GWS Major

Declaring the GWS Major

Welcome to the Undergraduate Program in Gender and Women’s Studies. Below you will find information about majoring in this exciting field of study. Our students have a unique opportunity to interact with an amazing cadre of GWS faculty. The program allows our students to pursue an array of careers and interests after graduation.

The Department of Gender and Women’s Studies has a two-part set of goals:

  • Those characteristic of general learning outcomes expected of a social sciences and/or liberal arts major at the University of California, Berkeley;
  • Those specific to our pedagogical priorities as a department.

Visit the Undergraduate Student Learning Initiative  for full details on the GWS learning goals.

View the GWS Major Map (PDF). To learn more about the Major Maps project, click here.

Gender and Women’s Studies students get significant personalized attention. Our department is known for its investment in the well-being of our students, and its smaller size means that it is somewhat easier to cultivate a community among undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.

How to declare the major

Full list of GWS courses

GWS majors are also eligible to apply for stipends to help with GWS related research and travel (see research opportunities).

Major Requirements

To declare the Gender and Women’s Studies major, the student must have completed GWS 10 and have a GPA of 2.0.  To complete the major, students must take two of the three gateway courses (GWS 10, GWS 14, LGBT 20AC), as well as the four upper division core courses (GWS 101, GWS 102, GWS 104, and GWS 195 or GWS H195).  In addition, the student must complete four upper division electives, at least three of which must be drawn from GWS / LGBT electives, and one of which can be taken in other departments as long as the courses appear on the course list on Gender and Women’s Studies. All courses taken for the GWS major must be taken for a letter grade.

Lower Division Courses:

Prerequisite Requirements (Choose 2 of the following):

  • GWS 10, Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies
  • GWS 14, Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Global Political Perspectives
  • LGBT 20AC, Sexual Politics and Queer Organizing in the US

Upper Division Courses:

Major Core Requirements:

  • GWS 101, Doing Feminist Research
  • GWS 102, Transnational Feminisms
  • GWS 104, Feminist Theory
  • GWS 195, Senior Seminar or GWS H195A, Honors Seminar


  • Three electives must be chosen from GWS/LGBT course offerings
  • The other elective may be fulfilled by classes offered by other departments, on the topics of gender, women and sexuality

Honors Program:

  • To be eligible for the GWS Honors Program (GWS H195A and GWS H195B), students must have an overall 3.3 GPA, and a 3.5 GPA in the major. In addition, eligible students must write a brief proposal, to be approved by the faculty teaching GWS 101, and have a GWS faculty member or affiliate agree to chair the honors thesis by the beginning of the fall term of their senior year. GWS H195 cannot be used as an elective in the major.
  • To receive honors in GWS, students must have a 3.6 for honors, a 3.8 for high honors, or a 3.9 for highest honors. In addition, the student must receive a minimum of an A- in both GWS H195A and GWS H195B.

How to declare the major

Full list of GWS courses

Student Funding Opportunities and Awards (link)

Student Awards

2023 GWS Departmental Citation: Grace Kowalevsky
2023 GWS Excellence in Action Award: Celia Serrato
2023 Honor’s Thesis Prize: Yaas Farzanefar
2023 David Getman Memorial Award in Global Women’s Studies: Crystal Htwe and Jenny Lee

2022 GWS Departmental Citation: Jude Strzemp
2022 GWS Excellence in Action Award: Tessa Stapp
2022 Honor’s Thesis Prize: Allyza Quintanilla
2022 David Getman Memorial Award in Global Women’s Studies: Nathalie Grogan and Angel Valdez Ordonez

2021 GWS Departmental Citation: Shayna Mabanag
2021 GWS Excellence in Action Award: Anthony Ayala, Sofia Cruz, Tasmia Hussain, Ana Rodriguez, and Claire Sonne
2021 David Getman Memorial Award in Global Women’s Studies: Aurin Roy

2020 GWS Departmental Citation: Kajol Gupta
2020 GWS Excellence in Action Award: Alexander Gonzalez
2020 David Getman Memorial Award in Global Women’s Studies: Eleanor McSpirit and Eleanor Skladman

2019 GWS Departmental Citation: Pan Narez
2019 GWS Excellence in Action Award: Madeline Aragon
2019 Honor’s Thesis Prize: Edie Sussman

2018 GWS Departmental Citation: Camilah Hamideh
2018 GWS Excellence in Action Award: Istifaa Ahmed
2018 Honor’s Thesis Prize: Juli Adhikari and Annika Anderson
2018 David Getman Memorial Award in Global Women’s Studies: Midori Chen