The Department of Gender & Women’s Studies is located on the 6th floor of the Social Sciences Building. View the staff and faculty directories for specific office locations. General Office Hours: Monday – Friday 9:30am – 4pm
The department does not currently have a PhD program. We are in the process of developing a Ph.D.-granting Graduate Group in Transnational Feminist Studies, which will involve faculty from a range of departments. Check our news section for periodic updates. UC Berkeley graduate students conducting research on topics related to gender, women, and sexuality should consider applying to the Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality.
If you have had your Ph.D. in hand for at least one year, you are eligible to apply to the visiting scholar programs in the GWS research program, The Beatrice Bain Research Group. Prospective visiting graduate students may apply through concurrent enrollment if wishing to attend classes at UC Berkeley while conducting research. Concurrent enrollment in GWS courses, whether undergraduate or graduate, is encouraged and gives you the same rights and access to the GWS faculty member teaching the class as regular students enjoy. Details on concurrent enrollment can be found here. If you are simply looking for visiting status at UC Berkeley in order to access library resources or to conduct independent research, you should contact a research unit in your field which is set up for such things. Unfortunately we as a department cannot accommodate this, due to our small size and limited resources.
Any non-UC Berkeley student may apply to UC Extension’s Concurrent Enrollment program if wishing to attend classes without going through the UC Berkeley admissions process. Concurrent enrollment in GWS courses, whether undergraduate or graduate, is encouraged and gives you the same rights and access to the GWS faculty member teaching the class as regular students enjoy. Details on concurrent enrollment can be found here.
For news on a particular GWS faculty member, visit the latest news section on the faculty pages. The latest news and events can be found on our homepage. Check out the research being conducted by our visiting scholars in the Beatrice Bain Research Group.
We recommend that you first browse through the research areas of our faculty to find the appropriate person for your topic and contact them via email. You can also search the full UC Berkeley Faculty Expertise database here. Or try the Faculty Experts list compiled by the Media Relations Office.
1. That Gender and Women’s Studies is only for people who identify as women. There is an important political part of the history of the department that has to do with recognizing and fighting for the legal, political, and economic rights of women that the department’s name acknowledges, and the gendered, racialized lives of particular women are the focus of several amazing scholars on this campus. But gender is a system we all live within, and includes all genders; understanding and changing hierarchies in which gender and sexuality play a part requires the participation of everyone, including straight white men! Everyone should take at least one gender and sexuality class at Cal to understand the ways masculinities and femininities, desire and sexuality, work as systems of power as well as – potentially – empowerment.
2. That Gender and Women’s Studies is concerned only with middle class white women. Again, there is an important part of the history of feminist thought that has been complicit with white privilege and class privilege, and has focused on gender equality as if it could be considered apart from socioeconomic inequality, racializations, citizenship status, decolonization, sexualities, disability, national context in a transnational world. In our department, we try both to come to grips with that legacy of white privilege – not pretend it never happened and doesn’t haunt us still – and teach all our classes from within a deep commitment to intersectionality (thinking about how different aspects of power are related) and a transnational awareness of the connections across internal borders within our own divided societies and with other parts of the world’s labor, migration restrictions, and natural resources that sustain our global privilege within the United States.
3. That Gender and Women’s Studies is bad for you on the job market. Quite to the contrary, majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies, whether as a double major or alone, is extremely attractive to employers and graduate school admissions, from medical school and law school to NGOs, teaching, and business. Employers like to see students who have taken classes that indicate sustained critical thinking and writing, as well as a commitment to social justice.