Women and Gender Studies

We believe education should strengthen your dedication to create a better world. Our Women and Gender Studies program focuses on diverse issues and action. Through academics, influential activities and meaningful internships, you'll become a vocal advocate and a world-shaper who thrives - and helps others thrive, too.

Our graduates work at the Child Abuse Council, Next Gen Climate Iowa, SafePath Survivor Resources (part of Family Resources), and many others.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Inspiring and Supportive Learning Community
  • Service and Social Justice Focused Education
  • Become a Vocal Agent of Change

students in classroom

students in beehive

Students on Campus in Fall

Your education goes far beyond simply recognizing injustice. You'll act to thwart it. With supportive and encouraging faculty, you and your peers will work tirelessly to solve problems affecting people here and now. Empowered through education and involvement, our Women and Gender Studies alumni confidently step into careers and graduate studies.

See Our Women and Gender Studies Fact Sheet (pdf)

Bee the Difference
Join Us!

We make an impact on campus and in the community. In 2018, more than 600 students took part in Bee the Difference Day. This annual volunteer event, coordinated by Student Government Association, sparks students to help 120 campus neighbors get their yards ready for winter. It is work, fun – and so rewarding.

More Information on the Women and Gender Studies Program

What will I learn?

Women and Gender Studies (WGS) majors are generally activists, driven, open-minded, compassionate, feminists, community organizers, and advocates. Through academics, service, advocacy, and close faculty mentoring, you'll discover your abilities to promote justice and human rights. You'll discuss diverse topics that impact the multicultural world in which we live and work, study feminist theory, women's literature, the psychology of gender, health issues, marriage and family, social justice, and theology of Christian marriage.

This major involves several other academic disciplines, so WGS courses satisfy many general education requirements. And, your skills are valued. More than 95% of our alumni work in their field of choice or attend graduate school.

Women and Gender Studies gives you a framework for supporting human rights and social justice advocacy. Similarly, the Bachelor of Social Work at SAU focuses on empowering clients, families, communities, and organizations to be agents of change in the world. Elevate your skills and extend your education in our dual degree program: you can graduate in four years with a degree in Women and Gender Studies and a degree in Social Work.

If you plan to pursue graduate studies, your BSW could lead to advanced standing in our accredited MSW program, which means you could earn your graduate degree in one year, instead of two. It makes your education more accelerated and affordable.

What Are My Unique Learning Opportunities?

We are active on campus and in the community. Women and Gender Studies students organize events about trauma-informed care, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, LGBTQIA, body image, and eating disorders. We promote diversity during Multicultural Week and write letters for the UN Day of Peace and Justice.

We get involved and educate others by attending national conferences such as the prestigious N.E.W. Iowa Leaders seminar which teaches women how to run for public office. We bring performers and speakers from around the world -- including Iran, EI Salvador, Russia, and South Africa -- to campus. Through the annual Ambrose Women for Social Justice conference, our students meet internationally recognized leader such as Native American activist Winona LaDuke, Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson, and author Sheryl WuDunn during the annual Ambrose Women for Social Justice conference

We intern and serve. Work one-on-one with experts in the field. Advocate for survivors of violence at Family Resources; educate pregnant mothers about prenatal care at Edgerton Women's Health Center; listen to the stories of survivors at Winnie's Place shelter; work with students at Annie Wittenmyer School; develop a fitness plan for clients at the Center For Active Seniors (CASI); and be a force in the life of a homeless youth at The Place2B.

We bring you together.  If you want to spend time with like minds, join Triota, the Women's Studies Honor Society. Or, get involved with PRISM, SafeZone, Green Dot, or join our Be The Change Learning Community as a first-year student and make an immediate impact on the lives of others.  Our Women's Studies Resource Center offers programs and research resources, including books, journals, and videos. Located in Ambrose Hall, it is available to the entire campus community.

