College of Social Sciences
*S. Hippensteele, PhD, JD (Director)—psychology, law, civil rights,
H. Aikau—political science
Degree and Certificates Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, BA in women’s studies, Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women’s Studies
The Academic Program
The Women’s Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary transnational feminist approach to the study of women and gender issues. The purpose of the program is to provide a rigorous and integrated academic experience for students interested in feminist research and teaching, giving them a coherent program of study in contemporary scholarship with a special emphasis on Asia-Pacific and Hawai‘i. With a faculty trained in a variety of fields, the program investigates gender as it intersects with race, class, sexuality, and other vectors of power in shaping the study of history, psychology, anthropology, economics, sociology, political science, philosophy, literature, language, art, drama, education, law, medicine, and biology.
Women and men from all colleges at UH Manoa take women’s studies courses because of their intellectual rigor, their political insight, and their interdisciplinary ties to other fields of study. Many courses are cross-listed with other departments. Women’s studies is a uniquely powerful avenue of self-understanding as well as a means of connecting research on women and gender to other academic fields of inquiry. Those who understand the workings of gender in personal lives and social orders can better pursue a variety of careers and life goals. Women’s studies offers a unique opportunity to study racial, economic, ethnic, sexual, regional, and global matters of interest among women in Hawai‘i and around the world, past, present, and future.
Women’s studies offers two flexible, self-designed majors with either a special concentration within the field of women’s studies or a general focus on the broad field of women’s studies. Students work in close consultation with faculty to design and develop the academic experience that best fits their interests, goals, and needs. The aim of the self-designed major is to promote a coherent program of study in contemporary interdisciplinary scholarship in feminist and gender studies. A key purpose of the major is to provide an integrated academic experience for students interested in transnational feminist scholarship and gender issues, while offering flexibility and freedom in planning the degree.
Although students are strongly encouraged to seek department academic advising promptly when considering a major in women’s studies, a summary of undergraduate program information is also available at www.womenstudies.hawaii.edu. General and special women’s studies degree requirements are as follows:
General Women’s Studies Degree Focus
Students must complete thirty (30) credit hours of total coursework, including
Special Women’s Studies Degree Focus
Students must complete thirty (30) credit hours of total coursework, including:
Students who plan to pursue a women’s studies major should meet with the women’s studies undergraduate program advisor (currently Dr. Kathy Ferguson) for help in choosing classes, defining their area of interest, creating and developing proposals, and finding the faculty advisor most suited to their areas of interest.
The Undergraduate Certificate
The Certificate in Women’s Studies is designed to encourage all undergraduates to acquire a more thorough background in contemporary interdisciplinary scholarship in feminist and gender studies, and to incorporate feminist perspectives and issues into their major fields of specialization. Through this interdisciplinary option, students from various majors can study the specific achievements of women, examine the many factors that determine the status of women across cultures and through time, and analyze theories and assumptions about women that particularly relate to their majors.
The certificate’s practical value includes the enhancement of knowledge that develops students’ abilities to think critically and constructively about their world and their lives. Further, it offers a credential that is applicable to a wide range of careers including medicine, law, business, education, counseling, and social work. The certificate can also provide the groundwork for advanced study of gender and feminism and the graduate level application of feminist theories.
All registered students in good academic standing who are working towards a baccalaureate degree other than Women’s Studies at UH Manoa may apply for a Women’s Studies Certificate.
For administrative purposes, any cross-listed course will be counted as a women’s studies course regardless of the departmental designation under which students register for the course.
Women’s studies offers a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women’s Studies (AdWS Certificate). This certificate program provides a rigorous, integrated and relevant educational experience for students whose education and career objectives will be enhanced through creative and scholarly transnational feminist analysis of women’s lives and visions. The program guides students to examine the factors that affect the status of women across cultures and through time, analyze theories and assumptions about women in various disciplines, contribute to the reformulation of social knowledge, explore institutionalizing social change that highlights and supports the achievements of women locally and internationally, and understand the usefulness of gender as an analytical tool in many fields.
Graduate studies leading to the AdWS Certificate are focused in four broad areas under the general rubric of gender studies.
Recipients of the AdWS Certificate must be classified graduate students, and normally will be pursuing graduate degrees in other academic departments. The AdWS Certificate will help students learn to apply feminist methodologies, analysis and problem-solving to their other academic fields, and to integrate the rigors of the scholarship on gender into their chosen professions as a means of enhancing their professional lives and opportunities for advancement.
The department website lists research interests and publications of the members of the women’s studies graduate faculty, and describes admissions and program requirements (see www.womenstudies.hawaii.edu). The following sections summarize the admissions and program requirements, but the program website should be consulted for complete details.
Students are admitted to the AdWS Certificate program in the fall and spring semesters. Applicants to the AdWS Certificate program must be classified graduate students at UH Manoa. Candidates are required to submit their current and complete transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and the names of and full contact information for three additional references. Applicants also must submit a 4-5 page essay outlining their personal and professional goals as they relate to the AdWS Certificate program, and identifying potential research and/or community involvement projects they may wish to pursue as part of their AdWS Certificate work
The AdWS Certificate program consists of a minimum of 18 credits, at least 12 of which must be at the 600 level or higher. Nine of these credits must come from the following four WS courses: WS 610 (1 cr), Faculty Seminar Series; WS 613 (3 cr), Feminist Research and Methods of Inquiry; WS 615 (3 cr), Feminist Theory; WS 650 (2 cr), Research in Feminist Studies: Capstone Experience.
Remaining credits will be drawn from a list of courses approved by the women’s studies graduate advisor (currently Dr. Meda Chesney-Lind). All students will work with a specific advisor to develop an AdWS Certificate curriculum based on their academic majors that best supports their academic and professional goals and objectives. Up to 6 credits towards the certificate may be taken in the student’s home department provided that department’s curriculum includes courses approved by women’s studies.
Each student enrolled in the AdWS Certificate program will design, develop, and complete a research and/or community involvement project to culminate in a publishable-quality work or comparable product, and a professional quality seminar presentation given in the student’s final semester of the program.
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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