Viewing Culture Through Feminine Eyes: Women’s Studies Degree

Women's studies is a relatively new academic field that pertains to a variety of topics related to the roles, importance and issues of women. An online degree program in women's studies is based heavily on older liberal arts degree programs, such as humanities. Degree programs ask students to view cultures and historical events through gender-specific filters. Graduates can effectively theorize, research and report on issues relevant to modern-day society.

Women's Studies Degree Information

How you will embark on women's studies will depend on your particular college or university. Some schools offer a minor in womenís studies as part of a four-year Bachelor of Arts program in another discipline such as sociology or philosophy. Some live and online universities offer two-year or shorter certification programs or Associate of Arts degrees in women's studies. There are a limited number of graduate programs in womenís studies; many students with a B.A. in women's studies will choose to pursue a master's degree or doctorate in a related discipline with a focus on women's studies.

Study Options

A Bachelor of Arts in Women's Studies at universities or colleges that offer them will typically take about four years to complete. Many colleges and universities will allow the student to earn a bachelor's degree with a major in a related field and a minor in women's studies. These programs also can be typically completed in four years and will prepare the student for graduate work or a career in women's studies.

Advanced Women's Studies

Not all schools offer an advanced degree in women's studies, however, there are definitely some who do, so if you are interested in graduate work in womenís studies specifically, you should do your research. For example, UCLA offers both a Ph.D. in women's studies, as does the University of Arizona. SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo in New York offer women's studies master's degrees, as does the University of Texas at Austin, which also offers the doctorate. Do your research to find the best graduate school for you as a women's studies major.

Master's Degrees

Programs that offer master's degrees in women's studies will give the student the opportunity to do more intensive writing and research based on what they learned in their undergraduate women's studies curriculum. These programs that take around two years to complete, also may ease entry into a competitive doctoral program in womenís studies.

Doctoral Programs

Doctoral programs in women's studies tend to be small, taking 10 or fewer students a year, which means that spots will be very competitive and students will have to work hard to get into one of these programs. Once accepted, the program can take six or more years to complete, as developing, creating and defending the dissertation in women's studies can be a long and difficult process. Those who successfully complete the doctoral program will be qualified to teach women's studies at the university level and to do new research in the field of women's studies.

Choosing A Degree

Choosing a womenís studies degree is a great way to get all the benefits of a liberal arts education while focusing on issues particularly relevant to women. Holding a womenís studies degree shows potential employers that you are not only skilled at critical thinking, research and effective writing, but that you are sensitive to cultural differences and how they affect certain groups, in this case, women.

Career Opportunities

A bachelor's degree in women's studies can be a springboard to a number of interesting careers, including social worker, psychologist, health services worker, sociologist, victim's rights advocate, politician and college or university professor.

Earning Potential

Earning potential for those with women's studies degrees vary widely because these students may find themselves on so many different career paths. Social scientists can earn anything from around $50,000 to over $90,000 per year. Counseling psychologists earned on average between $45,300 and $77,750 per year in 2006.

Getting Your Degree Online

Women's studies is a degree not offered by every college or university, meaning a top womenís studies program may not be accessible to all willing students. Fortunately, the Internet provides access to many top quality distance learning programs in women's studies, be it at the associates, bachelor's or master's level. These programs are also well suited to continuing education students looking to resume their studies on a part-time or off-hours basis.

Getting Your Degree Offline

Working through a women's studies curriculum at a brick-and-mortar university is a great way to immerse yourself in the subject matter. You will meet people from a variety of disciplines who are interested in women's issues and be able to learn a broad spectrum of perspectives. Your coursework can be done under the close watch of your college or university's women's studies professors who will help you do the best possible work as you do the necessary research and writing to earn the degree. If your school does not offer graduate work in women's studies, you can earn a graduate degree in a related discipline or take the time to research women's studies graduate programs in other parts of the country until you find the one that is best for you.

Women’s Studies Degree FAQs

What Can I Do with a Women's Studies Degree?

Individuals with an online degree in women's studies can apply their expertise to a variety of leadership roles. Many continue careers at colleges and universities as professors. Others work in the health industry as clinical social workers, nurses and healthcare coordinators.

Still others become activists, taking positions such as journalist, lawyer and human rights advocate. The corporate world is another potential career path, with many graduates working in human resources and public relations.

What Topics of Study Are Covered in an Online Women's Studies Degree Program?

Academic programs in women's studies typically start with broad liberal arts topic such as economics, philosophy, psychology and humanities. Degree-specific classes might include women's health, women in literature, women's history and women in politics. Study of various cultures, societies and current events are common topics of study as well.

What Skills Are Beneficial When Pursuing a Women's Studies Online Degree?

A passion for the rights and livelihood of women throughout the ages is a commonality between all women's studies majors. Beneficial skills include critical thinking and strong written and oral presentation. Classes involve a high level of research and writing of reports. Therefore, the ability to persuade and sway people's opinions is another valuable asset.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn With an Online Degree in Women's Studies?

An online women's studies degree lends itself to numerous career paths. As such, salaries earned by graduates can vary dramatically.

College professors can earn as much as $100,000 each year at top-tier universities. Social scientists can expect to earn between $50,000 and $90,000 annually. Lawyers and public relations managers are other women's studies careers with high potential incomes.

Online Women's Studies Degree Programs

A women's studies degree can be earned at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Certification programs are also available. Associate's and certificate programs often feed lead into a bachelor's program, allowing students to seamlessly transition from one degree to the next.

An online B.A. in Women's Studies features a broad array of liberal arts topics. Graduate level courses typically allow students to focus on a particular area of interest, such as sexuality, rape and sexual assault and women in history.

Women's Studies Student Guide

Women's studies (feminist studies) is the study of women over a wide range of disciplines, including politics, psychology and sociology. Women's studies students examine theories of feminism, the history of women in society and how women are represented and treated in various cultures.

Women's Studies Books

The Women's Studies section of the American Library Association online (http://libr.org/wss/wsslinks/index.html) is a great source of books for women's studies programs. Here you can find links to books on any sub-discipline of women's studies that you need, from general women's studies texts to womenís studies in business, literature, politics or philosophy.

Women's Studies Articles And Databases

The American Library Association Women's Studies section also has links to women's studies article databases (libr.org/wss/projects/electronic.html) to aid you in your coursework. Some of the citation databases you can access through this site include the Alternative Press Index, Women's Studies International, GenderWatch and Women in America.

Online Women's Studies Research

More women's studies information can be found online through the American Women's History Online database (accessible through Factsonfile.infobasepublishing.com), the Studies of Women and Gender Abstracts database (accessible through TaylorandFrancis.com), The Women's Indicators and Statistics Database (UN.org.Pubs.sales.htm) and the Women's Studies Encyclopedia (Gem.Greenwood.com).

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