All the counts, percentages, and averages included in the narrative below are estimates generated from data collected for the third round of the Humanities Department Survey (HDS 3). The survey response rate for women/gender studies departments was 68%. (For more on how to interpret the results, see the Introduction in the complete profile for this discipline.)

This is the first time the discipline of women and gender studies was included in the HDS, with a sampling frame developed from a list of institutions that awarded an average of at least one degree in each of the previous five years in a subject classified by the U.S. Department of Education as focused on women, gender, or sexuality, and also a careful staff review of the web sites for those institutions to identify departments and degree-granting programs in the subject area.1

As was true for some of the other disciplines in the survey, certain respondents observed that their department was more properly aligned with the social sciences (especially where the chair had a joint appointment in sociology or another social science department). As with the other boundary-crossing disciplines in the survey, the survey instrument and this report do not attempt to make this distinction. The inclusion of the discipline in the survey is not an assertion that that every such department should be treated (or is treated by its institution) as a humanities department.

In fall 2017, 283 departments were granting degrees in women and gender studies.

Download the full profile (PDF) or see the the main HDS 3 report.


  • 1Indicators staff used the following categories in the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs: 05.0207 Women's Studies; and 05.0208 Gay/Lesbian Studies.
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