Barrie Thorne

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1976


Since the end of spring term 1975, Michigan State University has had a formal undergraduate program in women's studies. The program is called a "thematic concentration ," a new device at M.S.U. for facilitating interdisciplinary work in selected areas at no extra cost to the university (there are also thematic concentrations in Jewish, Islamic and film studies). For the student, this entails completing a minimum of 0 credits, or five to seven courses, chosen from at least three disciplines from an official list of women's studies courses approved by the university curriculum committee. Upon the student's graduation, the assistant dean in the college where the student has a major certifies completion of the program, noting on the student's transcript: "Undergraduate Program in Women's Studies completed."

Approval of this program culminated several years of discussion among faculty and students interested in women's studies. We are a program fairly rich in offerings; 14 different courses taught in 11 different departments are included in the official thematic concentration list. In addition, there is a popular women's studies track (with at least 400 enrolled each term) in the required writing program for first-year students; courses with temporary numbers are taught from time to time; and there are several graduate level seminars in women's studies. Among our offerings are two which, from our knowledge of programs around the country, seem fairly unique: a biology course on human sexual dimorphism and a philosophy course involving analysis of concepts central to feminist theory.



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