Major/Minor Feature: Gender Studies Minor

Libby Bullinger, Copy editor

With the diversity and flexibility required in today’s job force, many employers are looking to hire individuals with a wide variety of skills and areas of expertise. For this reason, many college students decide to add a minor into their studies in addition to their main major focus. Mercyhurst offers a wide variety of minors with over 60 from varying departments on campus that help students supplement their major courses. One of those minors is the Gender Studies program.

Gender studies is a minor housed under three separate departments. Unlike many majors on campus that are less time intensive versions of major degrees, the gender studies minor is a unique combination of classes overseen by the Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology departments. According to the course catalog, the gender studies minor “provides students with the opportunity to learn about the impacts of and variation in gender through a multidisciplinary encounter.” Some of the content covered includes gender roles both throughout history and today, as well as an appreciation of gender differences and the impacts of gender. Information presented in this course of study is impacted by the Mission of the Sisters of Mercy, but the courses explore genders outside of just females. Classes in the gender studies minor present information in a multidisciplinary and intersectional way. There is also emphasis on the social justice aspect of gender, another critical concerns of Mercyhurst’s founding Sisters.

Since this minor does not fall under one department alone, many may wonder what kinds of students are enrolled in this program. Gender studies can be combined with many different majors across the board. Information from this minor can help graduates in jobs in the corporate, government or private sectors of employment and disciplines ranging from the sciences and technologies to the humanities. Given the complexity of gender and how it interacts with nearly every aspect of human life, students cannot go wrong obtaining this minor as the information will surely provide useful in a variety of circumstances. Students obtaining a gender studies minor are only required to take two required courses: Introduction to Gender Studies and Psychology of Gender. The remain-ing five courses are chosen from a variety of electives in departments such as Anthropology, History, Political Science, Catholic Studies, Religious Studies, Psychology, Sociology and even Criminal Justice. This flexibility allows students to tailor the minor to their career goals and incorporate their interests into learning.

Another huge advantage to this minor is being exposed to faculty from across campus. Interacting with professors in various disciplines provides opportunities for students to find new mentors and leaders and learn about the research being conducted in various fields. Students enjoy small class sizes and close relationships with faculty, leading to individualized attention.Gender studies is becoming increasingly popular among college campuses. This course of study is easily paired with a variety of majors and job aspirations and is constantly evolving with the times. Here at Mercyhurst, those in the gender studies minor are able to utilize research skills to conduct individual projects and attend national conferences surrounding the concept of gender. This minor provides a variety of benefits and is a fantastic opportunity for students of all disciplines on campus.