Why Study Gender Studies at New College?

Gender Studies is a dynamic interdisciplinary field of academic study and research that begins from interrogating “gender” as a social and cultural concept that has real impact on human lives, practices, and institutions. Drawing on continuing scholarly developments, Gender Studies invites you to question assumptions about how gender and associated issues impact the social and political world and inform academic study and practice across the Natural and Social Sciences, Humanities and arts.

Gender Studies area of concentration

Gender Studies, recognized as an interdisciplinary academic program at New College since 1995, draws on curricula across the campus (and beyond) to serve students pursuing the Area of Concentration and to introduce students working in other AOCs to the complex focal problem of “gender.” Faculty throughout the College address issues related to Gender Studies in their courses, research and creative work, and tutorials. They also offer courses explicitly cross listed under Gender Studies, and in some cases may be willing to allow a particularly interested student to use the lens of gender and related issues to adapt noncross-listed coursework for credit in the Gender Studies Program.

The AOC in Gender Studies complies with the New College Academic Learning Compact, which ensures that graduates have demonstrated the requisite levels of ability in oral and written communication, appropriate content knowledge, and creative and critical thinking skills for the Bachelor of Arts degree. These skills are assessed in each academic and service-learning component. The senior thesis project and the baccalaureate examination are the final capstone requirement, demonstrating the student’s achievement of the required skills and abilities for the Gender Studies portion of the AOC.

At New College, students may choose either 1) a “Joint Disciplinary” Area of Concentration in which they combine their work in Gender Studies with work in another disciplinary AOC, or 2) a full AOC in Gender Studies, which has more extensive expectations. We require that students complete the Gender Studies AOC Application form before being formally recognized as Gender Studies concentrators. For guidance in Gender Studies, they can turn to our Program Advisor.

A good choice for many, the Joint-Disciplinary option enhances students’ interdisciplinary focus on gender and its intersections with a solid grounding in a complementary discipline (e.g. biology, literature, sociology, etc.). In addition to the requirements laid out by the Gender Studies Program students are responsible for fulfilling the AOC requirements of their paired discipline in consultation with appropriate faculty in that field. Students wishing to pair their work in Gender Studies with a Divisional AOC (Humanities, Natural or Social Sciences) must file for a “Special Area of Concentration” (i.e., “Gender Studies in the Humanities”) and complete both the requirements for the Joint-Disciplinary Gender Studies AOC and all the requirements for the Divisional AOC.

For more explicitly focused students, especially those who want to complete a senior project that is solidly within the interdisciplinary fields of Gender Studies, the stand-alone AOC may be a better choice. (Requirements for both the Gender Studies AOC and the Joint-Disciplinary option may be found below.)

View Gender Studies Academic Learning Compact

View Gender Studies courses offered in last 5 years


Area of Concentration Requirements

In what follows, a “course-equivalent” is defined as an activity equivalent to a full term of work (i.e., a semester-long course, tutorial, or IRP, or alternatively, a January term ISP, which consists of an intensive monthlong single activity).

The Course Schedule identifies two kinds of cross-listed classes: those that are automatically counted towards fulfilling the requirements and those that are cross-listed as “Gender Studies eligible” courses, for which the instructor’s permission must be requested and granted early in that term.

Additional or specialized coursework in Gender Studies may take the form of group Tutorials or Independent Research Projects, January Interterm Projects, volunteer work or internships and other practical experiences, and of course Senior Projects including theses. The Senior Project may be sponsored by any member of the faculty, but least one committee member should be affiliated or core faculty in Gender Studies and agree to be responsible for evaluating the gender component(s) of the project.

Internships and volunteer service-learning opportunities are recommended for students completing the Joint-Disciplinary AOC and required for the full AOC. Faculty and the Internship Coordinator can help students find local or national placements. We also encourage students to pursue Gender Studies in an international context; students would be well advised to study a foreign language or undertake a semester of study abroad to enhance their understanding of gender beyond the U.S. Some cross-cultural or intersectional work is required for both Joint-Disciplinary and full AOCs.

