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Welcome to Gender Studies

Welcome to the website of the University of Northern Colorado Gender Studies program. Our interdisciplinary program has been in existence since 1974, first as the Women’s Studies program, and then, since 2014 as the Gender Studies program. The program enables students who minor in Gender Studies to understand the role of gender in our contemporary society. As a minor in this program, you will investigate how issues of race/ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, age, nationality and ability impact individuals’ lives in terms of politics, economics, legal issues, relationships, spirituality and body image.

The Gender Studies program is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. We are happy to speak with you about any questions you may have about the program or issues related to gender.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the UNC Gender Studies program is to enable participants, as students and lifelong learners, to investigate gender issues through interdisciplinary approaches. We examine various ways in which race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, age and ability affect how cultures create structures of gender, power and inequality. The program equips participants to understand complexities of identity in the ever-changing context of their personal, political and social lives. 

About Our Faculty

Our dynamic, dedicated faculty members assist students through instruction and advising. Our interdisciplinary core faculty have specialties in History (Dr. Chris Talbot), Sociology (Dr. Harmony Newman), and Anthropology (Dr. Ather Zia), as well as training in Gender Studies. These faculty members, in addition to their own research, teaching, volunteer work and memberships in national and international organizations, serve as advisors for directed studies, internships and theses.


“Minoring in Women’s Studies has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my time at college. What I love about the program is that there’s so much more than just “women’s problems”. I feel like there’s so much I’ve learned about that I would never have been able to understand until I started taking these classes. The program creates students that are incredibly well-rounded, with the ability to better understand information about the world around them.”

- Molly, Psychology

“I love my Women's Studies Minor because I have learned a lot about my male privilege and how I need to use this to counter act patriarchal forces. The program has also thought me a lot about my queerness and how that interacts with my ethnic background and masculinity in a society that perpetuates heteronormativity.”

- Edi, Philosophy


Gender Studies may be best understood as an evolution from the Women's Studies programs founded in the context of the women’s movement during the 1960's and after. The University of Northern Colorado Women's Studies department was the first program of its kind in the state of Colorado, established in 1974.  After many years of instruction under this title, the faculty visited the issue in 2013 to consider changing the name of the program so that it would reflect a shift already taking place in the content and focus of our courses. In 2014, the name of the University of Northern Colorado's program was changed to Gender Studies to recognize formally its more comprehensive attention to women, men, and various aspects of gender.

With approval and support from the University and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Gender Studies program transitioned the name of the Women’s Studies program to Gender Studies. The name change required a new department code: GNDR. All course numbers were changed from WS to GNDR. 

Gender Studies is a distinct field of research that works with the tools of many disciplines including the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional fields. Gender Studies also has its own scholarly community, theory and literature, including journals, conferences and other hallmarks of the academic profession.

Gender Studies examines ideas of femininity and masculinity across cultures and historical periods and how these concepts are represented within cultures (e.g., literature, popular culture, the arts, science, and medicine). It addresses a vast variety of issues such as:

  • femininity and masculinity
  • gender and the body
  • gender and culture
  • gender and knowledge
  • current and historical inquiries into the relationships between and among the sexes
  • gender and aesthetics
  • gender as an organizing factor on social, political, and familial institutions and policy
  • gender role development and institutionalization
  • feminist theory
  • sexual orientation
  • sexual identity politics and history
  • queer theory
  • lesbian cultural criticism
  • other interdisciplinary inquiries related to sex, gender, sexuality, reproduction, and feminist theory