214, COM 235, EMS 111, EMS 112, EMS 118, EMS 124, EMS 125, EMS 225, DFS 101, DFS 104, DFS 108 (formerly 106), DFS 205, ENG 201, ENG 202, ENG 203, ENG 211, ENG 212, ENG 214, ENG 215, ENG 216, ENG 217, ENG 218, ENG 223, ENG 224, ENG 226, ENG 227, ENG 230, ENG 231, ENG 232, ENG 235, ENG 237, ENG 245, ENG 250, FRH 201, FRH 202, FRH 205, FRH 206, GER 205, HIS 101, HIS 102, HIS 103, HIS 104, HIS 105, HIS 107, HIS 109, HIS 108, HIS 111, HIS 112, HIS 121, HIS 130, HIS 150, HIS 162, HIS 220, HIS 225, HIS 250, HIS 260, HON 206, HUM 206, MUS 100, MUS 105, MUS 106, MUS 107, MUS 110, MUS 126, MUS 140, MUS 150, MUS 208, MUS 209, MUS 250, MUS 259, MUS 260, PHI 100, PHI 101, PHI 103, PHI 110, PHI 120, PHI 130, PHI 140, PHI 230, SPA 201, SPA 202, SPA 203, SPA 204, SPA 205, SPA 206, SPA 110, SPA 210, SPA 211, SPA 212, SPA 214, THE 100, THE 110, THE 124, THE 125, THE 212, THE 213, THE 227, THE 235, THE 237
A general introduction to the human body stressing health vs. disease. In addition to an overview of the structure and function of various cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems, many social and ethical issues will be addressed. Each organ system will be examined with an emphasis on the integration of all of the systems. Laboratory exercises supplement the lecture, offering a hands-on approach and some experimentation. The lab includes dissection of (or observation of) preserved animal specimens. NOTE: This course does not satisfy the requirement of programs requiring a full year of anatomy and physiology.
Laboratory Science [E] ElectivesAST 110, AST 140, BIO 101, BIO 102, BIO 106, BIO 107, BIO 108, BIO 110, BIO 111, BIO 114, BIO 120, BIO 130, BIO 215, BIO 217, BIO 218, BIO 222, BIO 223, BIO 229, BIO 230, BIO 243, CHM 101, CHM 102, CHM 113, CHM 114, CHM 121, CHM 124, CHM 221, CHM 222, CHM 224, EGR 110, EGR 111, ESC 111, ESC 115, ESC 120, ESC 130, ENV 120, ENV 124, ENV 137, ENV 138, ENV 140, ENV 253, FRS 100, FRS 101, FRS 110, FRS 201, PHS 101, PHS 102, PHS 111, PHS 112, PHS 201, SEM 110, SEM 111, SEM 116, SEM 130, SUS 101, SUS 102, SUS 103, SUS 116, SUS 216
Select from any Math (D) course with a MTH prefix.

Program Requirements

Introduction to Women's Studies examines our understanding of the social constructions of gender and their intersections with class, race, region, nationality, ethnicity and sexuality. It emphasizes diversity and multiple perspectives. Topics may include history of women's studies; work; relationships, family and religion; health; politics, law and social policy; violence; sexual orientation and gender identity; medial and cultural images of women; and feminist theories and scholarship. This course emphasizes critical thinking, oral and written communication, and active engagement.Prerequisites: ENG 101
An introduction to sociological perspectives on the complex historical processes that contribute to the social construction of gender. This course examines different theories generated to explain the system of inequalities in the United States. Particular attention will be given to the intersection of gender, sexuality, class ethnicity, and race. Social change and the place of feminism in that change will be a central focus of the course.Prerequisite: SOC 110



Select six of the following:

ANT 114  |  Understanding Diversity and Valuing Similarities [B]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: None  

ART 147  |  Women and Art [C]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101  

WST 217  |  Women, Crime and Justice [B]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: SOC 110 or PSY 110 (Same as CRJ 217)  

ENG 230  |  Current Themes in Literature [C]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: ENG 102, previously or concurrently  

HSV 205  |  Domestic Violence [B]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101  

WST 215  |  Women and the Law [B]
Credits: 3  
Prerequisite: None  

PSY 203  |  Human Sexuality [B]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: PSY 110  

PSY 224  |  Psychology of Women [B]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: PSY 110  

PSY 225  |  Psychology of Men [B]
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: PSY 110  

SOC 130  |  Intimate Relationships, Marriage and Family [B]
Credits: 3  
Prerequisite: None  

Select from the following:
(Sufficent to complete the 60-credit graduation requirement)

HFN 164  |  Building Self-Esteem for Women
Credits: 1  
Prerequisite: None  

HFN 165  |  Women's Self-Defense
Credits: 1  
Prerequisite: None  

HFN 166  |  Self-Defense 
Credits: 1  
Prerequisite: None  

General Electives
Credits: 1-3
Any course listed in the HCC catalog is acceptable.

Only six non-Arts and Science credits may be taken towards an A.A. degree.

General Elective: Recommended courses: HIS 109, HIS 107, ANT 101