The following are REQUIRED for the full Gender Studies AOC, but RECOMMENDED for the Joint-Disciplinary AOC:

  • An Introduction to the field; NOTE: This may be fulfilled by
    • a stand-alone introduction to the field if offered;
    • an approved introduction from another institution;
    • petitioning to count 2 introductory courses cross-listed with Gender Studies from different disciplines. For options 2 and 3, the Program Advisor has final jurisdiction.
  • One broadly interdisciplinary course-equivalent; NOTE: Although a specifically interdisciplinary course may not be offered regularly, an interdisciplinary undertaking may draw upon prior disciplinary coursework to augment new work in a course, tutorial, or Independent Study Project on a related topic in another disciplinary field with faculty consent.
  • A course in Methods, ideally surveying both qualitative and quantitative methods. NOTE: Regularly offered courses in the Social and Natural Sciences in methods may, at the discretion of the instructor, fulfill this requirement. Courses in interdisciplinary feminist or sexuality studies methods would also be good choices.
  • An internship, volunteer project, service learning, or other ‘from theory to practice’ experience in gender-related areas.  NOTE: At least four of the above courses must be at an advanced level, and those courses must collectively span at least two disciplines (or one discipline and one interdisciplinary).”

When undertaking courses or projects not cross-listed under Gender Studies, students must ask faculty to indicate on their term evaluation that their work fulfills Gender Studies requirements and alert the Program Advisor of this arrangement. They may then list the course on their Gender Studies Application Form and get it approved.

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

Joint-Disciplinary Gender Studies AOC students need to complete at least:

  • Two course-equivalents each in the Humanities and in the Social Sciences with papers or projects focused on gender;
  • One course-equivalent in the Natural Sciences with papers or projects focused on gender;
  • A course-equivalent on theories of gender and/or sexuality, or feminist theory;
  • A senior thesis/project that substantially engages gender-related issues, developed in consultation with your Gender Studies faculty committee member(s);
  • One course-equivalent that is explicitly cross-cultural or addresses gender as it intersects with race, ethnicity, and/or social class (i.e. intersectional).


Gender Studies pulls from faculty across the entire campus. Faculty who affiliate with Gender Studies are choosing to make themselves available to students with broad interests rather than insular disciplinary ones, so these faculty tend to be particularly generous, interested in student learning and personal development, and willing to step outside their own comfort zone. For instance, faculty trained as laboratory scientists have been willing to help students interested in learning more about the struggles of women scientists and shared their personal knowledge and sponsored students researching women’s contributions to the sciences. Faculty with expertise in women writers have worked with students interested in African American masculinity to learn more about ongoing masculinity and critical race studies, or faculty focused on labor issues have been willing to help students interested in learning more about the particular challenges facing African women.

Faculty with expertise in gender and feminist theory have worked with students to explore the full range of thinking about sexual identity and the non-identitarian field of queer theory. Sometimes faculty have been willing to collaborate with each other to create a kind of composite and comparative group tutorial, offering a short two- to three-week unit of a course in an area they know well so that students can get a good overview of how “gender” impacts fields from classics to anthropology, from tropical botany to philosophy.

In addition to the staff of the Gender Studies Program, faculty throughout the College address issues related to Gender Studies in their courses, research and tutorials.

Recent Theses

  • “Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going”: Feminist Voices in Anthropology (Anthropology/Gender Studies)
  • Puerto Rican Feminists’ Understandings of Sterilization Narratives (Sociology/Gender Studies)
  • Exploring Associations between Assertiveness, Health, and Gender in Children Ages 6-11” (Psychology/Gender Studies)
  • “‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Queerest of Them All?’ A Crip Perspective on Fairy Tale Intertextuality” (Literature/Gender Studies)
  • Masculinity, Sexuality, and Identity in Three Queer Texts, 1900-1910 (History/Gender Studies)
    Gender Bias in Physiological Stress Research (Biology/Gender Studies)
  • “Whose Development in ‘Theatre for Development’?: Donors, Directors, and Local Participation in a South African Non-Governmental Organization” (Theatre/Gender Studies)
  • Relational Aggression in Gay Male Relationships: Examining the Role of Internalized Homophobia (Psychology/Gender Studies)

SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.