Undergraduate Program Women's Studies

Diverse women in positions of leadership

Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree, Minor and Certificate Overview

The women's studies program at Portland State University integrates feminist research and innovative, experiential learning. The curriculum is complex, challenging, and relevant.

The curriculum merges feminist theory with community experiences. Students will conduct and produce intersectional, interdisciplinary, problem-centered scholarship.

Women's studies majors connect with professors across many disciplines. Students learn how feminist theory has and continues to influence:

  • culture
  • language
  • social
  • economic
  • political institutions

The women's studies program at PSU encourages students to analyze feminist issues through the lens of race, class, sexuality, and gender.

Degree Details

  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
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  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
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  • m
    Delivery Method
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • C
    Certificate Program
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
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Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree, Minor or Certificate: Why PSU?

The Women's Studies program seeks to expand feminist scholarship through a combination of:

  • academic critical analysis;
  • community practicum; and
  • feminist activism.

The women's studies program has developed a close connection to the Portland community. Women's Studies majors are active throughout the city. They use their interdisciplinary coursework to support marginalized populations on and off-campus.

Women's studies majors are exceptionally active in the Portland community. Our students volunteer at the Women's Resource Center or Queer Resource Center on campus. And, they intern at women's shelters around the city. Our students also organize educational and social events on campus. Students majoring in Women's Studies gain real-world experience through their connections with the community.

One of the requirements of the program is through the practicum. Students connect with the community and campus to illuminate the relationship between feminist theory and practice.

The practicum allows students to get professional training and experience as an undergraduate. This means they will graduate with a sought-after resume and job skills.

Many practicum placements take place at campus resource centers and local nonprofit organizations. All geared toward empowering women and disenfranchised populations. Women’s Studies majors have interned with a variety of organizations:

Through their practicum experiences, students work in a variety of roles:

  • providing direct services to clients
  • designing and executing media campaigns
  • maintaining databases, donor lists, and other organizational tasks
  • developing outreach campaigns
  • offering mentorship and academic support to other students.

The practicum program provides students with professional experience as undergraduates that prepares them for rewarding careers.

We offer two types of practicum experiences:

  1. Work with an off-campus organization
  2. Work on-campus with a program, and/or choose to serve as a teaching assistant/mentor for courses within the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department

The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department has established relationships with practicum sites across Portland. Students also have the opportunity to develop a practicum with an organization of their choice, in consultation with an advisor or with the department practicum coordinator.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree, minor, or certificate in Women's Studies?

The women's studies major provides a blend of coursework, community involvement, and close connections with faculty. This means that a women's studies program that prepares graduates to fill a wide variety of roles. Women's Studies alumni have gone on to careers in:

  • Reproductive Health Activism: Our graduates have gone on to work at hospitals, schools, and advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood.
  • Combating Houselessness: Graduates have earned jobs with organizations that support populations who struggle with houselessness.
  • Interpersonal Violence Activism: Women's studies graduates have accepted positions at organizations that seek to provide safe spaces and resources for communities and individuals dealing with interpersonal violence, including YMCAs and government agencies.
  • Social Work: Working with local and national government agencies, graduates have pursued careers in agencies and organizations that provide resources to at-risk persons

We encourage students to pursue graduate studies to expand their understanding of women's studies. Our students have gone on to graduate school at the following institutions:

  • University of Wisconsin/Madison
  • University of Washington
  • Simmons School of Social Work
  • SUNY/Buffalo, Columbia University
  • Oregon State University

Featured Courses

  • WS 101 Intro to Women's Studies
  • WS 301 Gender and Critical Inquiry
  • WS 305 Women of Color Feminist Theory
  • WS 307 Women, Activism, and Social Change
  • WS 315 Feminist Analysis
  • WS 412 Feminist Methodologies
  • WS 415 Senior Seminar
  • WS 409 Practicum
  • WS 411 Experiential Learning Seminar


  • WS 307U Women, Activism and Social Change
  • WS 308U Masculinities
  • WS 317U Writing as Activism
  • WS 320U Intro to Girls' Studies
  • WS 331U Women in the Middle East
  • WS 332U Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in the US
  • WS 369U Global Reproductive Rights
  • WS 367U Was, Sexual Violence and Healing
  • WS 372U Topics in Literature, Gender, and Sexuality
  • WS 375U Topics: Divas, Icons, Revolutionaries
  • WS 377U Topics in Feminist Spirituality
  • WS 417 Women in the Economy
  • WS 431U Women in the Visual Arts
  • WS 451 Interrupting Oppression
  • WS 471 Global Feminisms


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).