Gender and Sexuality Studies

Exploring the dynamic relationships of gender in our society and culture


This field explores our gendered existence: what it means to be feminine and masculine and how this interacts with other aspects of identity, such as race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality. Gender and Sexuality Studies focuses particular attention on those a society defines as “woman,” on the meaning of that identity in different times and places, and especially on how women experience their lives and construct their own identities. This field also explores the sometimes unequal relationships between different groups of women, and how and where they find common ground. It integrates women’s questions and perspectives into the theoretical frameworks for the study of psychology, education, arts, literature, philosophy and religion, leadership development, history, and political science. Women’s studies places women at the center of inquiry and recognizes and celebrates women’s achievements.

Gender and Sexuality Studies strives to integrate feminist principles and gender equality into an interdisciplinary field of study. A competence in Gender and Sexuality Studies must include courses from Psychology, Human Development, Nature and Aesthetics, and Cultural and Regional Studies. Depending on their specific interests, students may emphasize course work in any of these areas. Students in Gender and Sexuality Studies have a wide range of courses from which to choose. The overall intent of the wide range of courses is to offer an alternative perspective to the traditional, androcentric forms of inquiry, which place women as outsiders in society – an alternative that views women’s experiences as central to understanding human society and behavior. 

A student who chooses a competence or breadth in Gender and Sexuality Studies must complete a series of courses that will introduce the student to core concepts in the field including the impact of systems of oppression, feminist theories, power and privilege, social/cultural hierarchy, patriarchy, and the social construction of gender.  Students will strengthen their critical thinking skills as they learn to challenge previously unquestioned epistemology and hegemonic principles.  In addition, students will learn to identify the ethical implications of excluding gender from the arts, humanities psychology, religion, culture, and history.


Sample Courses for Gender and Sexuality Emphasis

  • The F-Word: Feminism, Women and Social Change
  • Women’s Topics in Wilderness Leadership
  • Sexuality and Sexual Outlaws
  • Concepts in Critical Psychology
  • History of Gender and Sexuality
  • Gender, Sexuality and Religion
  • Image and Power in Mass Culture


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