Founded in 1979, the Loyola Women’s Studies program was the first at a Jesuit institution. Since that time, we have added a minor, a major, and three graduate programs – an MA program and two dual degree programs, one with Social Work and the other with Theology. We also offer a graduate certificate, graduate concentration, and online certificate in gender studies and migration.
Building on the foundation established in the 1980s and 1990s, we have created a sequence of courses at the undergraduate level – including Introduction to WSGS, Contemporary Issues in WSGS, History of Feminist Thought, Feminist Methodologies, and others – that provide our students with the tools to see themselves, their communities, and the world through the lens of gender. In recent years we have added new offerings in Queer Theory, Masculinity Studies, Transgender Studies, and other fields that address the interests of our students and current scholarship in the field.
In addition to our WSGS courses, affiliate faculty in the departments of Communication, Criminal Justice, English, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Theology offer courses that are cross-listed with WSGS. We also regularly sponsor and co-sponsor guest lectures, public fora, panel discussions, performances, exhibits, and other programs on campus and in the diverse communities of Rogers Park and greater Chicago.
Our WSGS program places a strong emphasis on experiential learning and service. Many students complete an internship or creative practicum, and majors take a Capstone course in which they partner with a local community organization to work on a project. Recent students completed capstone projects with Apna Ghar, Deborah’s Place, and the Chicago Area Women’s History Council. Our students are also active in campus organizations, such as The Women’s Project, Feminist Forum, LUCES mentorship program, CHANGE, and other student groups that promote social justice on campus and in our communities.
Today WSGS is a thriving community of over 100 majors and minors and between 25 and 30 graduate students. When they graduate, our students are qualified for a wide variety of fields, including law, education, social services, medicine, and public health. Recent graduates can be found serving as legal advocates for the homeless, teaching high school, providing direct services to women and youth, attending medical school, and carrying out research with urban and rural populations.