If service is included in your future plans, we are one of few universities in Iowa offering Peace Corps Prep, a program that can make you a stronger candidate for volunteer positions within the Peace Corps or other service programs. You'll gain skills and a cultural worldview that employers value and best of all, most students can earn the certificate - awarded by the Peace Corps - without taking extra courses. Peace Corps Prep is a competitive edge that sets you apart and broadens your opportunities, no matter what path you choose. Click here to learn more or contact your faculty advisor.

Click here to read how first-year WGS students made an impact in the lives of others. 

Study Abroad

You've heard people say it before: "College will be the greatest time of your life!" With Study Abroad, you can add even more to your college years.

You can study in another country in a semester-long or short-term study abroad program (with a few offered during spring and winterim breaks). No matter the duration, these trips deepen your professional education while earning credit toward graduation.

There are also opportunities through an exchange program, an overseas internship, or volunteering. The limits for Study Abroad are only ones you set for yourself! SAU students have studied in Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, Korea, United Kingdom, Spain, Ecuador, Japan, Germany, Peru, Cyprus, Croatia, Belize, Canada, Chile, and more.

SAU students returning from their Study Abroad locations talk about their time away as life-changing - personally, emotionally, culturally, and academically. Click here to search our Study Abroad programs, and for general information click here.

What are some potential career outcomes?

This major can prepare you for careers in advocacy, social services, community education, and more. Some of our graduates work with immigrants and violence survivors through AmeriCorps, served in the Peace Corps, work in the federal technology sector, and are public school educators.

Our graduates also have landed prestigious scholarships, fellowships, and enrolled in top graduate programs at Washington University in St. Louis, DePaul University, and the St. Ambrose Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. More than 95% of our recent graduates are employed or have been admitted to graduate school.

What have alumni of this program done?
  • Cat Roth '15 paired her WGS degree with a Biology minor. She is a Doula Home Visitor at the Child Abuse Council and provides traditional labor support to clients at the hospital and prenatal and postnatal home visits.
  • Two recent graduates, Bernadette Muloski '12 and Jessica Pera '13, served in Americorps, supporting social justice for immigrants and survivors of violence in the U.S.
  • Emily Block '12 works for the federal government in Maryland.
  • Kyla Hadenfeldt '12 is a Support Services Therapist at Safe Connections in St. Louis, Mo.

Katy Strzepek, MA, Director

Mara Adams, PhD, Professor
Patrick Archer, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Brett Billman, PhD, Asst. Professor
Sarah Dennis, PhD, Asst. Professor
Sarah Eikleberry, PhD, Asst. Professor
Marianne Fenn, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Jessica Roisen, PhD, Professor
Robert Grant, PhD, Professor
Julie Jenks Kettman, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Emily Kingery, PhD, Asst. Professor
Keri Manning, PhD, Professor
Lisa Powell, PhD, Assoc. Professor
John Stachula, PhD, Professor
Katie Trujillo, PhD, Professor
Brittany Tullis, PhD, Asst. Professor

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Women and Gender Studies (30 credits)

WGS 201 Introduction
WGS 325 Feminist Theory
WI-WGS 405 Seminar

Choose 12 credits from these core courses:
ENGL 222 Women's Literature
+HIST 318 American Women: Topics
+PSYC 203 Psychology of Gender
PSYC 312 Women and Aging
+SOC 325 Sex and Gender
+THEO 324 Women Theologians
+WGS 210 US Latina Literature and Culture
+WGS 310 Topics in Women's Studies
+WGS 315 Latin American Women's Issues
+WGS 320 Women in Irish Film
+WGS 330 Women's Studies in Practicum
+WGS 340 Women and Madness

No more than 9 credits from the affiliate courses:
+COMM 203 Interpersonal Communication
CRJU 487 Race, Gender, Class and Criminal Justice
+ENGL 304 Renaissance Literature
KIN 273 Women's Health Issues
PSYC 205 Psychology of Human Sexuality
PSYC 328 Psychology and Treatment of the Victim
SVLN 201 Service Learning (1 credit)
+SOC 323 Marriage and Family
+SOC 325 Sex and Gender
+SOC 340 Race and Ethnicity
THEO 305 Theology of Christian Marriage
+THEO 310 Social Justice
+THEO 321 Contemporary Theological Issues
WGS 350 Independent Study (1-3 credits)

Minor in Women and Gender Studies

Entry procedure: Approval and planning a course of study with an advisor and WGS program director is required.

