Center for Women’s and Gender Studies offers new five-year degree program

Jennifer Xia

The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies is offering a new five-year bachelor’s and master’s program, allowing students to take graduate courses during their junior year.

The University currently offers five-year programs in computer science, computational science, engineering, mathematics, and accounting, said Jackie Salcedo, senior program coordinator in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. The new program will be the first offfered by the College of Liberal Arts, Salcedo said.

“There are currently no (bachelor’s and master’s) programs in (women’s and gender studies) offered in the state of Texas and only a few offered in the U.S., so it’s a really good way to attract students who want to do feminist work,” Salcedo said.

Salcedo said the program’s creation came out of student demand and a desire to grow the major. The center is currently offering information sessions, and students within the major can apply if they receive consent and meet certain academic criteria, according to the website.

 



“I had students that were triple majors, and one wanted to do a master’s degree on top of everything, so I thought, ‘There probably is a demand,’” Salcedo said.

The goal of the program is to improve job opportunities for graduates, according to the program proposal. Liberal arts and humanities graduates ages 25-29 had the highest unemployment rate at 5.8% in 2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Biology senior Neha Patel said she would not participate in the five-year program but believes it would be helpful for students. Biology senior Sahar Jiwani said the program will help the center’s students find a job after college.

“It’d be easier to get a job if you have a master’s under your belt for any field,” Jiwani said. “People would be more willing to even major in Women’s and Gender studies if they have the option of ending with
a master’s.”

Salcedo said in the future, departmentalization is a priority for faculty because the center relies on faculty members from different departments to teach classes and act as directors.

“We are the flagship school of Texas and so close to the Capitol,” Salcedo said. “It’s just a matter of resources and support, but the positive part is that we get to create an interdisciplinary program that has faculty from all over.”