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Forms & Undergraduate Handbook

Undergraduate Student Handbook

Please click the following link to download a table of contents and a .pdf of the WGSS handbook: WGSS Student Undergraduate Handbook

The Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor in a challenging and collegial intellectual environment. The program emphasizes the interdisciplinary study of a range of themes in relation to women's, gender, and sexuality studies. WGSS develops students' skills in critical thinking and analysis, writing and research, imagination and creative expression.

The program offers four core courses and a diverse range of cross-listed courses in the areas of anthropology, art history, biology, literature, English, film studies, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, among others. Many courses, including the Introduction to WGSS (WGS 200), are taught in small class settings to encourage the active exchange of ideas between teachers and students. With 10 core faculty members and over 60 associated faculty, WGSS is a core part of the academic curriculum of the college of arts and sciences at Emory.

The Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) provides useful information for helping students.



Students who submit requests to WGSS must simultaneously apply to the Office of Undergraduate Research Programs (URP) for travel funds. Applications will be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) with input from the WGSS undergraduate committee as necessary. Students will be notified via email of the department's decision within approximately 2 weeks of application submission.


WGSS offers a limited amount of travel funding each year to support WGSS students who wish to present their research at academic conferences. Students may receive monies to support their travel to one conference each academic year. To apply for conference travel support, students should submit an application at least 2 months before the expected date of travel.

1) Eligibility
A student must be a WGSS major/minor and must have had their papers accepted for a formal presentation. The student’s name and affiliation must be listed on the conference program.

2) Application Process
The following material must be submitted as part of the application:

  • A letter that includes the following:
  • A description of the conference’s academic relevance.
  • Amount of funding requested.
  • Other funding sources to which students will apply.
  • A one-page abstract of the paper to be presented. It should detail the argument and the methods of inquiry.
  • An official description of the conference (e.g., from a conference website)
  • A copy of the student's official acceptance letter or email from the conference organizers.
  • An estimated line item budget of total expenses (registration fee, airfare, ground transportation, hotel, meals, etc.). 
  • A student should consult with the WGSS academic departmental administrator (ADA) about these expenses prior to submission.
  • A brief letter of support from a WGSS core or associated faculty, preferably from someone familiar with the research in question. This letter should be submitted directly to the DUS by the recommender.

3) Travel and Reimbursement Procedures
Conference expenses are handled by reimbursement, so all receipts should be retained. Within 10 days of returning from the conference, students must submit:

  • Their receipts and a copy of the conference program page(s) showing their names and participation in the ADA.
  • A one-paragraph email to the DUS describing and evaluating their conference experience.
  • Students will be responsible for communicating with the WGSS ADA before incurring any conference expenses.


This award recognizes outstanding performances in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies academics and leadership.


These awards are limited to senior WGSS majors and minors. Up to two awards may be given each year. Nominations will be solicited from WGSS faculty and graduate instructors. Faculty will consider the following information regarding scholarly achievements:

  • Student’s performance in WGSS courses.
  • GPA in WGSS.
  • Participation in the Honors Program.
  • Independent research with WGSS faculty.
  • Presentations at conferences
  • Student's WGSS leadership activities.
  • Active participation in WGSS events.
  • WGSS community-building activities, and other feminist activism/leadership.


The selection process takes place annually in early April. WGSS faculty will evaluate the nominations and select the recipients. The awards are announced publicly at the department's end of the year party. Winners receive certificate plaques. The winner's name will also appear in the commencement program.


A certificate of appreciation may be awarded to one or several particularly active and engaged undergraduates.

Graduating seniors must obtain the department's certification stating they have completed all requirements for their major or minor. Please contact the undergraduate coordinator for signatures. Visit the OUE website for more information regarding degree applications.

Students wishing to take a directed readings course must find a faculty member who agrees to supervise the reading. The student must submit a directed readings course form signed by said core or associated faculty member prior to enrolling. Forms can be found on the WGSS website. For questions, contact the undergraduate coordinator.

Relevant "tags" for WGSS courses will include HSC (History, Society, Cultures), HAP (Humanities, Arts, Performance), and SNT (Science, Nature, Technology). The writing requirements remain unchanged.

  • HAP: these courses focus on individuals and/or groups in society to demonstrate how the social sciences use theory and methods to expand our understanding of social phenomena. These courses are designed to engage the student in reflection on aesthetic, ethical, and social values through the analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of written texts and artistic forms.
  • HSC: these courses exemplify the use of historical methods, offer perspectives on the history of the United States, and relate the U.S. to the rest of the world; or these courses cover a significant western history and culture other than the U.S., or these courses focus on nonwestern cultures or comparative and international studies.
  • SNT: these courses demonstrate fundamental principles and techniques of scientific inquiry as a means of understanding the natural world and human life. This category includes both courses focusing on scientific findings and concepts, and courses focusing on scientific methodology.
  • Grey areas: to be determined by the DUS. The GER requirements are tailored for the first two years of a student’s Emory college career.

Emory College of Arts and Sciences is a community of students and scholars that is steadfast in its commitment to academic integrity. All members of this community are bound by a shared duty to uphold the highest level of academic honesty.

