Students interested in a SWAGS major need to complete a total of nine courses: One introductory course, SWAG 200, SWAG 400, and six electives.
Introductory Course Requirement
Students complete this requirement by taking one of the following courses:
- SWAG 100 Construction of Gender (The Department)
SWAG 101 Intro to Queer/Trans Studies (Professor Manion)
- BLST / SWAG 117 Race, Difference, and the American Imagination (Professor Polk)
- HIST / SWAG 158 Asian American History (Professor Peralta)
- POSC / SWAG 160 Sexualities in IR (Professor Picq)
- HIST / SWAG 162 History of Sexuality in the U.S. (Professor Manion)
- HIST / SWAG 163 LGBTQ History in Popular Culture (Professor Manion)
Please check Workday or contact Stephanie Orion, the ADC of SWAGS, to learn when these courses will be offered next.
SWAG 200 Theories of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies
SWAG 200 (formerly "Feminist Theory") investigates contemporary feminist thought from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. It focuses on key issues such as the sex/gender debate, sexual desire and the body, the political economy of gender, the creation of the "queer" as subject, and the construction of masculinity, among others. This course aims also to think through the ways in which these concerns intersect with issues of race, class, the environment, and the nation.
This course is usually offered once a year in the spring semester.
In 2023-24 the course BLST/SWAG 301 Queer of Color Critique: Theory and Practice (offered Spring 2024) will also fulfill this requirement.
SWAG 400 Contemporary Debates
SWAG 400 is a research seminar, which culminates in a final research paper. The topic of this course will vary from year to year. Students who have taken this seminar in the past may take it again if the topic is different.
This course is usually offered once a year in the fall semester.
The remaining six electives required to complete the major may be chosen from courses offered by the Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies Department, included on the list of related courses (see below), or external courses approved by your SWAGS advisor:
An external course is any course that is NOT cross-listed in the Amherst College SWAGS Department, nor listed as a related course, at the time of the student’s enrollment in the course.
External courses, such as courses outside our department and at other colleges and universities, including study away programs, that address sexuality, women and/or gender, may be counted toward the major. A student who wishes to count an external course towards their SWAGS major must consult with their SWAGS advisor and provide their advisor with a course description and syllabus of the external course. If a current syllabus is not available, a syllabus from a previous iteration of the course will suffice. At the advisor’s discretion, the advisor may also ask the student to provide copies of the student’s assignments from the external course (e.g. research paper, essay, final project etc.). If at least 50% or more of the external course addresses women, gender or sexuality, then the advisor can approve the course counting towards the student’s SWAGS major. Copies of all documents should be shared with the ADC to update the department’s records.
Starting with students entering in Fall 2015, up to 3 of the 9 courses that are required for the major may be taken outside the SWAGS Department.
Double-Counting Restriction is Abolished
The nine courses that are counted towards the SWAGS major may also be counted towards your other major(s) (if the other major permits it).
Course Taken Pass/Fail
Students should petition the chair of the SWAGS department if they wish to count an FGO or Pass/Fail course towards the major. In the petition the student should explain why they took the course pass/fail and why they are unable to take another course for a grade to fulfill the SWAGS major requirements. A student may take no more than one course FGO (or Pass/Fail) towards the major.
For courses taken in Spring 2020, the SWAGS Department will accept courses toward the major for which students have earned a grade of Pass.
The comprehensive requirement of the major will be met by completing the nine required courses. [Updated 5/24/2022]