About Us

What is Women’s and Gender Studies?

First established in the 1980s, Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) at UMKC is one of 650 such programs in the United States. WGS is both an inter- and multi-disciplinary academic program devoted to the critical analysis of how gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality contribute to the diversity of women’s and men’s experiences. The program’s interdisciplinary nature and cross-cultural academic training broadens students’ understanding of gender and the experiences of women and men, girls and boys, in all cultures and societies. By placing gender at the center of scholarly inquiry, we not only examine the assumptions, methods, insights, and claims of the traditional academic curriculum but broaden it through our research interests, publications, and courses to add cutting edge feminist research, scholarship, and activism.

The WGS program offers an undergraduate minor and concentration, as well as an internship.  WGS courses are offered by numerous UMKC departments, and a full list of courses scheduled is available every semester from the WGS office.  In addition, Women’s and Gender Studies is available as an informal focus area for the MALS program (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies).

The mission of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program is to foster teaching and scholarship on the social, cultural, and historical processes that gender human identities and experience.

Contact Us

Dr. Brenda Bethman

Phone: (816) 235-1116
Fax: (816) 235-1117

University of Missouri-Kansas City
208 Haag Hall
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

Engagement Opportunities

Students participating in the Women’s and Gender Studies minor program have the opportunity to engage with a number of different offices and agencies to gain additional exposure to the ideas they’ll learn in their classes. These engagement opportunities provide students with a rich educational experience and allow them to learn and understand the lessons they are taught in their classes.

Women’s and Gender Studies Internship

Senegal Study Abroad Program

Women’s Center

LGBTQIA Programs

Faculty and Staff Directory

Faculty in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies come from schools and academic units all over the university.

Associate Faculty

Lindsey Arbuthnot Clancey
Criminal Justice and Criminology

Hadara Bar-Nadav

Rebecca Best
Political Science

Brenda Bethman
WGSS/Women’s Center

Virginia Blanton

Alison Desimone

Matt Edwards
Foreign Languages and Literatures

Miriam Forman-Brunell

Jennifer Frangos

Crystal Gorham Doss

Jane Greer

Viviana Grieco

Amanda Grimes
Health Sciences

Kristi Holsinger
Criminal Justice and Criminology

Caitlin Horsmon
Communication Studies

Cynthia Jones
English/Classical and Ancient Studies

Kathy Krause
Foreign Languages and Literatures

Nancy Levit
School of Law

Toya Like-Haislip
Criminal Justice and Criminology

Linda Mitchell

Diane Mutti-Burke

Gwen Nally

Jennifer Owens
Criminal Justice and Criminology

Lynda Payne
History/School of Medicine

Jennifer Phegley

Michelle Smirnova

Debbie Smith

Theresa Torres

Maude Wahlman
Art History

Henrietta Wood
Honors Program


Jasmine Abdel-Khalik
School of Law

Stephanie Frank
Urban Studies

Stuart Hinds
University Libraries

Jenny Huberman

Kathleen Kilway

Alison Phillips
Criminal Justice and Criminology

Larson Powell
Communication Studies

Lori Sexton
Criminal Justice and Criminology


Milton Gomez

Angela Rabin

Fight Against Racism Takes Up the Tools of History

The Festival of the Archers, Flanders (1493), Royal museum of fine arts, AntwerpResearchers reveal the exploitation of medieval imagery and language by white supremacists

White Nationalists and neo-Nazis have misused medieval imagery and language to support their cause. Faculty from the University of Missouri-Kansas City are working to reveal the true histories and explore the connections between contemporary issues and medieval concepts of race, gender and identity. Continue reading

Internship Program

The internship program is WGS 484 and can be 1-4 credit hours.

Program Description

The Women’s and Gender Studies Internship Program (WGS 484) is an opportunity for undergraduate or graduate students to gain on-site experience. Students will receive 1 to 4 hours of academic credit while learning and working in off- or on-campus placements. Students will engage in the ongoing feminist effort to integrate research with social activism as they apply academic knowledge to their work experience and consider how practical experience informs or alters theory. Internship experiences may take place on or off- campus, such as at the UMKC Women’s Center or a local battered women’s shelter. The Women’s Center director will serve as coordinator for all internship experiences. Possible internship sites may include:

Students may also earn credit for internships with regional and national agencies such as the Feminist Majority Foundation, National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, and others. Please see the Internship Coordinator to discuss national and regional internship possibilities.

Internship Requirements

  • Internships must be planned and established prior to the beginning of the semester during which you will earn WGS 484 credit. You should begin planning at least two months in advance. However, the actual internship experience takes place during the semester when you are registered for the course.
  • Internships must be clearly differentiated from Independent Study projects. That is, internships are not usually research-based, although an agency may ask you to do research for them during your work there as part of your learning experience.
  • Internships must be new, agency-based, participatory learning experiences. That is, an existing job cannot be used as an internship.
  • An internship requires a written agreement between you and your supervisor in the agency about what your duties will be, how the agency expects to provide you with a positive and diverse learning experience, how the experience will relate to Women’s and Gender Studies, and how your performance will be evaluated. All this information must be recorded on your Internship Application form.
  • Women’s and Gender Studies Internships may not be concurrently used for additional credit under a different course number in a different department.

