Skip to main content

Graduate Program

The Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS) program brings together dynamic faculty and graduate students conducting research in the theory and history of gender, feminism, and sexuality studies. GSS draws from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, training students in core concepts of gender and sexuality studies while also mentoring students as they incorporate elements of this scholarship into interdisciplinary research projects centered in other departments and programs.

Doctoral candidates from any field are eligible to apply to join this intellectual “home” outside their department. While the majority of our students are pursuing Ph.D.s in programs housed within Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication, or the Bienen School of Music, we have also forged connections with MA and MFA programs on campus and, when possible, with students in other colleges at Northwestern.

GSS offers a Cluster and Certificate program, each with specific course requirements.

GSS Graduate Cluster/Certificate Advising Form GSS graduate student handbook (May 2021 Draft)

Programs and events

Many GSS events, such as visiting lecturers and conferences, are open to all members of the University. We encourage all students, faculty and staff of Northwestern to learn more about our research and activities by participating in our public events.

Graduate seminars in GSS are open to graduate students across the University. In addition, GSS students participate in a dedicated graduate colloquium with opportunities to offer and receive feedback on work-in-progress and to meet with visiting scholars. Other GSS events address areas related to professional development, conference planning, honing interdisciplinary approaches to research and teaching, and other topics, in sync with the stated interests of the students involved.

GSS also makes available limited, competitively awarded funds to assist graduate students in the cluster/certificate program who present their research at professional conferences.

Every year, Gender & Sexuality Studies supports four Teaching Assistantships in conjunction with our 200-level courses. The Teaching Assistantships provide an opportunity to teach courses outside students' home disciplines and to supplement their professional training. Teaching Assistantships are competitively awarded on the basis of applications and brief interviews. This TAship includes 3 quarters of stipend (standard rate set by TGS), tuition, and health subsidy. You can also find additional information about the GSS TAship and in the interview process in the GSS graduate student handbook, which you can download here.

How to apply or get started

Prospective graduate students interested in participating in this program should indicate their interest when they apply to their respective graduate programs. Some students will be invited to Northwestern as Mellon-funded “fellows” of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Cluster,

Graduate seminars in GSS are open to graduate students across the University, and any graduate student may pursue the Certificate by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and/or the program administrator of GSS (see below).

In general, students are encouraged to begin their participation in GSS in their first year of graduate study. During that year, students typically will take Advanced Feminist Theory (GNDR_ST 405) and Queer Theory (GNDR_ST 490) or Sociology of Sexuality (GNDR_ST 490). After completing the foundational courses, students should confer with their thesis advisors and their Gender Studies Graduate Advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies to determine the direction of their course work and research or performance project.

Click here for yearly course listings.

Who to contact

If you still have questions after reading the site, feel free to contact the DGS or the Program Assistant. 

Sign up for the GSS Grad Listserv:

Send an email with the following info:

  • To:
  • Subject: <leave blank>
  • Body: SUBSCRIBE GSSCOLLOQUIUM YourFirstName YourLastName
Note: Do not include a signature in the email body. The signature will stop your subscription from going through. The only thing in the body of the email should be the SUBSCRIBE commands.