Gender Studies Programs: Providing Healthy Perspective and a Path to an Empowered Career

Gender studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that critically examines the social, cultural, and historical constructions and experiences of gender. The field includes women’s studies, queer studies, literary and social theory, and more. 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 often interested in examining the relationship between gender and power dynamics in society. 

Gender studies programs tend to be 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
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Sexuality
  • Disability studies
  • Literary theory and criticism
  • Social justice
spelman's woman's studies image

Spelman College

Empowering Black Scholars in Gender Studies

The field of gender studies, like many areas of academia, has historically suffered from a lack of diversity. With this, there is widespread acknowledgement that Black representation in this discipline remains notably low. This underrepresentation signifies a lost opportunity for broader perspectives and insights, among other systemic issues at its core.


In spite of an inordinate lack of representation, the contributions of Black scholars in gender studies has proven invaluable. Of many accomplished academics and professionals in the field, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a Black scholar and civil rights advocate, introduced the concept of intersectionality, highlighting the interplay of race and gender in experiencing discrimination. Crenshaw’s work has revolutionized our understanding of social justice and identity itself, demonstrating the unique value that diverse voices bring to the field.

Other contemporary Black scholars of gender studies continue to advance the field and the public’s understanding of critical issues of justice. Academics like Dr. Brittney Cooper examine the relationship between gender studies and popular culture, intellectual history, Black feminism, and more. It is essential to bring more Black voices into the burgeoning field of gender studies by supporting students who wish to pursue gender studies degrees. 

If you are interested in studying gender studies, fill out a major interest form here to find out how UNCF can support your journey. Consider donating to UNCF to support future Black voices in the field, and give the gift of education to the more than 8,000 students that graduate with advanced degrees from member HBCUs every year.

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, and 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 many dynamics of power can broaden your career options quite a bit and be used as an entry point to various 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.

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees in gender studies? Looking for help with financing this degree?

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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.

Morehouse college GLADD event

Morehouse College

UNCF School to Consider

A number of UNCF-member schools offer programs in gender studies, including:

Scholarships Available

There’s no better way to start on your path to a successful career in gender studies than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for gender studies majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements. 

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study gender studies.

As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive 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!

You can also show your support for students pursuing degrees in gender studies by making a contribution to UNCF member schools. Education is the greatest tool we have in creating a just and equitable society in which economic mobility is available to all. Help us provide this opportunity by donating today!