Why WGSS

Please see testimonials from our alums to learn more about the value of a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Columbia University.

For a comprehensive guide to Women’s Studies Resource Sites, please visit the University of Maryland’s listing here.

Lauren Nevitt, ’13:

Nearly every single article I read during my daily news intake invokes many of the debates and issues that were explored in Professor Ciolkowski’s Intro to Women’s & Gender Studies.  In moments like these I realize how valuable and integral this class has been to the way I see and absorb the world around me on a daily basis. Even in articles that do not directly address gender, I find my head spinning with issues of intersectionality and other theories/debates from class. I want to express my infinite gratitude for this class—perhaps the most valuable of my classes in my time at Columbia.

Alia Persico-Shammas, ’16:

I was contacted yesterday by my High School English teacher, who was asking alums for advice for graduating seniors to put in the school newspaper. I wrote to her: “If you want to take a class in college that will change your life forever, take a Women’s Studies class.” I really feel like Professor Ciolkowski’s class (Intro to Women’s & Gender Studies) has changed the way I think about everything I see, read, and learn, and I often times find myself thinking that everyone should be required to take it.

Emma Kaufman, ’08:

IRWGS has offered me a coherent, open, supportive, and challenging space for critical work at a large, urban university. The professors are hands-down the toughest and best I’ve ever had. They have redefined my intellectual experience at Columbia, motivated my hopes and goals for the future, and encouraged me to explore how critical social engagement can, does, and will change the world. Beyond the professors, the interdisciplinary structure of the department has pushed me to see the intersectionality not only of race, class, gender, and sexuality, but also of often isolated disciplines. IRWGS is easily the best thing about my academic experience at Columbia.

Monica Ager, ’07:

I was able to have extensive personal contact with my professors, including my thesis advisor and the undergraduate coordinator Elizabeth Povinelli — a benefit that is unheard of in other departments.

Andrew Hao, ’05:

I really believe there exists a great degree of personal and scholarly commitment from IRWGS professors to their students, teaching, and material. In terms of the skills of reading, writing, research, and classroom debate, I could not have been better trained than at IRWGS. Many of my peers in graduate school, and certainly at Columbia, never had the chance to take such an extensive regimen of seminars nor to work so closely with professors, until their M.A. studies.
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