Academic Requirements

  • Prerequisite: WGS 201, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies or permission of the Internship Coordinator.
    Students will receive credits based on the number of hours they work:

    • 4 hours of work per week = one credit hour
    • 7 hours of work per week = two credit hours
    • 10 hours of work per week = three credit hours.
    • 12 hours of work per week = four credit hours
  • Students will meet regularly (3-4 times) with the Women’s and Gender Studies Internship Coordinator and other students enrolled in WSG 484. These meetings are designed to provide a forum in which all of the internship students for a given semester may collectively discuss and present the academic issues relevant to their internship. The times and location of the meetings will be determined at the beginning of the semester.
  • Students are responsible for completing the assigned readings for the Internship meetings.
  • Students are required to keep a journal of their intern experience. The journal will be due in three installments (due dates will be determined at the beginning of each semester).
  • Students will write a descriptive paper (5-7 pages) about their internship activities and experience. This paper is due on the Friday before finals week unless otherwise noted.
  • A student’s course grade is based 50% on performance at the site, and 50% on academic work.

Internship Objectives

Upon completion of their internship, students should:

  • be able to explain how feminist theory informs practice and vice versa;
  • be able to analyze work places and policies as they relate to issues of gender, race, class and sexuality;
  • have developed skills and strategies for communicating with supervisors and colleagues;
  • have developed skills and strategies for reflecting on individual responsibilities and ethics in a workplace situation;
  • have gained work experience from which to draw when making future career and/or educational choices.

Setting Up Your Internship

It is your responsibility to identify an agency and set up the internship. Most students select an internship from the many possibilities available from the Internship Coordinator. If they prefer, students may develop placements through their own contacts. In some cases, the coordinator and student may be able to develop a new placement specifically for that student’s needs.

Once you have selected an agency (or several agencies) that interests you, you should do the following:

  • Call the contact person and arrange to discuss internship possibilities with them.
  • Bring a resume that details your skills, abilities, interests, and goals. (If you need help with your resume, you can contact UMKC Career Services).
  • You are also encouraged to “do your homework” and find out more about the agency before the meeting. This is a good practice for any job search.
  • When you meet with the contact person, find out about the kind of work they are offering, what the hours will be, and any special training they might offer. You need to know who your on-site mentor/supervisor will be, and make arrangements with her/him for regular meetings. You need to be sure that your mentor/supervisor receives the following forms, available from the Internship Coordinator:
  • Contract (Word Doc): This needs to be completed by the student and mentor/supervisor and returned to the Internship Coordinator.
  • Agency Guidelines (Word Doc)
  • Evaluation form (Word Doc): Your supervisor must return this to the Internship Coordinator by the last day of finals for you to receive a grade.

Internship Coordinator

Dr. Brenda Bethman
Director, UMKC Women’s Center / Director, Women’s and Gender Studies Program
105 Haag Hall
Phone: 816.235.1643

Womens, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Women’s and Gender Studies program is an inter- and multi-disciplinary academic program devoted to the critical analysis of how gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality contribute to the diversity of women’s and men’s experiences.  Women’s and Gender Studies at UMKC is one of over 650 such programs in the United States.  Students trained in this program will be afforded career opportunities in a wide variety of areas, including academic and governmental settings, business, journalism, social services, and the health professions.

Minor in WGSS

The minor in WGS offers an excellent inter- and multi-disciplinary curriculum that examines women, girls and gender throughout history and across cultures. WGS courses teach critical thinking through an examination of the historical and contemporary problems facing women locally, nationally and globally. Students expand their understanding of gender difference, cultural diversity and social change as they complete an 18-hour program of study from among a wide variety of classes in numerous fields and disciplines. WGS courses in history, sociology, psychology, criminal justice, English, religion, political science, law and other areas enable students to pursue a specialized focus which enhances their major in the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences. The minor also provides sufficient flexibility to allow for the creation of a course of study especially suited to the individual interests of students.

Requirements for the Minor

A minor in Women’s and Gender Studies requires 18 credits. Nine credits must be in upper division courses (that is, 300 and 400) and no more than nine credits may overlap with your major. Readings courses on selected topics also may be arranged with individual faculty members.

In fact, if you have taken courses that focused on women, girls, and gender, these may already count toward your minor. (A maximum of six hours of other coursework may be applied to the minor.)

Required Courses (6 hours)

WGS 201:  Introduction to Women’s & Gender Studies

WGS 301:  Introduction to Feminist Theory

The remaining 12 hours must include a minimum of 3 hours of social sciences credit and 3 hours of humanities credit and be chosen from an approved list of courses.  A list of approved courses is published every semester.

Students are also encouraged to take WGS 484: Women’s & Gender Studies Internship.

For more information and to declare your minor, please make an appointment with Dr. Brenda Bethman, Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Haag Hall 105, (816) 235-1638.


Students with a minor in WGS extensively broaden their educational, occupational, and professional opportunities in the public and private sectors by enriching their liberal arts, social science or natural science training. Employers in business, law, education, journalism, the arts, government, medicine, public and social services actively recruit job candidates with knowledge and training in issues of women and gender.

Graduate schools and professional programs particularly select women’s and gender studies students for their creativity, intellectual flexibility, sensitivity to difference and breadth of knowledge.