Below are some commonly asked questions about the Women’s Studies major. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact the Center’s Undergraduate Coordinator.
- I’m off-track in my current major and have been told that I should consider changing to WST because I am on track for it, since I took a GenEd that counts for the major and can finish the requirements quickly. Is this a good idea?
Maybe. WST is a flexible major without strict course sequencing, so you can take a lot of the required classes at once. In purely mathematical terms, it might be do-able. However, WST classes often require a lot of reading and writing, so if you don’t like those things, you will probably not enjoy it very much—especially if you are taking four WST classes at a time! In addition, while WST can prepare you very well for many careers, there is not a clear path to a job at the end of the major like there is in, say, Nursing. Faculty and students in the major can inspire and encourage you, but you will need to be proactive and creative to convert the major into a job. Finally, if you have never really thought about women’s issues, sexuality, or gender inequality, and/or you don’t find those things interesting, the major will probably not be a good fit for you. All of these factors will influence your experience of the major. When changing majors, you should consider (and probably discuss with your family) these issues, not just “what major can I change into that will allow me to finish my undergrad degree quickly?”
- My current major is okay but not great, and I’m thinking about changing to WST or adding it as a second major– how do I do that?
You’ll need to go to the AAC first. You can check their website to see how to add/change a major and/or how to add a minor or a second major. Talk with an advisor there about whether you have time within your allowed work at UF to change or add. They’ll give you the forms, go over how the add/change will affect your overall progress to degree, and then, if they think it looks do-able, they’ll send you to WST to discuss specifics and get the UGC signature.
- If WST is my 2nd major or my minor, how many courses can “double-count”– that is, count towards both my WST major/minor and my (other) major?
Nine credits of your WST minor can also count towards your major in another department, and fifteen credits of your WST major can count towards another major– provided, of course, that you still fill all the relevant distribution requirements for WST core and elective courses. So if you’re an English major, and you take 10 English classes to meet the English requirements, and 3 of those classes (for instance, Women and Literature, Black Female Film, and Queer Theory) also fill WST requirements, you only need to take 3 other 3-credit WST classes to have a minor– but one of those three classes has to be WST3015.
- I’m trying to figure out how to meet all the requirements for the degree, but I’m confused. How can I tell if I’m on track?
Unlike many majors that have a restricted curriculum that forces you to take certain classes at certain times in order to stay on track, WST is very open. This means that students can be intellectually adventurous, but also requires that they plan carefully. When you enter the major (or at any time when you’re feeling lost), you can plot out your course of study using the Progress to Degree Worksheet that is appropriate for your track (General, Sexualities, or International Perspectives). Links to the worksheets can be found under the track descriptions on the “BA” page of the GSW website. Completing the worksheet will show you what you have done for the major so far, and also help you figure out what you still need to do.
- The CWSGR website says I need to take “WST-approved elective classes” to fulfill the degree requirements—what does that mean?
Every semester the Center offers some classes taught by its core and affiliate faculty. These classes appear in ISIS with the prefix “WST”; they are listed on the GSW “Courses” page under the heading “Courses Offered in the Center.” But there are other courses offered all around the university that address issues of gender, sexuality, etc. and are “approved” for credit in the major even thought they do not have a “WST” before them. They are listed on the GSW “Courses” page under the heading “Electives for Women’s Studies Major and Minor.” Classes from both lists will fill requirements for the major and minor.
- I’m in the General Concentration and I need 9 Humanities and 9 Social Science electives to graduate. How can I tell if a WST-approved class I’ve taken counts as Humanities (H) or Social Science (SS)?
Humanities classes usually focus on interpreting texts; they are typically found in English, Philosophy, Languages, Art History, etc. Social Science classes usually focus on interpreting people and society; they include Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, etc. Some subjects, like Anthropology and History, can count as either a humanities or a social science class. Courses offered in WST are designated H or SS in parentheses after the description on the GSW “Courses” page. If you took a class a while back and aren’t sure whether it was H or SS, look at the old course offerings on the “Courses” page or at the Women’s Studies Outside Class Master List to see how the course is designated. If you have taken a class that you think should count for WST, but it’s not listed in either place, contact the UGC and inquire specifically.
- I’m in the General Concentration and I need 3 Gender and Science credits to graduate– what is that and how do I sign up for it?
