The article aims to give a concise overview of the development and background of gender studies programs as they can be found at European universities today. As the final institutionalized forms of such programs differ according to the specific goals, strategies and conditions at the given university, the article finishes with the presentation of two different gender studies programmes. Namely, the gender studies bachelor's program, running since the academic year 2004/2005 at Masaryk University in Brno and the master‘s program at the University of Vienna, starting in the academic year 2006/2007. The framework of author's considerations is based on the assumption that the roots of gender studies go back to the second wave women's movement, which developed within a - political and societal - non-communistic context of the 1960s and 1970s. For this reason, the article first adresses the origins and developments of gender studies within this non-communist context, then takes a short look at the communist context and finally deals with the reception and criticism of gender studies within a post-communist context.