Academic Opportunities

Independent StudyResearch Opportunities / Study Abroad / De-Cal

Independent Study

The Department of Gender and Women’s Studies encourages majors to conduct self-initiated research projects. Students interested in working one-on-one with a faculty member can enroll in either GWS 197 Internship/Field of Study or GWS 99/199 Independent Study. Students are responsible for finding a faculty sponsor willing to work with them on their project. Please note these courses can only be taken for P/NP grade.

GWS 197 Internship/Field of Study

The Internship Program requires fieldwork in an organization concerned with women’s issues, plus individual conferences with faculty. Students must present a written scope of work to the supervising faculty member before enrolling. Credit is earned through written work completed by students interpreting the experience via diaries, historical reports, and creative work done for the organization. This course is available to upper-division students only (those with 60 or more units completed by the beginning of the relevant semester).

GWS 99/199 Supervised Independent Study for Advanced Undergraduates

Prerequisites: Gender & Women’s Studies major. This course consists of reading and conferences with the instructor regarding a field of study that does not coincide with that of any regular course and is specific enough to enable the student to write an essay based upon the student’s study. GWS 99 is for lower-division students (59 or fewer units at the beginning of the relevant semester) and GWS 199 is for upper-division students (60 or more units completed at the beginning of the relevant semester).

Enrollment Procedure

  • Develop a project proposal with the assistance of the faculty sponsor.
  • Obtain the Independent/Internship form from the Office of Undergraduate Advising in 608 Social Sciences Building.
  • Complete the form, obtain your faculty sponsor’s signature and attached the proposal.
  • Return the instructor-signed form and proposal to 608 Social Sciences Building by the 4th week of classes (spring or fall semester).

Once your faculty sponsor approves your project and you submit your materials, you will receive a Course Control Number to enroll in the class.

UC Berkeley Washington Program: GWS 196W–Special Field Research

The University of California, Berkeley Washington Program provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates from all majors to spend a semester (Fall or Spring) in Washington, D.C. pursuing full-time course work and an internship in their selected field. Applicants must be in good standing within their Colleges, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and have achieved junior status (60 units) by the time their semester in Washington commences. Preference is given to students who have completed at least 30 credits on the Berkeley campus. All program participants must reside at the UC Washington Center for the duration of the semester.

Students will be expected to produce two progress reports for their faculty coordinator during the course of the internship, as well as produce a final paper for the course consisting of no fewer than 35 pages. Other restrictions apply; see

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Research Opportunities

Research funding for GWS majors:

Majors can apply for funding to help support the costs of GWS-related research or of presenting a GWS-related paper at a conference. Individual awards can be up to $300 for things such as travel for research or conferences, small payments for interview subjects, data packages, etc. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the year’s funds are exhausted. Each major can receive funding up to two times over the course of their undergraduate career, although priority will be given to applicants who have not yet received funding. Recipients will be asked to write a very brief report summarizing how they used the funding. To apply, download the application here and email the completed form to the Student Services Advisor

Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP)

UC Berkeley is well known for its dynamic research environment. As an undergraduate student there are many ways to participate in research on campus. One such program is URAP, which provides opportunities for students to work with faculty on cutting-edge research. By working closely with faculty, students can cultivate professional relationships, enhance their research skills, and deepen their knowledge and skills in areas of special interest. Applications are online. For a complete listing and description of research projects, visit the URAP website or stop by 5 Durant Hall.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship/L&S

This program (SURF/L&S) allows UC Berkeley undergraduates in the College of Letters and Science to spend the summer doing concentrated research in preparation for a senior thesis. Application deadline generally is in the spring. See for more information.

The Art of Writing Program – Townsend Center for the Humanities

Art of Writing helps prepare undergraduates who have completed UC Berkeley’s Reading & Composition requirement to write lucidly, directly, and eloquently in a variety of styles. At the heart of the program, grant-funded seminars create collaborative and intimate writing communities among undergraduates, a graduate student instructor, and a faculty member. See for more information.

Center for Race and Gender Undergraduate Student Grants Program

The Center for Race and Gender (CRG) at the University of California Berkeley, announces the availability of grants of $100 to $1,000 to fund undergraduates for research or creative projects that address issues of race and gender. Topics should be consonant with CRG’s mandate to support critical student research on race, gender, and their intersections in a wide variety of social, cultural, and institutional contexts, especially on the Berkeley campus and its neighboring communities, but also in California, the nation, or the world.

The Haas Scholars Program

The Robert & Colleen Haas Scholars Program funds financial aid eligible, academically talented undergraduates to engage in a sustained research, field-study, or creative project in the summer before and during their senior year at UC Berkeley. Each year, twenty Haas Scholars are selected from all disciplines and departments across the University on the basis of the merit and originality of their project proposals. For more information go to

The Ronald McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program prepares selected UC Berkeley undergraduates for graduate study at the doctoral level. Twenty to thirty McNair Scholars are selected each year to participate in both academic and summer activities. The McNair Scholars Program aims to increase the number of students in underrepresented doctoral programs. See for further information.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at UC Berkeley

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program at UC Berkeley targets students with exceptional academic promise and potential for careers that will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in the academy. The program supports Fellows by providing guidance, role models and the environment and resources to strive for the highest academic goals. Fellows will realize their greatest potential as graduate students to later become extraordinarily successful faculty members and emerge as role models for future generations. To learn more visit

GWS 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.

