Gender studies is a field of interdisciplinary study which directly analyses being a gender and the concept of gender. Gender in this instance is not about being a man or a woman but rather the experience of being masculine or feminine. It examines the social and cultural construction of both masculinity and femininity and does not refer to the biological difference associated with each. Much of the study of gender is based on the assumption that femininity can only be understood in terms of how it relates to masculinity and masculinity in terms of femininity; this is then applied across a wide range of different contexts and subject areas. Due to its breadth of influence and the number of areas in which we see gender at play, the study of gender is often seen as essential when attempting to understand contemporary society.
A highly contentious subject matter, the study of gender will open you up to arguments broaching the bounds of areas as broad as film theory, anthropology and psychoanalysis. You will find yourself examining issues such as men's rights, women's history, patriarchy, feminist theory, and possibly challenging your own as well as other people's view of how gender impacts on society.
The extensive range of Gender studies allows for a range of study methods often featuring high-profile national and international speakers, access to a broad range of conferences, and sometimes including the potential for a year studying abroad. This is also most commonly supported by a comprehensive seminar, lecture and study group programme, with the opportunity for detailed examination of key areas in a final dissertation.
Gender studies is most commonly combined with subjects such as Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Philosophy, English, History and Drama/Arts subjects. You should consider how each element will support the other and where your personal interests lie when choosing a subject to study alongside gender studies, as this could significantly effect both your enjoyment of your degree and your career pathway on leaving university.
Example Areas of Study
You will need to check with your preferred institution directly to find out the exact subjects you will be studying - these will vary hugely depending on what you study Gender in combination with. Common subjects covered by Gender studies itself include:
- Are we born, or do we become, women or men?
- Is gender the same as sex?
- Are only women 'feminine' and men 'masculine'?
- How does our 'femininity' or 'masculinity' affect what we do in life?
- Gender and society
- Gender and culture
- Theorising gender
- Poverty, gender and development
- Gender, power and politics in the Americas
- Bodies and selves
- Women and politics
- Postmodernism and gender studies
- Gender and culture in Early Modern England
Some Career Possibilities
Your career pathway stemming from your study of Gender will differ largely depending on what you study it in combination with. However, common across all study of gender is the wide variety of transferable skills. Graduates of gender studies have gone on to careers as varied as social work, marketing, development work, retail management and teaching. Central to your employability is the key understanding you gain of how gender functions within societal boundaries - whether that allows you to create a pivotal piece of advertising, offer counselling advice, or instruct the development of a new product is entirely down to where your own interests lie. There is also a large amount of opportunity for further study with Master's programmes and research degrees offered both full and part time.
What do I need to get on a Course?
Entry requirements vary from course to course so you will need to check with your preferred institution to get up-to-date information on the requirements they have for entry. To give you a general idea of what is expected please see below:
- UCAS Tariff: 160-280 points
- A-Levels: CC-ABB
- European Baccalaureate: 75-77%
- International Baccalaureate: 32-34 points
- Mature Entry: Any person over the age of 23 with a kite-marked Access course
- Achievements in English are desirable
For your application or interview, the following may be useful:
- For national statistics and useful information the following website may be useful: Focus On Gender. For more general information and related bodies The british Sociological Association, the Association for Psychological Science or The Royal Anthropological Institute may be a good place to start.
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
*NB: Your school or college will need a subscription to Course Discover in order for you to gain access, for further information go to:www.coursediscover.co.uk