What can I do with a Women’s Studies Degree?

What kinds of skills will I get from my degree?

Like other liberal arts degrees, a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies will give you the following skills:

  • Strong critical thinking skills
  • Confident oral presentation skills
  • Effective writing skills
  • Strong research skills

These are in-demand skills. According to Rob Sentz, from Emsi, a labor market analytics firm, “there is an enormous part of the economy hungry for graduates with skills in analysis and communication — skills students are honing as they conduct close readings of texts, persuade their classmates in seminars and hone the style and structure of papers.” [source]

In addition, a WGSS degree will give you a unique set of skills. Studies examining Women’s Studies graduates found that graduates gained the following from their degrees:

  • Empowerment and self-confidence
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Community-building skills
  • Ability to understand differences between and intersections among racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, ableism, anti-Semitism and other types of oppression

All of these skills make WGSS majors attractive candidates for future employers and graduate programs.

What jobs can I pursue right after graduation with a WGSS degree?

OccupationMore Information
Teacher (Kindergarten, Elementary School or High School)https://www.bls.gov/OOH/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htmhttps://www.bls.gov/OOH/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
Public Relations Managerhttps://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm
Legislative Aide, Lobbyisthttps://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-legislative-assistant
Advocate for Domestic Violence Survivors or other Community Service Managerhttps://www.bls.gov/OOH/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm
Small Business Ownerhttps://www.indeed.com/career-advice/starting-new-job/how-to-become-small-business-owner
Management Analysthttps://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm
Human Resources Diversity Specialisthttps://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htmhttps://www.wgu.edu/career-guide/business/diversity-equity-inclusion-specialist-career.html#close
Community Health Promoterhttps://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm
Program Managerhttps://in.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-is-a-program-manager
Policy Analysthttps://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-policy-analyst
Union Organizerhttps://careerplan.commons.gc.cuny.edu/blog/labor-movement-jobs

What jobs can I pursue after obtaining a graduate or professional degree?

OccupationDegree RequiredMore Information
Doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, physical therapist, physician’s assistant or other health professionalMD, RN, DDS, PharmD, PT, PA, or otherhttps://prehealth.wfu.edu/
Public Health ProfessionalMaster of Public Health (MPH) or similarhttps://www.cdc.gov/stem/careers/index.html
CounselorMaster’s Degree in Counseling, PsyD, otherhttps://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-become-a-mental-health-counselor
College ProfessorPhDhttps://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm

WGSS majors who have pursued these careers:

  • Analyst: N Valdes graduated from Wake Forest in 2020 with double majors in WGSS and Political Science; they now work as an analyst at Deloitte Consulting
  • Teacher: Madeline Katsarelis graduated from Wake Forest in 2020 with double majors in WGSS and Psychology; she earned her MA in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education; she currently teaches 7th grade English
  • Communications Specialist: Cat Mizzi-Orrell graduated from Wake Forest in 2020 with a major in WGSS; she currently works as a Communications Specialist at Forsyth Futures, a non-profit organization that provides data to improve community wellbeing
  • Lawyer: Leeden Rukstalis graduated from Wake Forest in 2019 with double majors in WGSS and Philosophy; she received her JD from Washington and Lee University School of Law; she is currently working as a law clerk
  • Program Director: Maij Vu Mai graduated from Wake Forest in 2018 with double majors in WGSS and Sociology; they received their M.Div. from Wake Forest University; they currently work as an Assistant Director at the Center for Multicultural Affairs at Duke University
  • Therapist: Kayla Santos graduated from Wake Forest in 2017 with double majors in WGSS and Spanish; she earned her Masters of Clinical Psychology from Capella University; she is currently a practicing therapist
  • Operations Associate: Akua Maat graduated from Wake Forest in 2017 with double majors in WGSS and Classics; she currently works as an operations associate at BlackStar, an organization that uplifts Black, Brown, and Indigenous filmmakers through an annual film festival and other projects
  • Professor/Researcher: Andréa Becker graduated from Wake Forest in 2016 with double majors in WGSS and Sociology; she earned her MA in Sociology from Vanderbilt University and her PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center in Sociology; she is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California San Francisco and her first book is Unchoosable: Hysterectomy, Gender, and Stratified Reproduction (NYU Press 2024)
  • Small Business Owner: Amy Shack Egan (Shackelford) graduated from Wake Forest in 2014 with double majors in WGSS and COM; she is the founder and CEO of Modern Rebel & Co., an alternative event planning business
  • Program Director: Alexandra Hollifield graduated from Wake Forest University in 2013 with double majors in WGSS and Political Science; she earned a Master in Education Degree from Vanderbilt; she currently works as QEP Co-Director and Associate Director of Leadership Education and Development at UNC Asheville

On Campus Resources:

The Office of Personal and Career Development is a wonderful resource. The Department encourages students to start working with the staff early in their undergraduate careers.

The contact for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students is:

Shan Woolard, Assistant Director of Career Education and Coaching

Other Resources:

Recommended Book:

Berger, Michele Tracy, and Cheryl Radeloff. Transforming scholarship: Why women’s and gender studies students are changing themselves and the world. 3rd Edition. Routledge, 2022.

Description: Transforming Scholarship offers an essential guide to one of the most richly rewarding yet often under-appreciated academic majors: Women’s and Gender Studies. This fully updated and revised third edition answers the question of what you can do with a women’s and gender studies degree with resounding authority. Chapters include exercises and valuable point-of-view segments with recent graduates and academics to help students realize their many talents and passions and how these may be linked to future professional opportunities. Students are also encouraged to reflect on the ways in which their efforts in the classroom can be translated into a life guided by feminism, civic engagement, and activism.
Available online through ZSR

Helpful Websites:

Indeed.com Career Guide: “32 Careers for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduates”

Data about Employment and Salaries:

Field of degree (FOD) pages highlight data and information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau for a variety of academic fields. Each FOD page provides a glimpse of workers with the degree and shows occupations, outlook, and more for people in that major. Here is the FOD page for “Culture and Gender Studies”:


Online Articles:

Shayne, Julie. (2020). “Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies: A Degree and Perspective for ‘Essential Workers’ in the 21st Century.”

U.S. News and World Report. (2021). “What a Gender Studies Degree Is, How to Use It”

Ms. Magazine: “Transform The World: What you can do with a degree in women’s studies”

Ms. Magazine: “What I’m Doing With My Women’s Studies Degree”

Scholarly Resources:

Griffin, Gabriele, ed. Doing women’s studies: employment opportunities, personal impacts and social consequences. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008.

Kaplan, C. N. (2004). Carrying it on: Post-graduation impact of feminist praxis on women’s studies majors. University of Virginia PhD Dissertation.

Dever, Maryanne (2004). “Women’s studies and the discourse of vocationalism: Some new perspectives.” Women’s Studies International Forum, 27(5): 475–488.

Dever, M. (2003). How students characterize the vocational gains from women’s studies (or, why we need not be anxious). Hecate, 29(2), 34-49.

(Available through the ZSR Library)

Dever, Maryanne and Day, Liz (2001). Beyond the Campus: Some Initial Findings on Women’s Studies, Careers and Employers. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 2(2), 53-66.

Luebke, Barbara F., Reilly, Mary Ellen. (1995). Women’s Studies Graduates: The First Generation. Teachers College Press.