The Berkeley Undergraduate Journal

The Berkeley Undergraduate Journal is dedicated to publishing the academic work of undergraduates from the Humanities, Social Sciences, and related fields at the University of California, Berkeley. Essays are selected on the basis of academic content, general interest, and clarity of writing. Papers should be 15-60 pages long on topics that would be of interest to the generally well-educated reader. For submission instructions, go to

For a complete listing of research opportunities at UC Berkeley visit the Office of Undergraduate Research.

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Study Abroad

Thinking about studying abroad?! Gender and Women’s Studies supports students interested in experiencing learning abroad may it be through the University Education Abroad Program (EAP) program or a non-EAP program. We will work with you to ensure you receive the ultimate experience.

What Fullfills GWS Requirements?

Taking courses abroad may fulfill a maximum of two upper division GWS required electives. Please make sure you review your courses and get approval from the GWS Undergraduate Adviser before going abroad.

Plan Ahead!

Make sure you bring your program information and course description with you when you meet with the Undergraduate Adviser to ensure you are making the right choices. Please review the information below to make certain the course will count for the major. While you are at your host institution, save the syllabi, reading list and other program information—you may need it upon your return to Berkeley.

Criteria for Transfer

All courses abroad, both EAP and non-EAP, must conform to the same standards used for our own UCB courses. They must be:

  • upper division (EAP programs provide this information);
  • taken at a 4-year university or college (EAP programs provide this information);
  • taken for a letter grade;
  • comparable in instruction hours (at least 4.5 quarter units or 3 semester units) to receive full credit.**

**Important! Courses taken at quarter system schools will be viewed as partial credit (using the university standard of 2.66 units) for one of our 4-unit courses. This means that two quarter courses must be taken to fulfill one upper-division requirement.

Course Approval Procedure

The following materials must be submitted to the Undergraduate Advising Office in 608 Social Sciences Building. Please be prepared to provide additional materials, such as papers and reading lists for any additional questions.

1. A syllabus in English. A full translation. If translated from another language, provide the original syllabus with the English translation. The syllabus should include the following:

  • A description and summary of the course
  • Course outline, week by week
  • Required texts and readings
  • Grading (i.e. exams, written papers)

2. For EAP course work: An EAP Student Course Information Form for each course you are counting towards the major. You receive this form in your packet from the EAP Office.

3. For non-EAP work: In addition to the items list above,
(a) Information (online or in a printed course catalog) about course level (e.g., proof that it’s upper-division).
(b) A copy of your transcript (once available). An unofficial copy is acceptable.

You are now equipped and ready for a successful experience abroad!! Enjoy and have a great time!!

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Getting Started!


Students planning to offer a DeCal GWS 98/198 course must provide the following for approval:

  • Completed COCI Special Studies Course Proposal Form (CPF), available on the following websites: Course Proposal Form (CPF) . Students must download and complete this form and obtain the faculty sponsor’s signature before submitting it to the Undergraduate Adviser (UA), who will then obtain the Chair’s signature;
  • Syllabus of the proposed course;
  • A designated lead facilitator to liaise with the department (if there is more than one facilitator);
  • Course description, including the criteria required for students to pass the course;
  • GWS DeCal Student Info Sheet available below or through the UA’s Office. (One form is required for each course facilitator)
  • GWS DeCal Special Course Checklist available below or through the UA’s office.

All documentation must be submitted to the Undergraduate Adviser by the posted due date. As soon as the course has been approved, the lead facilitator should see the UA in 608 Social Sciences Building for information regarding room scheduling and class numbers.


How to Start a DeCal

GWS De-Cal Student Info Sheet

GWS De-Cal Special Course Checklist


All DeCal courses must have approval several weeks before the end of the previous semester. If you wish to offer a GWS DeCal class, all signed paperwork must be submitted in person to the Undergraduate Adviser in 608 Social Sciences Building by the following deadlines:

  • The deadline for proposed Fall DeCal courses is the last week of April.
  • The deadline for proposed Spring DeCal courses is the last week of October.


The Department will approve DeCal courses on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual faculty members may sponsor one DeCal course per semester. Student facilitators offering a DeCal through the Gender & Women’s Studies Department MUST BE A DECLARED GWS MAJOR or MINOR and MUST take the Undergraduate Course Facilitator Training and Resources (UCFTR).  For more information about the training see

Academic Credit for Facilitating a DeCal Course:

Student Facilitators can receive academic credit by enrolling in AAS 99, 199 or 197. Students should contact the Undergraduate advisor for further information.

If you want to enroll in a DeCal class, please check De-Cal’s website at for the complete list of courses.

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