Gender & Women's Studies

UNBF established an interdisciplinary Women’s Studies Program in 1986 to offer students the opportunity to study the experiences and achievements of women, with a view to gaining a more complete and balanced understanding of women’s and men’s lives, both historically and in contemporary society. As our understanding of sex, sexuality, gender, intersectionality, and human rights evolved, our program developed into Gender and Women’s Studies in 2014.

Download a PDF version of the 2014 GWS brochure and the 2014-15 GWS Timetable.

What is Gender & Women's Studies (GWS)?

Gender and Women’s Studies examines gender‑based aspects of human experience and gendered roles in society. GWS includes a wide variety of academic disciplines and professions.

The main goals are to ensure that the contributions of women and minorities are fairly represented in university courses and research, to examine critically some basic assumptions underlying the academic disciplines, to promote scholarship which recognizes and reflects the diversity of our lives, and to link up with community organizations working for women’s equality and social justice.

How is this useful in university?

GWS offers new perspectives on the traditional academic disciplines. It provides information about gender roles and women’s contributions to society, and it focuses on research by, for, and about women. It opens up new areas of interest. An undergraduate degree in GWS prepares a student well for graduate work in fields such as Interdisciplinary Studies, Gender Studies, Women’s Studies, and Critical Studies in Education.

How is this useful at work?

The ability to understand women’s experiences and to do gender analysis is useful to people in education, law, business, health care, labour relations, personnel management, counselling, engineering, politics, and many other fields.

GWS courses provide perspectives on women’s lives and women’s work, both paid and unpaid, and on intersections of gender, class, racialization, sexuality, and ability, which will be useful to anyone trying to understand gender realities in the world today. Employers in the private sector, government, and non‑government organizations hire people who have expertise in gender, equity, and human rights issues.

Who may take GWS courses?

Three interdisciplinary courses, GWS 1003, GWS 2003, and GWS 4004, may be taken by full‑ or part‑time students in any Faculty, by non‑degree students, and by students taking courses on an occasional basis. It is not necessary to be enrolled in the GWS Program to take these courses, but at least one of 1003 or 2003 should be taken before 4004. Only Joint Honours students may take GWS 4900.

Why do a degree in Gender & Women's Studies?

GWS gives students an opportunity to explore gender issues in an interdisciplinary context, and it offers a useful complement to other fields. The required courses provide a framework for understanding the gender-based aspects of knowledge, power, and society.


Admission to the introductory GWS courses is open to students in all Faculties and all years. Students in any Faculty may select a Minor in GWS; however, only students in Arts may take the Double Major or Joint Honours in GWS. Normally students declare their Major or apply for admission to the Honours program after successfully completing 45 credit hours. The Coordinator serves as academic advisor for students in Gender and Women’s Studies.

How do I enroll in Gender & Women's Studies?

See Enrollment Page.


Updated November 25, 2014