UMass Boston

Student Resources

Applied learning opportunities

Work-Study Positions

If you are a minor or major with a work-study award, check to see whether there is an opening in our department office. You may have the opportunity to put together our department newsletter or help out with the day-to-day running of the department, and organize events to recruit and retain majors and minors in women's, gender, and sexuality studies.

Internships

Internship Course

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies majors generally satisfy the Internship/Field Work requirement through taking the six-credit internship course, WGS 490/491, in the junior or senior year. For this course, students work on a volunteer basis for ten to fifteen hours per week during the semester in a supervised field placement (Total of 150 hours) related to their areas of interest in women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Simultaneously, students meet in a weekly seminar to discuss the progress of the intern work, evaluate field learning, and to examine topics such as the ideology and structure of the helping professions, human services and social change, dynamics issues in feminist nonprofit organizations, and applications of feminist theory of social change in real-world organizational settings.

Recent Internship Placements

Minor programs

Human Rights Minor

The Human Rights Minor at UMass Boston is an interdisciplinary program of study open to students from all disciplines. Housed in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the minor emerged from the student-faculty-community collaboration of the Human Rights Working Group, which seeks to foster and sustain a human rights community on campus and beyond.

Program requirements and courses

Affiliated faculty

Sexuality Studies Minor

Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the dynamics of sexual identities, gender identities, gender roles, and embodiment, and the influence of these intersecting social forces on our daily lives, cultural institutions, political discourses, and media and artistic representations. This field emphasizes (a) the historical valences of sex/gender/sexuality; (b) the intersectionality of sex/gender/sexuality with other identity markers and vectors of power such as race and ethnicity, ability/disability, migration and nationality, empire/colonialization and indigeneity; and (c) models that conceive sex/gender/sexuality as socially constructed, formed in and through historical configurations of power/knowledge.

Affiliated faculty

LGBTQ+ student resources

Campus

Off Campus

  • BAGLY
    The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth is a youth-led, adult-supported social support organization, committed to social justice and creating, sustaining, and advocating for programs, policies, and services for the LGBTQ+ youth community.
  • Boston GLASS
    GLASS Provides a continuum of services to LGBTQ+ youth of color and their allies in the Greater Boston and Greater Framingham areas.
  • Fenway Health
    Fenway Health advocates for and delivers innovative, equitable, accessible health care, supportive services, and transformative research and education. They center LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC individuals, and other underserved communities to enable our local, national, and global neighbors to flourish.
  • Trans Emergency Fund
    The Transgender Emergency Fund assists with homelessness prevention, shelter assistance, nutrition assistance, prescription co-pay assistance, transportation and escort to medical appointments, etc.
  • Trans Resistance MA
    Advocating for the safety, joy, and liberation of TQBIPOC. They organize an annual March & Festival that returns to the authentic origins of pride.
  • Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition
    MTPC works to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive community members in Massachusetts.
  • The History Project: Documenting LGBTQ Boston
    The History Project is focused exclusively on documenting and preserving the history of New England's LGBTQ communities and sharing that history with LGBTQ individuals, organizations, allies, and the public.
  • The Theater Offensive
    To present liberating art by, for, and about queer and trans people of color that transcends artistic boundaries, celebrates cultural abundance, and dismantles oppression.
  • Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
    The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth advises others in state government on effective policies, programs, and resources for LGBTQ youth.
  • Black & Pink Massachusetts
    Black and Pink Massachusetts is an independent organization and open family working for abolition of the criminal punishment system, which disproportionately impacts lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people, as well as those living with HIV.

Careers and graduate school

There is no limit to what you can do with a degree in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies! Like other liberal arts disciplines, WGS provides a robust background for further education and career development. Liberal Arts graduates have a combination of broad knowledge, specialized knowledge, and critical thinking skills, which are valuable for problem-solving in various employment settings. Employers and admissions officers for professional schools often highly regard liberal arts students with good grades and recommendations, regardless of their specific field.

Our graduates work with non-profit organizations, government agencies, or the corporate sector to promote justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. They develop programs and policies that address real world problems around gender, sexuality, race, and class inequalities. Or, they bring feminist and queer frameworks to careers in health, medicine, education, media, technology, government, arts, research, and more. These are just a few of the possibilities.

WGS Job Placements

Our job placements include: 

  • Programs Manager, The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
  • Director, Partners in Sex Education
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of WGS, Hunter College (SUNY)Senior Research Assistant in the Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham & Women’s Hospital 
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/ Student Life, Wentworth Institute of Technology 
  • Administrative Intern, Harvard Program on Negotiation
  • Mediator, Dorchester Small Claims Court
  • Public Affairs Associate, Congressman Joe Kennedy II
    Human Resources and Organizational Development Consultant, Independent 
  • Board of Directors of Camp Lilac, a non-profit summer camp for transgender and gender diverse youth
  • Human Resources, Curaleaf
  • Conscious Collaborative, Founder
  • Law Clerk, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
  • Assistant Corporation Counsel, City of Boston Law Department.
  • Senior Manager of Finance and Operations J-PAL at MIT
  • Boston ABCD (a nonprofit that serves low-income residents of the city), Sex Educator working with youth of color   
  • Student Success and First Generation Support Coordinator, Bentley University

Graduate school after a WGS degree

Our students have completed graduate programs including: 

