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  • Beatriz Urraca, PhD

    • Director, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 323
    • tel: 610-499-1112

Curriculum, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

The components of the gender, women, and sexuality studies major include interdisciplinary core courses that survey research methods and scholarship and a selection of elective courses drawn from a variety of disciplines.

The gender, women, and sexuality studies program and courses address one or more of the following issues:

  • Contemporary feminist theoretical frameworks, methodologies, issues, and topics and their relation to traditional disciplines
  • Gender, race, class, and sexuality and the connections among them
  • Broadening and enriching analytic skills while drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives
  • The diversity of women’s experiences in the United States and abroad 

Required Courses

Students are required to take the following courses for a total of 9 credits:

  • GWS 101 Introduction to Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
  • GWS 257 Sex and Gender in Society
  • GWS 355 Feminist Theories and Methodology or a GWS course with a significant feminist theory component chosen in consultation with the program director


Students are required to take 18 credits of electives from the humanities and social sciences. Two humanities courses and all social science courses are upper-level. Some students may also take courses in business and social work.

View a sample of courses students typically take as gender and women’s studies majors. 

GWS 123 Literature and Critical Writing: Literature of the Gay and Lesbian Experience

An introduction to writing by historical and contemporary LGBTQ writers. 

GWS 239 Women and Development in Latin America

This team-taught service-learning travel course engages students in thinking about the challenges of development in Latin America with particular emphasis placed upon the gendered dimensions of both developmental theory and practice. Through a combination of readings, films, lectures, online lessons, discussions, and travel to a developing region in Mexico, Central America, or South America where women play key roles in development, students understand the burdens placed on women in underdeveloped nations s well as the roles women have played in that region's development.

GWS 257 Sex and Gender in Society

An examination of sex/gender systems in historical, cross-cultural, and contemporary societies. Identity politics and the interconnections between gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are core segments of this course. Feminist, socialist, liberal, and conservative thought on sex/gender issues is examined.

GWS 345 Gender and Communication

This course evaluates the role of communication and how cultural expectations are transmitted (and continually reproduced) through language, non-verbal communication, and social traditions. Students study historical movements and current research in gender communication to gain an informed appreciation of the social and personal roles of gender. 

For more information about the courses and requirements for gender, women, and sexuality studies, please refer to page 73 in our course catalog.