While the college is committed to establishing and maintaining an honor code that protects us from all forms of academic misconduct, this community of integrity cannot thrive unless we embody, in all academic pursuits, the core principles of honesty and fairness. Emory’s mission—to create and apply knowledge in the service of humanity—can only be fulfilled when we, as its members, value the great responsibility with which we have been entrusted and conduct our lives according to the dictates of the highest integrity.

All students who apply to and are accepted by Emory College, as a condition of acceptance, agree to abide by the provisions of the honor code so long as they remain students at Emory College. By their continued attendance at Emory College, students reaffirm their pledge to adhere to the provisions of the honor code.

WGSS offers eligible juniors the opportunity to participate in the Honors Program. If approved, students will take a graduate seminar in WGSS or a related field, write an Honors thesis, and defend that thesis in an oral examination. Successful Honors candidates are awarded their degree with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors.


Interested students with a 3.5 cumulative GPA should submit applications by March 15th of their junior year. See below for a list of important Honors Program deadlines. Applicants with a 3.5 cumulative GPA can apply for admission to the WGSS Honors Program. Students are not required to have a fully developed proposal or a thesis advisor but must submit a writing sample (preferably a research paper) and a one-paragraph description of their proposed topic. Students without a 3.5 GPA may still apply to the WGSS Honors Program but must obtain a faculty sponsor who has agreed to serve as their Honors advisor. Students should list WGSS faculty with whom they have had a class.

See the above section for the Honors Program application.


Once the student has submitted an application, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) will solicit evaluations from at least two WGSS Faculty (core and associated) or Graduate Instructors or TA’s with whom the student has taken a class. These brief evaluations will assess whether the student is ready for independent research and participation in graduate level coursework. In the unlikely event that the student has taken no courses with core or associated WGSS faculty or graduate students, then s/he must obtain a faculty sponsor in order to apply to and be considered for the WGSS Honors Program. The DUS will assess the quality of the writing sample, with assistance from other faculty members as needed, before deciding whether to accept a student into the WGSS Honors Program.


If faculty evaluations are positive and the student’s writing sample indicates adequate preparation for Honors level work, the DUS will inform the applicant in writing of her/his acceptance into the WGSS Honors Program. Accepted students without the required 3.5 GPA will be admitted provisionally and must successfully petition the college honors committee for a waiver of this requirement.


Accepted students will be required to identify their thesis advisor (core or associated WGSS faculty) by May 1 and submit a two-page project proposal detailing their argument or question and planned methods of inquiry. If the student does not find an advisor by this deadline, they will not be eligible to participate in the Honors Program.

Students who do not meet the first deadline will be dropped from the program. In the case of extenuating circumstances, students may petition the DUS for an extension.



Students must register for WGS 495 (Honors Research) both semesters of their senior year (WGS 495A in the fall semester and WGS 495B in the spring semester).


As part of the requirements to complete the Honors Program, the student must register for a WGS graduate course during the Honors year with the permission of the instructor.



The core committee must consist of at least three members of the Emory University faculty, with at least one member from outside the department from which one is doing the Honors thesis and at least one from inside the department.

  • Committees must consist of at least three core members. Core committee members must be regular Emory University faculty members from any school or unit. One member must be from the student’s honors major and at least one member must be from Emory College. You may have additional committee members, including faculty from other universities, beyond the required three core members. Only core members vote on level of honors. Your advisor counts as one of the three core members.
  • Regular faculty titles typically include professor, associate professor, assistant professor, professor of pedagogy, senior lecturer, lecturer, but might also include titles such as Instructor or Research Associate.
  • Adjunct, visiting, emeritus, and post-doctoral fellows must petition to the Honors Committee to be permitted to serve on committees
  • Members of the staff are not eligible to serve on committees.

This committee will guide the student’s independent research on a topic of the student’s choosing. The department recommends that the full committee meet together once in the fall, while the student is still collecting data and/or fine-tuning their methodology. The committee will judge the quality of the completed Honors thesis and the student’s defense of the thesis in an oral examination in the spring semester of the student’s senior year: the student should meet with their advisor prior to the end of the academic year to discuss a plan for reading and research over the summer. This reading/research is preliminary, and is to be undertaken independently by the student. The advisor does not provide supervision/advice over the summer period unless both advisor and student are enrolled in URP (see Undergraduate Research Programs).


Students whose research projects involve human subjects must obtain IRB approval for their project before beginning their research. The IRB application must be submitted by the student’s faculty advisor by October 15th of the student’s senior year and must be submitted two months prior to the start date for the students’ research to ensure adequate time for IRB processing.


    1) Content and Scope
The thesis should display interdisciplinary scholarship on gender, sexualities, and/or women, and should engage some of the themes, texts, principles, approaches, and methods found in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
     2) Defense
Students must submit their completed thesis to their thesis committee and must successfully defend their thesis in an oral examination before their thesis committee. Successful honors candidates are awarded the degree with one of the following marks: Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors.