  • PhD in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, SUNY Stonybrook
  • Master's of Public Health, Boston University
  • Master's in Conflict Resolution, UMass Boston
  • Master's in Organizational Psychology, William James College
  • Master's in Art Therapy, Lesley University
  • Master's of Public Health, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
  • JD, Northeastern University School of Law
  • Master's of Philosophy, Cambridge University 

Related Graduate Programs at UMass Boston

  • The American Studies MA degree integrates the study of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity into a comprehensive cultural studies approach to American experience.
  • The Applied Sociology MA degree pertains to careers in criminal justice agencies, community and human service organizations, health care institutions, alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs, and applied research firms.
  • The English MA degree includes several seminars on women writers and feminist critical approaches to literature.
  • The Program for Women in Politics and Public Policy, based in the McCormack Graduate School of Public Policy and Global Studies, offers an 18 credit graduate certificate designed to educate women to participate more fully in public policy, politics, and government.
  • The Counselor Training MEd or CAGS (Certificate of Advance Graduate Study) may be of interest to some Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department students who plan a career in counseling.
  • The MA in Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance based in the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies is designed to provide students with the ability to understand and intervene effectively in conflict situations.
  • The MEd in Instructional Design is a multi-disciplinary program for career professionals engaged in the education, training, and development of adult learners in the workplace. A certificate program in Educational Technology is also available.
  • The PhD in Public Policy prepares students for professional careers as public policy analysts and practitioners.
  • The PhD in Clinical Psychology prepares students to work in a variety of settings as clinicians and clinical researchers with mental health problems in children, adolescents, or adults.
  • The PhD in Gerontology, based in the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, is designed to prepare students for leadership roles as teachers, researchers, planners, and policy makers in this field of growing importance for both the private and the public sectors.
  • The PhD in Global Governance and Human Security, based in the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, is designed is to prepare scholars and analysts to provide intellectual leadership as academics, researchers, or practitioners in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental agencies, media, national governments, think tanks, and private companies.
  • The PhD in Sociology is designed to prepare students for outstanding academic careers as well as for leadership roles as applied sociologists in public and private agencies and research organizations.

Awards and Honors

Awards

WGS Book Award 

Each year the department designates one of its most academically talented graduating seniors as the recipient of the Book Award in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The honors designation “Distinction in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” accompanies the Book Award, and the recipient’s name is listed in the Honors Convocation booklet.

Human Rights Book Award

Each year the department designates one of its most academically talented graduating seniors in the Human Rights Minor as the recipient of the Book Award in Human Rights. The honors designation “Distinction in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” accompanies the Book Award, and the recipient’s name is listed in the Honors Convocation booklet.

Women’s Studies Founders Award

The Women’s Studies Founders Award for Academic Excellence and Social Activism was initiated by Mary Anne Ferguson, Professor Emerita of English and Women’s Studies, in 1990-91. Since that time, it has been supported both by her continuing contributions, and by gifts from many other faculty, alumnae, and friends of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department.

One, or sometimes two, monetary prizes are made each year at the CLA Honors Convocation to winners of the Founders’ Award. Graduating Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies majors are invited to apply for the award each year by submitting a personal statement, along with two letters of reference: one from a professor familiar with the applicant’s academic work, and one from someone with knowledge of the student’s record of social activism. A faculty committee reviews the applications and chooses the away recipients.

Social activism is defined broadly in determining eligibility for the award. Frequently, the recipients of the award have performed services for the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department and other organizations on campus, as well as community-based work through internships, volunteering, and occasionally paid employment. Political and cultural activism, educational outreach, and social service work on behalf of women and girls are all included in the histories of our Founders’ Award recipients. Award recipients have also been concerned with poverty, homophobia, and other social issues.

Jean Humez Fund

The Jean Humez Fund A small pool of money ($500.00) will be made available every year to support student research and development from a development fund set up by Professor Emerita Jean Humez. Individual grants for students will be capped at $250.00, however, exceptions may be made in exigent circumstances.

Application Process

The department will make an announcement about the availability of funding at the start of the spring semester, and provide a deadline for applications; a committee of 2 department members appointed by the department chair will evaluate applications and decide how to distribute the available funds

Applicants should prepare a brief proposal (one page) for a grant of up to $250.00 specifying how they would use the funds.  If relevant, the proposal should include information about other sources of funding applied for, or obtained, for the same project or objective; and a short report on progress made on the project over the last year

Student applicants also must explain how the activity they are seeking funding for will advance their academic work in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and/or Human Rights. In addition, they must arrange for a WGS faculty member to write a brief email or letter in support of their application.

Honors

The Honors Program designed as an opportunity for highly academically motivated student, many of whom are bound for graduate school, to complete two semesters of intensive research and writing on a research topic of the students’ choice related to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The student is supervised and supported by a faculty committee comprised of the Honors Project advisors (typically a member of the WGS faculty and two additional faculty members) with expertise in the selected topic area.

Students who successfully complete both semesters of work (typically this means writing an extensive research proposal backed by a literature review in the Fall and the completion of all research and the writing of the full paper in the Spring), and receive a grade of A or A- on the final paper will be awarded department Honors and publicly recognized at the Honors Convocation. In the last weeks of the Spring, Honors candidates participate in a campus-wide advertised WGS Honors Conversation during which the student presents their research, and fields questions and comments.

To be eligible for Honors work, a student must

  1. be a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major,
  2. have completed no less than 21 credits (7 courses) of WGS coursework,
  3. have a WGS GPA of 3.3 or higher,
  4. have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Interested students should first speak with their departmental advisor to explore possible topics, advisor, and committee members.