Women's and Gender Studies


Prof. Hunt's class

Major Program: Beginning with the class of 2015, students majoring in Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies are required to take a minimum of nine courses. Majors in the class of 2014 are required to take eight courses, which must include Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies 100 and 200, and one course in cross-cultural and/or diasporic studies. All majors, starting with the class of 2015, are required to take Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies 100, 200 and 300, and one course in cross-cultural and/or diasporic studies. Students should consult with their advisors to determine which courses fulfill this requirement. The remaining electives may be chosen from Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies offerings or may be selected, in consultation with a student's advisor, from courses given in other departments (see list of related courses). Other Amherst or Five College courses that address issues of sexuality, women and/or gender as part of their concern may be counted toward the major only if approved by the Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies Department. All senior majors not writing a thesis will satisfy the comprehensive exam by reading a common text to be announced in the fall and writing an essay to be read by the department and discussed in a colloquium of SWAGS seniors and faculty in the spring term.

Departmental Honors Program: In addition to the courses required for the major, students accepted as honors candidates will elect either Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies 498D and 499 or 498 and 499D, depending on which option better accommodates the disciplines in the thesis project. The D designation indicates that a course offers double credit.  In other words, students writing a SWAGS thesis may take as many as three thesis courses during their senior year.  Moreover, they may take the double thesis course in either the fall or spring semester, a decision they will want to make only after discussion with their thesis advisor.

Writing a SWAGS Thesis for Honors in 2013-14

Student in Class

All SWAGS theses must be interdisciplinary in nature—that is to say, the materials that form the subject matter of the thesis, or the methodologies that are employed in it, must move across disciplinary boundaries. The submitted thesis should not exceed 100 typed pages of text and must be composed in a readable, standard type font.

A SWAGS major may suggest a preference for a thesis advisor but the department reserves the right to make the final decision.

Students working towards Honors on the two-semester SWAGS 498D/499 or 498/499D thesis-track are asked to submit a brief proposal (3-5 pages) to the department by the end of the second semester of their junior year (recommended) or, at the latest, by the first week of the fall semester of their senior year. The proposal should describe in detail the nature of the project and its interdisciplinary dimensions, and should include, if relevant, a select bibliography. The first draft chapter of the thesis is due on the last day of classes in the fall semester. The student's advisor will chronologically outline the remainder of the due dates.

For seniors graduating in May 2014, three copies of the thesis are due in the SWAGS office on April 11th. One copy of the thesis, with corrections, printed on acid-free paper, should be submitted to the Registrar by May 6th; a duplicate of that final text should be submitted to the SWAGS Department office at that time.

Support for senior projects is available in the form of grants and funding through the Dean of Faculty's Office. Student Research Award applications can be accessed on the Dean of Faculty website.

Any request to the Department of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies for funding must be submitted in writing to the SWAGS chair, Michele Barale and the academic coordinator, Amy A. Ford.

Photos: Frank Ward


Class outside Grosvenor