Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Jennifer Scanlon, Program Director
Anne E. Clifford, Program Administrator

Professor: Jennifer Scanlon
Assistant Professor: Joseph Jay Sosa
Fellow: Marika Cifor

Contributing Faculty: Todd Berzon†, Margaret Boyle, Aviva Briefel, Judith S. Casselberry†, David Collings, Sarah O’Brien Conly, Rachel Connelly, Sara A. Dickey, Pamela M. Fletcher, Guy Mark Foster, Alyssa Gillespie, Celeste Goodridge**, David K. Hecht†, Sree Padma Holt, Ann Louise Kibbie, Aaron W. Kitch, Matthew W. Klingle†, Tracy McMullen, Kristi Olson†, Elizabeth A. Pritchard, Marilyn Reizbaum†, Nancy E. Riley†, Meghan Roberts, Jill S. Smith, Rachel L. Sturman, Birgit Tautz, Shu-chin Tsui, Krista E. Van Vleet, Hanétha Vété-Congolo**, Tricia Welsch†

The interdisciplinary Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program (GSWS) combines the scholarly traditions of each field in new and productive ways to develop a culture of critical thinking about the intersections of sexuality, gender, race, and class. Courses in GSWS investigate the experiences of women and men in light of the social construction of gender and its meaning across cultures and historic periods. Gender construction is explored as an individual, institutional, cultural, and national means of structuring and perpetuating inequality, social justice, and dominance. Sexuality studies examines how social, historical, psychological, literary, legal, biological, and political contexts shape sexual practices, expressions, identities, and representations.

Requirements for the Major in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

The major consists of nine courses, including three required core courses.

Required courses:

  • GSWS 1101, Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
  • GSWS 2201, Feminist Theory; or GSWS 2001, Queer Theory
  • GSWS advanced-level capstone seminar (3000–3999) (Designed to illuminate the diverse realities of women’s experience while making available some of the main currents of feminist thought.)

Students may wish to concentrate within the major in gender and women’s studies or sexuality studies, in line with the theory course they elect (gender and women’s studies or sexuality), but students may take both 2201 or 2001, both of which count toward the major.

The six remaining courses for the major may be chosen from the set of GSWS courses, or from a set of courses in other disciplines that have been approved by the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program Committee to count toward the major. GSWS courses are numbered to indicate the level of course instruction. In total, no more than three of the six elective courses may be from any single department outside of GSWS. The departmental affiliation of the course is considered the department of which the instructor is a member. Courses count toward the major if grades of C- or better are earned. One course taken with the Credit/D/Fail grading option may count for the major as long as a CR (credit) grade is earned for the course.

During the spring of their junior year, students who wish to undertake an honors project must secure the agreement of a faculty member to supervise their independent study project. The honors project supervisor must be an affiliated faculty member with GSWS. If the student’s chosen supervisor is not an affiliated faculty member, the student may appeal for permission from the GSWS Program Committee. Two semesters of advanced independent work (Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies 4000 and 4001) are required for an honors project in GSWS. No more than two independent study courses may count toward the major requirements, unless the student is pursing an honors project, in which case the limit is three independent studies.

Requirements for the Minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

The minor consists of five courses.

Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies 1101 and 2201 or 2001, normally taken in the first or second year, and three additional courses.

Required courses:

  • GSWS 1101
  • GSWS 2201, Feminist Theory or GSWS 2001, Queer Theory
  • three additional courses

Only two courses from any single department outside of GSWS count toward the minor. All courses must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail) and students must earn a grade of C- or better in order for a course to count toward the minor.

Additional Information

  • First-year seminars can count toward the major.
  • GSWS allows up to two transfer courses to count toward the major.

(Department/Program website)