For budgetary reasons, we cannot offer many Gender and Science classes. Each semester, you will see one or two designated on the “Courses” page. Students are strongly advised to do an Internship instead of a GS class.
- I’m in the International Perspectives on Gender/Theory and Politics of Sexuality Concentration—how do I tell which courses count towards the major for me?
Courses offered in WST and Outside Classes approved for WST Credit include an IPG or TPS designator in the listings that appear on the GSW “Courses” page. If you think you have taken classes prior to this that should count towards either of these concentrations, contact the UGC.
- I’ve heard that I can petition to get a non-approved WST course count towards the major or the minor—how do I do that?
Not every class that addresses questions of gender and/or sexuality has a title that reflects that fact. If you find yourself enrolled in a class (or you remember being enrolled in a class) that didn’t advertise itself as being about gender, but talks a lot about it, you may be able to petition to count it towards the major—but a class must have at least 50% of its content devoted to gender in order for you to receive credit. If you want to petition to have a class count towards the major—before you enroll, while you are enrolled, or retroactively—fill out the Petition to Receive Credit for a Non-WST-Approved Class Form (PDF) and submit it to the UGC with the Supporting Documents requested on the form. Petitions without supporting documents will not.
- I am a WST major, and I need to register for a WST class, but it is full. How can I get in? It is your responsibility to know what classes you need to take in order to be on track for the degree, and to enroll in them during your registration window. There is usually a lot of movement in the enrollments of WST courses right before the semester starts or during drop/add. You should “stalk” any classes you need on ISIS and look for a seat that way. Always plan to go to the first meeting of any class you need to get into and discuss your situation with the instructor.
- I want to register for a WST-approved class, but it is full. How can I get in?
The Center cannot magically enroll you in a class offered by another unit (a class without the WST prefix). Classes with the prefixes of other majors are offered in that major, and their students take priority. Again, any time you want to get into a class that is full, attend on the first day, inform the instructor of your interest, and ask if s/he maintains a waiting list. If you continue to come to class prepared and engaged, it is possible that even if no official room opens up, the professor may allow you to enroll through her/his unit. There are no guarantees, however, so you should also enroll in and attend another class that will help you progress towards your degree.
- I’ve received an email from ACC saying I haven’t taken enough credits in the major to graduate, but I know I have—what’s going on?
ISIS is programmed to count certain classes offered in each program/department towards the WST major, but it can’t recognize them all. When you take a class that ISIS can’t recognize, a human must go into the system and tell the robot to count your individual “random” classes towards the major requirements. This usually happens once per semester, when majors/minors are “certified,” but sometimes there can be oversight or error. Contact the UGC if you believe that you are facing this situation.
- I want to study abroad; will the courses I take count towards the major?
The classes you take abroad will count towards the major if they devote at least 50% of their content to gender/sexuality. In a perfect world, the university you are attending abroad would provide you with thorough information about course content in advance, so you would know exactly where the classes you take there would fit into your degree plan. In reality, course descriptions may be sketchy or misleading, or you may switch classes once you get overseas. If that is the case, you will need to petition to have the courses count once you return to UF, using the Petition for Credit (PDF) form/process described above.
- I’d like to graduate with Honors—how do I do that?
To graduate with Honors you must have a GPA of 3.5 in all upper-division coursework. To graduate with High or Highest honors you must also complete an Honors Thesis while enrolled in WST4970. You cannot enroll in WST4970 yourself; the UGC in WST will enroll you when you have successfully completed your Application to Graduate With Honors (PDF). What constitutes an Honors Thesis, the timeline for completion and submission, and the criteria for the different levels of honors (high, highest) is spelled out in the “Guidelines for Graduating with Honors in Women’s Studies (PDF).” The Application must be completed by the student and signed by the Thesis Advisor and the Thesis Second Reader and submitted to the UGC by the third week of the term in which you are registered for WST4970.
- I volunteer at a local agency that deals with gender issues. Can I get internship credit for that?
It is possible. If the agency has not offered internships before, your supervisor will need to complete the Prospective Internship Provider Questionnaire (PDF). This asks the organization for some basic information about their internship position, and gives them some University guidelines to follow. In addition to having them complete that form, you will need to complete the CWSGR Application for Internship (PDF), and get appropriate signatures. Look at the forms and contact the UGC if you have further questions.