Students sitting in a Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies class.


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Where We Started

The Women's Studies Program was established at The University of Iowa in 1974 and is one of the first programs in the United States. Our initial strength in joint appointments in the social sciences made the program unique within an interdisciplinary field most often drawn from the humanities. Our recent appointments give us strength in both social sciences and the humanities and enable us to continue to develop the breadth of interdisciplinary strength we believe to be the cornerstone of a strong gender, women's and sexuality studies program. Certainly, the interdisciplinary nature of the program evokes strong support from faculty and students who consider themselves part of the Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies community even though their ties are informal and their rewards intrinsic.

In 2000, Women's Studies gained departmental status, and in 2010, the Iowa State Board of Regents approved our proposal to unite with the existing Sexuality Studies Program and become the new Department of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS).  We offer a major and minor in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies, and a graduate certificate that can be combined with a disciplinary graduate degree.  Our department has grown dramatically in the last 15 years. Starting with only one half-time faculty member, the Department now has sixteen faculty with joint appointments. About 55 other faculty at the University are affiliated with GWSS and regularly cross-list their feminist courses with us, supervise graduate students or serve on GWSS committees. We continue to add faculty and courses to our roster, especially those the reflect the new title of the department.  This is an exciting time for our department intellectually and programmatically, and we look forward to working with new students.