+WGS 201 Introduction
WI-WGS 390 Seminar

At least six credits from:
+ENGL 222 Women's Literature
+PSYC 203 Psychology of Gender
PSYC 312 Women and Aging
PSYC 328 Psychology and Treatment of the Victim
+THEO 324 Women Theologians
+WGS 210 US Latina Literature and Culture
+WGS 310 Topics
+WGS 315 Latin American Women's Issues
+WGS 320 Women and Irish Film
WGS 325 Feminist Theory
+WGS 330 Practicum
+WGS 340 Women and Madness

Up to six credits from:
+COMM 203 Interpersonal Communication
CRJU 487 Race, Gender, Class and Criminal Justice
+ENGL 304 Renaissance Literature
SVLN 201 Service Learning (1 credit)
+SOC 323 Marriage and Family
+SOC 325 Sex and Gender
+SOC 340 Race and Ethnicity
+THEO 310 Social Justice
+THEO 321 Contemporary Theological Issues
WGS 350 Independent Study (1-3 credits)

+=fulfills general education requirement

Click here to read course descriptions in the online course catalog

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Women and Gender Studies.

This plan assumes the student has taken three years of foreign language in high school.

Year One

WGS 201 3 WGS 210 3
COMM 203 or ENGL 101 3 KIN 273 3
SOC 101 or PSYC 105 3 SOC 101 or PSYC 105 3
PHIL or THEO 101 3 PHIL or THEO 3
InfoLit (if needed) and NSS 2 NATURAL SCI 3
KIN 149 1
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Two

PSYC 203 OR PSYC 205 3 SOC 325 or 323 3
SOC 325 OR 323 3 PSYC 203* or 205 3
Creative Arts 3 THEO 305, 310 or 324 3
MATH (STATS if possible) 3 KIN Activity 1-2
ENGL 222 3 SVL - Service learning 1
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 14-15

Study Abroad
Students are encouraged to study abroad during the Spring semester of their 2nd or 3rd year. Please see your advisor for suggestions.

Year Three

WGS 325 3 PSYC 312# or Elective 3
THEO 324 or 321 3 WGS 310 3
HIST 318 or CRJU 487 3 Electives 6
Elective or Foreign language 3 Elective or Foreign language 3
Elective 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

WGS 405# 3 WGS 330 or WGS 310 3
WGS 330 or WGS 310 3 Elective or PSYC 312 3
Electives 9 Electives 9
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

#=must be taken at SAU to satisfy writing intensive

BSW & WGS Dual Degree

Our dual degree program allows you to earn two degrees in four years: a BA in Women & Gender Studies and a Bachelor of Social Work, which is one of the most useful and flexible degrees for a career in the human services sector.  This is a well-integrated program that connects the two degrees and leads to a successful career.

In addition, earning a BSW could lead to advanced standing in our accredited MSW program, which means you could earn your graduate degree in one year. This makes your education more accelerated and affordable.

Talk to your advisor to learn more. 

Dual Degree Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested Plan to Graduate in four years with a BSW degree and a second degree in Women and Gender Studies. This plan assumes you haven't satisfied the foreign language requirement (three years of foreign language in high school). 

