A New Major breaks through at Coastal


In August of 2021, Coastal Carolina University began offering two new interdisciplinary Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) degree programs for students to engage in.  

Added to the university’s 2021-22 course catalog was a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Women’s and Gender studies. The WGST program offers students an in-depth look at the interdisciplinary study of gender and identity markers such as race, class, culture, politics, etc.   

Ina Seethaler, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program said the B.A. in WGST is a more standard approach to the major. Students who pursue a B.A. would take classes such as Introductory to Women’s and Gender studies, Feminist theory, Women and Color, and a Capstone course. Seethaler said the well-rounded major offers classes that are designed to give students knowledge through different angles on broad topics.  

Seethaler said the B.A. and the B.S. in the WGST program are similar but have a separate set of electives that both give students an understanding of Women’s and Gender Studies as a discipline. 

The B.S. in WGST focuses more on the equity issues in spaces of science, technology, engineering and math.  

Seethaler said students who pursue a B.S. in WGST would take classes such as introductory computer programing and math classes, as well as minor in a science program. The motivation behind the design for the B.S. in the WGST program is to prepare folks to work for a stem company or organization. 

 “We designed the B.S. for folks who are interested in combining a focus on sciences and a focus on people,” Seethaler said. “Students will have the skill set to figure out how to create more equitable work environments. They will be able to help companies attract and maintain a diverse work-force,” Seethaler said. 

WGST majors are required to take electives from other disciplines around campus to help students better understand the complexities across them. Amanda Masterpaul, lecturer in the WGST program, said feminist theory influences all disciplines. 

“Disciplines such as psychology, sociology, science, and humanities fields are all deeply influenced by feminist ideas. [The degree program is] not about labeling but more about making things more inclusive and available,” Masterpaul said. 

Students do not have to be a feminist to take any of the courses offered in the WGST program. Masterpaul said students who do not identify as feminists shouldn’t worry about a label or following a formula. 

Women’s and Gender studies is a part of the Honor’s College in Kearn’s hall, but students do not have to be a part of the Honor’s college to pick up the major. Seethaler said this decision was made due to the course being so interdisciplinary, they did not want students to be discouraged from entering the program if it were placed in a different college. 

Courses offered by the WGST program are open to all students and are designed to be easily picked up by most majors. Seethaler said some WGST courses offered can be used to fulfill certain core requirements in other degree programs.  

Students who are interested are encouraged to reach out to Ina Seethaler or Amanda Masterpaul for more information.