Feminist Studies

What is Feminist Studies?

Feminist Studies is an interdisciplinary field that produces cutting-edge research and fosters innovative teaching. The subject matter of feminist studies is more than women: research and teaching focus on the ways that relations of gender, intersecting with race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, ability, and other differences, affect every aspect of society.

The Department of Feminist Studies, with ten core and 50 affiliated faculty members, offers a multifaceted curriculum that invites students to deepen their understanding of diverse women's lives, cultures, and histories in the United States and around the globe.

We offer an undergraduate major and minor, and house the minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer studies.  We have a M.A. and PhD program, and continue to run a doctoral emphasis for graduate students in affiliated departments.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Feminist Studies?

A major in Feminist Studies offers an opportunity for the interdisciplinary study of men and women from various perspectives humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Feminist Studies majors seek an understanding of the new intellectual frameworks that are reshaping thought about the meaning and role of gender in human life. Majors pursue knowledge of gendered experiences in diverse cultures and across time, examining the ways in which race, social class, sexuality and ethnicity constitute that experience. There is some crossover of interest by students for who gender and race relations is important.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

Feminist Issues/ Research / Methods 
Feminist Scholarship and Pedagogy 
Feminist Spirituality 
Gender Studies 
Women and Film 
Women and Religion 
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer
Women, Culture and Development

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.
- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.


General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be.  The following list provides only a handful of possibilities.  Feminist Studies majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields.  Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include:

Gender Advocacy
Grant Writer
Women’s Shelter Staff
University Professor
Political Lobbyist
Policy analyst
International Human Rights Worker
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.
See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn

Skills & Knowledge Developed in this Field
Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary program and major in which the varied experiences of women and the systemic study of gender may be explored.

The feminist studies major is designed to provide students with the opportunity to discover the variety and richness of women’s historical, cultural and social contributions, as well as to obtain a clear understanding of the dynamics of gender, race and class inequality as it has been experienced and struggled against by the world’s women. There are many skills that are developed during this course of study that translate well into the Job Market.

A sampling of representative skills and abilities follows:

Career Options
Careers specific to the B.A. degree
Business has become more aware of gender issues in the workplace, they like to hire women with F.S. majors because they have found that women with such backgrounds show better leadership skills, management styles and organizational strategies. Such programs also prepare students to work in any area where women are the focus including, health care, education, sports, entertainment, the arts and government. In addition, feminist studies programs prepare students for specific careers with women centered agencies, such as women’s shelters, counseling centers, nonprofit organizations, foundations and government.

Other Possibilities with a B.A. Degree
Students may choose in the area of law, public policy, and legislative affairs pertaining to women and gender. Students also specialize in services such as social work, career counseling, feminist therapy, positions at battered women’s shelters and rape crisis centers, family planning organizations and women’s health care. Finally there are a growing number of academic placements available in secondary education, college and universities.

Careers that Normally Require a Graduate or Professional Degree
International law, Psychologist, Social Worker, Public Health, college/university teaching and international health and relief organizations.

Graduate and Professional Schools

Graduate School Programs in Women’s Studies
A list of graduate programs in women's studies and feminist studies provided by Smith College.

Searchable Guide to Women’s Studies in the U.S.
The guide includes information about women's studies programs on community colleges, colleges and universities in the United States.

This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

Feminist Majority Foundation
Job link featuring open positions with Feminist organizations throughout the US.

Women for Hire
Women For Hire offers signature career expo's, inspiring speeches and seminars, a popular career-focused magazine, customized marketing programs, and an online job board that help leading employers connect with top-notch professional women in all fields.

National Women’s Studies Association
Provides link for employment opportunities for Women’s Studies.

Jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities for people who want to change the world.

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers by Majors and Diversity.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Professional Associations

National Women’s Studies Association
Supports and promotes feminist/womanist teaching, learning, and research and serves as a locus of information about the interdisciplinary world of women's studies.

Working alliance of centers and individuals actively involved in feminist research, policy analysis, advocacy, and innovative programs for women and girls.

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation
The organization empowers working women to achieve their full potential and partners with employers to build successful workplaces.

National Organization for Women

National Women's History Project


UCSB Resources