First Year

KIN 149 1 SOC 101 3
Foreign Language 101 or PHIL/THEO 3 Foreign Language 102 or PHIL/THEO 3
WGS 201 3 ENGL 101 Composition 3
New Student Seminar/Info Lit 2 SWK 201 3
COMM 203 3
Total 15 Total 15

Sophomore Year

BIOL 101 or CHEM 101 4 SOC 430 Data Analysis in Social Research 4
SOC 200 Research Methods in Sociology and Criminal Justice 3 ENGL 222 3
KIN 273 Women in Sport 3 SOC 323 3
PSYC 105 3 WGS 310 3
THEO/PHIL 3 THEO/PHIL 300-level 3
Total 16 Total 16

Junior Year

WGS 325 3 SWK 340 Social Work Research 3
SWK 330 Generalist Practice I 3 SWK 333 Generalist Practice II 3
Creative Arts Gen Ed 3 WGS 210 3
SWK 310 Social Welfare & Policy 3 WGS 330 1
SWK 320 HBSE I: Birth to Adolescence 3 SWK 360 Diversity 3
Total 15 Total 15

Senior Year

SWK 400 Field Instruction I 3 SWK 336 Generalist Practice III 3
SWK 402: Field Seminar I 1 SWK 401 Field Instruction II 3
SWK 325 HBSE II: Adult to End of Life 3 SWK 403 Field Seminar II 1
WGS 405 3 WGS 340 3
KIN Activity 2 Elective 1
Elective 3 THEO 324 3
Total 15 Total 14

Total Credits: 120 


Scholarships and Grants

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

To receive an institutional grant or scholarship students must meet specific criteria, and some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible. There is no need to apply for these; students automatically are eligible if they meet the criteria.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$@{Trustee-Scholarship-19-20}/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$@{Academic-Scholarship-18-19}/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$@{University-Grant-19-20}/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Awards

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Diocese of Davenport Catholic Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation to be completed by your pastor available here (pdf).

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Kokjohn Scholarship

Kokjohn Scholarships

The Kokjohn Endowment scholarship is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students at St. Ambrose University who demonstrate a commitment to justice and peace.

This endowment scholarship seeks to support the St. Ambrose mission of enriching lives. Scholarships of up to $4,000 will be awarded in March and may be renewed at the discretion of the Kokjohn committee.

Students who receive the award will commit to participating in several justice and peace-related service projects and events throughout their time at SAU and will give a brief presentation to the committee each May to share how they have contributed to the SAU vision social justice and service.

The deadline for scholarship applications is Feb. 1, 2018. Transcripts and letters of reference may be emailed to the Chair of the Kokjohn Endowment for Justice and Peace Studies, StrzepekKatyA@sau.edu.

Nominate someone today by completing this online form. The materials may also be sent via campus mail to Katy Strzepek, Ambrose Hall. The announcement of winners will be made via email and also at the Student Awards Night in the spring semester.

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at playNAIA.org

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2020-21 academic year. 

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.


Phi Theta Kappa
Criteria: awarded to all Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society members transferring from a community college
Award: $15,500


Transfer Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on GPA
Awards (Iowa residents):
3.5-4.00 GPA $15,000 
3.0-3.49 GPA $14,000
2.5-2.99 GPA $13,000 
2.0-2.49 GPA $11,000 

Awards (non-Iowa residents):
3.5-4.00 GPA $13,000 
3.0-3.49 GPA $12,000
2.5-2.99 GPA $11,000 
2.0-2.49 GPA $10,000 

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000 per year (on campus); $500/year (off campus)

Dual Admission Scholarships
Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 maximum

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: Ethnically diverse student; FAFSA required. Additional aid available by application
Award: $1,000/year (on campus); $500/year (off campus)

Federal and State Aid

Iowa Tuition Grant
Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: $6,000

Federal Pell Grant
Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $6,195 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Shannon Werhane

Master of Social Work,Clinical Therapist,Class of 2016

Shannon's education was about so much more than book-learning. It was about personal discovery, finding her niche, and how she can have the biggest impact. In our MSW program, you can learn how to empower people to improve their lives through their strengths and how to spark stronger communities. It is an education that can have a deep personal impact, too. Shannon calls it "eternal optimism."

See My Story

Apply Visit Info


Katy Strzepek, Director

Women and Gender Studies
Ambrose Hall 224
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!