Building upon a gateway course, students in the major design a concentration of upper-level courses (often following either a social science or humanities track) and conclude with a senior seminar capstone. Our majors work closely with faculty advisors who encourage students to pursue academic honors by writing a senior thesis and to pursue pre-professional internships. Our two interdisciplinary minors, one in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and the other in Sexuality and Gender Identity Studies, are open to all students from across the UVM community.
One major, multiple perspectives.
The Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program at UVM offers students an opportunity to think about sex, gender, gender identity and other forms of difference over time and across cultures. The students and faculty of GSWS draw from the social sciences, the physical sciences, the humanities and creative arts to pursue research on questions about gender (the social meaning of the distinctions among sexes) and sexuality (sexual identities, discourses, and institutions). We ask: How have gender and sexual roles been created? How and why are they sustained? Who has benefited from these roles and who has been disadvantaged? How have experiences of sex, gender, sexuality, and gender identity differed by race, (dis)ability, nationality, language, social class, sexual identity? How have these issues changed over time? In what ways are they experienced differently in the United States and in other countries?
A multidisciplinary mosaic
Maggie Colbert became a big booster of UVM after making several visits to Burlington to visit her older sister Ali, who graduated in 2016.
“I kept talking to my friends about what a great school it was, but I never thought seriously about attending myself,” she says.
Then she discovered UVM offered several programs that interested her, including a major in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. Then came an email from the UVM admissions office informing her that the university would waive the application fee since she had an older sibling already attending. The more she learned about UVM from her research and campus visits, the more she became convinced that UVM was the right place for her.
She graduated in 2018 as the recipient of the Ellen Hamilton Lida Mason Award which honors a graduating senior for academic excellence in gender, sexuality and women's studies. She also graduated with a B.A. degree in sociology.
Colbert was always interested in gender issues and considered herself a feminist at Bay Shore High School on Long Island where she wrote about controversial topics for her school newspaper. It took courage to write about the SlutWalk, a movement calling for an end to rape culture and victim blaming of sexual assault victims.
“It was a pretty conservative school and using the word in print was a little provocative for some people,” she said. “But I embraced the idea of trying to bring about understanding and change to things people could get behind when the y really understood the issues.”