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Putting your knowledge to practical use

All students majoring in Sexuality, Gender and Queer Studies or Women’s Studies must complete six credit hours of practicum (WS 409) as part of their degree requirements. Through the practicum, you will put your knowledge to practical use as you work with an on- and/or off-campus organization to further its mission. You may choose to complete all of your practicum credits with one organization, or you may share time as a practicum student with more than one organization. Additionally, you may complete all of your practicum hours in one term, or you may work over more than one term to complete your practicum.

While you are free to begin earning practicum credits at any point, it may make sense for you to get a solid grounding in your feminist coursework—particularly “Introduction to Women’s Studies” and “Women, Activism, and Social Change”—before signing up for practicum credits, as these courses will offer a basis from which to design your practicum for maximum benefit both to you and to the community/ies in which you choose to work. Meeting with your advisor or with Vicki Reitenauer, practicum coordinator, will help you to think through the best timing for your particular practicum.

WS 411

All majors and post-bacs are required to complete a 2-credit seminar (WS 411) during the first term in which the student earns any practicum credit. This course complements the experiential aspect of the practicum in ways that extend and produce new knowledge through our shared examination of praxis. We will examine the feminist praxis you are engaged in through your practicum in a collaborative, co-creative learning environment.

Students may only register for this course during the term that they are beginning their practicum experience, in the case of students completing the practicum over more than one term.

Practicum experiences

WGSS offers two types of practicum experiences: you may choose to work with an off-campus organization or an on-campus program, and/or you may choose to serve as a teaching assistant/mentor in a WGSS course.

WGSS has established relationships with some practicum sites, and/or you may develop your practicum with an organization of your choice, in consultation with your WGSS advisor or with Vicki Reitenauer, our practicum coordinator.

Some WGSS instructors welcome practicum students — typically students who have completed prior coursework with distinction with that instructor — into their courses as teaching assistants/mentors. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, speak directly with an instructor with whom you are interested in working or with Vicki Reitenauer.

Practicum credits are earned by working a set number of hours per week or for the term.  The following is a guide for determining credit hours:

Total Hours During Single Term Hours Per Week for 10-Week Term Credit Hours Earned
30 3 1
60 6 2
80 8 3
110 11 4
140 14 5
160 16 6


For practica that involve a partnership with an on- or off-campus community partner, your will earn either a “pass” (P) or “no pass” (NP) for your practicum. At the end of your practicum, you will complete a self-evaluation, your community partner will complete a supervisor evaluation, and you will meet with your faculty supervisor to determine your grade in alignment with those evaluations.

For practica that involve being a teaching assistant or mentor in a WGSS class, you may choose either to earn a letter grade or a P/NP. In both instances, you will earn your practicum grade in accordance with the parameters set forth for your practicum with your faculty person after the practicum has ended.


Start by meeting with your advisor. The two of you will talk about the structure and content of your practicum first. When you have confirmed the details of your practicum with your community organization, including the number of hours/credits you are committed to completing in the upcoming term, you and your advisor will fill out the top two portions of a “by-arrangement” form. You’ll then take that form to a meeting with Vicki Reitenauer, practicum coordinator, who will complete both the by-arrangement form and a special registration form, which secures your place in WS 411.


For questions or more information, contact Vicki Reitenauer at or 503-725-5847.