A Major in Gender Studies Provides Healthy Perspective and a Path to an Empowered Career
Gender studies is a relatively new area of study that involves critically examining the way that the concept of gender operates in our lives and our culture. The field includes women’s studies, queer studies and men’s studies. As a gender studies major, you’ll discuss questions such as how gender informs our identities, the intersection of gender and sexuality, and how gender norms and sociopolitical structures influence one another. Gender studies majors are particularly interested in examining the relationship between gender and power dynamics in society.
Gender studies programs are often interdisciplinary in nature, and examine the intersectionality of gender with other identities, particularly marginalized populations. Gender studies majors may also spend time studying art and pop culture and discussing how gender is represented in those contexts. In pursuing a gender studies major, it’s likely that you’ll also interact with the following areas of study:
- Race, ethnicity and cultural studies
- LGBTQIA+ issues
- Religious studies
- Disability studies
- Literary theory and criticism
- Social justice
Careers in Gender Studies
How do gender studies provide a career path? You’ll likely be surprised to learn that a gender studies degree is highly versatile—one that can be useful toward many careers, including academia, social work, public policy, law, nonprofit organizations, management and education. Understanding how people interact based on gender and the dynamics of that can broaden your career options quite a bit and use it as a layer of learning to inform graduate degrees. Others choose to combine their gender studies major with a minor or second major to broaden or specialize their skill set and career options.
The number of people with gender studies degrees in the workforce is growing. According to data published in 2018 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 264,390 people with culture and gender studies employed at the time. The median wage for a person with a culture and gender studies degree is $54,000 (compared to an overall median wage of $59,000).
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How to Prepare for Success
A gender studies major requires strong critical thinking and research skills. Students can prepare themselves for a gender studies major by ensuring they have highly developed writing and reading abilities. Other areas of study that may help build a foundation for gender studies are humanities and liberal arts disciplines such as English, history, philosophy, psychology and sociology.
UNCF School to Consider
A number of UNCF-member schools offer programs in gender studies, including:
- Bethune-Cookman University
- Claflin University
- Clark Atlanta University
- Fisk University
- Spelman College
Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.
Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities. Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are scholarships available to study gender studies.
Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in gender studies. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!