Issues concerning women are crucially important in American culture as well as for the global community, raising questions concerning diversity, equality and justice. We debate about systems of oppression which lead to problems of access to education and opportunity worldwide, pay differentials between men and women, causes of and solutions to violence and abuse, women’s health issues, women’s roles in politics and business, the perception of women in historical context and many other topics.

At Alvernia University, you’ll have an opportunity to explore these and other issues when you minor in Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS). Since Women’s and Gender Studies is a discipline generated from historical struggles for equality, social justice, and the promotion of underrepresented voices, it is firmly committed to the idea that theory and practice are necessarily interrelated and equally indispensable in developing solutions for contemporary issues. As a WGS minor, you’ll be exposed to the historical, economic, social, psychological and political factors that have shaped traditional gender roles. You’ll study contemporary concepts of gender and sexuality, historical achievements and accomplishments of women.

The discipline of WGS addresses how gender intersects with categories such as sex, race, class, ethnicity and nationality to shape identities and communities. It explores the connections between gender and social justice, and embraces the Franciscan values of inclusivity and diversity. The interdisciplinary nature of WGS also intersects with the mission of Alvernia’s General Education Program to equip students with the skills to approach problems from several perspectives and worldviews in order to recognize their depth and complexity.

Earning a minor in WGS can teach you to question the assumptions of yourself and others, and to recognize that your norms and values are not universal. You’ll get a better idea of the problems of both women and men, learn to understand [how gender is a fundamental structure of experience, and how practical concerns for social justice, equality and the eradication of discrimination translate to your lives.]

This ability to think, question, observe, learn and understand is a hallmark of the liberal arts education that Alvernia holds dear. You’ll expand your world view and your understanding of the human condition, traits that translate well to any job or career and can set you apart from other graduates.

The five main objectives that the Women’s and Gender Studies focus are as follows:

  • To provide a systematic knowledge of the multidisciplinary scholarship about the social and historical context of women and gender, in the U.S. and globally;
  • To teach the application of a women's studies and/ or gender lens and feminist analyses of culture and sex/gender systems can challenge traditional historical and cultural assumptions and claims of knowledge
  • To identify and analyze sources of power and oppression, including the ways systems of dominance such as sexism and racism function and have changed
  • To teach how gender, and its intersection with race, sexuality, class, and ethnicity is fundamental to the construction of identity and the organization of human relations
  • To support the needs of communities and diverse populations by fostering recognition and sensitivity towards others

Your Career

WGS is a versatile minor that, in conjunction with your major, can prepare you for a variety of rewarding careers. The knowledge and skills you’ll develop can help you to find employment in education, healthcare, business, government and the non-profit sector. Women's and Gender Studies’ emphasis on marginalization and social justice can enhance students’ abilities to identify issues that affect diverse populations and can aid in the development of community-oriented leadership skills. Students gain experience in social critique and analysis.

As a WGS minor, you can take courses in the arts, history, psychology, criminal justice, sociology and other fields, helping to prepare you for various types of jobs. With proper planning, a minor in WGS will complement your major and make you a viable and competitive candidate for jobs.

Alvernia WGS graduates work in a wide range of fields in jobs such as journalists, politicians or political assistants, lawyers, health care providers, counselors, researchers, teachers and business managers. Some have started their own businesses, while others choose to work in the public sector.

For more information about Alvernia’s WGS program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu.

Your Curriculum

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. You must successfully complete 18 credits to earn a minor in WGS.

All WGS minors must complete:

  • PHI 250 Feminist and Gender Theory
  • Choose 9-15 credits from:
    • MUS 331 Women in the Arts
    • HIS 230 Women in History
    • PSY 308 The Psychology of Gender
    • ENG 216 Women in Literature
    • SOC 411 Men and Women in SocietyCJ 216 Women and the Criminal Justice SystemTHE 300 Marriage and Sexuality
    • SPECIAL TOPICS (identified by the instructor and approved by the WGS coordinator as specifically pertaining to the field of Women’s and Gender Studies)
  • Choose no more than 6 credits from:
    • CJ 218 Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice
    • CJ 411 Domestic Violence
    • MUS 222 Multicultural Music
    • PHI 420 Social and Political Philosophy
    • PSY 215 Multicultural Issues in Psychology
    • PSY 220 Close Relationships
    • SSC 321 Global Society
    • SW 202 Social Services to Children
    • SW 203 The Process of Aging


Janae Sholtz

Coordinator of Women's & Gender Studies

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Francis Hall 229



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