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First-Year Focus

Welcome, class of 2024!

Welcome from Tessie Liu (Director of Undergraduate Studies)

Welcome from Jan Radway
(Director)

Welcome from Paola Zamperini
(Director of Graduate Studies)

What is Gender & Sexuality Studies?

In GSS, we ask questions about gender and sexuality in the U.S., transnationally, and in history, and answer them using research tools from across the humanities and social sciences, as well as from feminist, masculinity, LGBT and queer studies. Read more about our frameworks and topics of inquiry. 

Students majoring or minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies have gone onto rewarding careers in law, medicine, education, journalism, business, advocacy work, and the arts. Many of our students have won prestigious Coro Fellowships in Public Affairs, secured teaching placements through the Teach for America program, or gone onto graduate school, law school, or medical school upon completing their B.A. at Northwestern. 

First-Year Advising in the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

If you are interested in issues of gender and sexuality, want to know about our course offerings, or are interested in the major or minor, the information below should be of use to you. If you want to know more, please feel free to get in touch or make an appointment with our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Tessie Liu.

Good Classes for First-Years

Courses offered through the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program are open to all undergraduates at Northwestern (regardless of whether you've declared a major/minor or not), and we offer several introductory courses intended for first-years each year. Each of these courses will introduce you to key terms, issues, and approaches to the study of gender and sexuality in the humanities and social sciences. 

All of our 200-level courses are suited to first-year students and sophomores and each fulfills one or more of the Weinberg College distribution requirements. For example, “Traditions in Feminist Thought” fulfills your Area IV Historical Studies requirement, and “Sexual Subjects” can satisfy a credit in Area III, Area IV, or Area V. Similarly, our class GNDR_ST 231 “Introducing Trans* Cinema” fulfills an Area VI—Literature and Fine Arts distribution requirement.

Almost all of our 300-level seminar courses are also open to first-years, but we encourage first-year students to begin by taking one or more of our 200-level introductory courses. Check out our full list of our courses offered in 2020-21.

Fall 2020 Winter 2021 Spring 2021

Intersectionality: Key Terms Gender & Sexuality Studies (GNDR_101-6-20)

Imagining the Internet: Fiction, Film & Theory (GNDR_101-6-20)

Gender & Sexuality Studies in the Archives (GNDR_101-6-20)

Feminism and Political Feelings (GNDR_101-6-21)

Introducing Trans* Cinema (GNDR_ST 231)

Gender, Politics, and Philosophy (GNDR_ST 233)

Sexual Subjects: Introduction to Sexuality Studies (GNDR_ST 220)

Language & Gender (GNDR_ST 234)

Beyond the Binary: Transgender and Race (GNDR_ST 235)

Traditions in Feminist Thought (GNDR_ST 230)

Getting Started in the Major or Minor

Majors and minors are required to take our two core classes, 220 “Sexual Subjects” and 230 “Traditions in Feminist Thought,” in their first-year or sophomore year. Majors are also required to take both of our theory courses, 381 “Queer Theory” and 397 “Feminist Theory,” in their junior or senior year.

In addition to these courses, majors will take another 7 courses in gender & sexuality studies of their choosing at the 200 or 300-level, plus 4 related courses in other departments or programs. Majors are also required to complete a research project or paper by their senior year and may decide to pursue a senior thesis as well. Minors will take another 5 courses in gender & sexuality of their choosing.

Click here for more information about the major and minor requirements.

Students in our program often double-major in another Weinberg College department or count their minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies towards the "related courses" requirement in their major. In addition, a number of our courses are regularly co-listed in other departments and programs, including African-American Studies, Global Health, History, Sociology, and English. Thus, they can be taken for credit in either department or program.

If your particular interest is in how issues of gender and sexuality intersect with science and medicine, public health or the law you might also be interested in these programs: Science in Human CultureGlobal Health Studies, or the Center for Legal Studies.

Resources

For further advising help, the Weinberg College Advising Office and the Academic Support and Learning Advancement Office can be of assistance. 

Anyone who is interested in issues in gender and sexuality studies may want to join these student groups:

Other campus resources include:

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