  • "Honors" (cum laude) is taken to mean satisfactory completion of the program together with an overall average of 3.5.
  • "High Honors” (magna cum laude) is taken to mean completion of the program with outstanding performance together with an overall average of 3.5. The thesis shall be of a quality sufficient for oral presentation to scholars in the candidate's field or of a comparable standard appropriate to the discipline.
  • "Highest Honors” (summa cum laude) is taken to mean completion of the program with exceptional performance together with an overall average of 3.5. The thesis shall be of a quality sufficient for submission for publication or of a comparable standard appropriate to the discipline.
    o Fourrageres signifying Honors are presented to qualifying graduating seniors to be worn at Commencement.

    3) Satisfactory Progress
A student must make satisfactory progress as judged by their thesis advisor. A student must also maintain a 3.5 overall GPA to remain in the Honors program.
    4) Thesis Advising and Meeting Schedule
The advisor and student should meet in the first couple of weeks of each semester to discuss the following:

  • The student's coursework requirements
  • A schedule of advising meetings for that semester
  • A schedule of deadlines for thesis research and writing in that semester.

It is also recommended that the student meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies once at the beginning of the fall semester and once at the beginning of the spring semester. The department recommends that the advisor and student meet at least once a month. Meeting every two weeks, or even weekly may be advisable at certain periods when research/writing requires intensive supervision.


These dates change slightly from year to year depending on the day of the week. Please consult the Honors Program website for final deadlines.

WGSS (departmental) deadlines and events:

  • March 15 (Junior Year): applications to WGSS Honors Program due
  • May 1 (Junior Year): thesis advisor and project proposal form due to WGSS DUS.

Tentative OUE Honors Program deadlines:

  • November (Senior year): Honors thesis committee form due
  • Beginning of April (Senior year): completed thesis due to committee
  • Beginning of April (Senior year): oral defense schedule form due
  • Mid - April (Senior year): deadline for oral defense of the thesis

OUE deadlines change annually. Please check with the OUE for current deadlines:

PDF versions of the major and minor checklists are posted on the above section.  For questions, please contact the Undergraduate Coordinator.

The Senior Seminar is for seniors who are WGSS majors or minors only. The WGSS senior seminar satisfies the post-freshman writing General Education Requirement (GER).

Each year, three or four WGSS seniors are selected from the Senior Seminar course to present their research work to the department. The presentation takes place at the end of the fall semester. All undergraduates are encouraged to attend.

Students taking courses abroad may seek WGSS credit if the course meets or exceeds the standards for a cross-listed WGS course. The course should be taught by a credentialed instructor with an advanced degree (instructor does not have to be in WGSS). The course must devote at least one-half of its time to a discussion of women and/or gender and/or sexuality and/or race.

Students can request credit for a special topics course to be approved as a WGS 385 elective. Credit will be approved at the DUS’s discretion. When seeking the DUS’s signature, students should send along a full course description and syllabus.

Students taking courses at another institution in the U.S. may seek WGSS credit if the course meets or exceeds the standards for a cross-listed WGSS course. The course should be taught by a credentialed instructor with an advanced degree (instructor does not have to be in WGSS). The course must devote at least one-half of its time to a discussion of women and/or gender and/or sexuality and/or race.

Students can request credit for a course to be approved as an elective. Credit will be approved at the DUS’s discretion. When seeking the DUS’s signature, students should send along a full course description and syllabus. Please see the OUE guidelines for transient study for more information:

To cancel registration or withdraw from the college at any time other than the close of a semester, a student must secure written permission from a dean in the College’s Office for Undergraduate Education. Otherwise, honorable dismissal cannot be granted.

The Undergraduate Coordinator will send an email to WGSS students inviting one junior and one senior to self-nominate to join the Undergraduate Committee in September of each year. Students should send with their self-nomination a one-page resume and 200 words outlining why they want to join the Committee. The Director of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the Undergraduate Academic Program Coordinator and the faculty members of the Undergraduate Program Committee will choose the two student representatives. Undergraduate Committee meets several times during the semester. Student members serve to represent undergraduate concerns and bring them to the attention of the committee.

The Department of WGSS strongly recommends that undergraduates only enroll in a WGSS graduate seminar if they are accepted into the Honors Program (in WGSS or in another department/program). Decisions about admission into the class reside with the WGSS Director of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the faculty instructor. 

Students who wish to dispute a grade in a course or on a particular assignment should first discuss the issue with the instructor of record. Students may want to submit their request in writing directly to the course instructor. Students should submit re-grade requests within 14 days of receiving the graded assignment or course grade. If a student wishes to appeal the instructor’s decision on a re- grade request, the student can submit an appeal in writing to the WGSS Director of Undergraduate Studies. The re-grade appeal must be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies within 14 days of receiving the instructor’s response. The appeal should outline the reasons for the re-grade request. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will review the re-grade request and issue a ruling within four weeks of receiving the request. In cases where the re-grade request concerns a course that the Director of Undergraduate Studies is directly involved in teaching, the re-grade appeal should be submitted to the WGSS Department Chair.