Major and Minor

GSW Major

The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Major requires 64 units; 20 of these units are lower-division (or preparatory subject matter) and the remaining 44 are upper division (or depth subject matter). 

Preparatory Subject Matter (20 units)
The Preparatory Subject Matter requirement is comprised of five (5) courses: three (3) core courses which consist of WMS 50, 60, and 70 and two (2) additional interdisciplinary courses selected list found in the Major checklist form. 

Depth Subject Matter (44 units)
To meet the depth subject requirements, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies majors are required to take four core courses (103, 104, 137, and 190), four histories and cultures courses, and four courses, which coordinate with an interdisciplinary thematic track.  Students are required to select two courses from Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies and two courses from outside departments from the pre-selected list. 

Disciplinary or Thematic Track
Students majoring in GSW have the opportunity of devising their own course of study within the three thematic tracks offered.  Students, in consultation with the major advisor and faculty advisors, select a series of courses for the following three different tracks:

  • Track 1: Social Justice, Gender Politics and Activism 
  • Track 2: Culture, Power and Resources
  • Track 3: Sexualities, Subjectivities, and Body Politics

Major Checklist

The senior honors thesis option in Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies provides students with an opportunity to spend three quarters working on a substantial original research project.  Generally, this project results in a written thesis of approximately 50 pages.  However, with the approval of the faculty advisor, students may also elect to incorporate creative or multimedia work such as poetry, artwork, videos, etc into their project. Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies majors may choose to write a senior honors thesis for a variety of reasons. 

In order to benefit from and do well at writing a senior honors thesis, it is best if you enjoy the research process, think analytically about the material you encounter in all of your classes, care about the writing and the revision process, and, most importantly, have a significant amount of time to commit to the project during your senior year.
Students complete the thesis option in addition to the 64 units required for the major.  This means that students completing the thesis will complete the major with 72-76 units.

Applications for the Honor’s Program are available in the GSW office and from the Major Advisor at the beginning of Spring Quarter.

We encourage students majoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies to study abroad through the various programs offered by the Education Abroad Center. GSW students have participated in short term and year long programs in Spain, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Ireland, and India all while completing major and minor requirements. EAC and GSW advisers will work with students to find the programs and courses that best fulfill the students' needs.

Old Curriculum | New Curriculum (effective for students entering the major as of Fall 2015)

GSW Minor

The GSW minor affords students the option of augmenting their study in another field by completing a minor in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies. Students choosing to avail themselves of this option must successfully complete 24 units. Students, in consultation with the major advisor, will choose 1 lower division course and 5 upper-division courses to fulfill the requirements outlined in the Minor Checklist.

Minor Checklist

Sexuality Studies


The interdisciplinary minor in Sexuality Studies offers students the unique opportunity to study human-made aspects of sexual identities, desires, and practices, which differ across cultures and historical moments, and are not reducible to biology or anatomy.  The minor in Sexuality Studies core and elective courses have sexuality at their center. Additional courses invite students to integrate their study of sexuality with issues of gender; race and ethnicity; class; politics and activism; literature and popular culture; law; and other domains.

Sexuality Studies Minor Checklist

Social and Ethnic Relations

The interdisciplinary minor in Social and Ethnic Relations explores the racial, ethnic, class and gender aspects of human relations in the modern world. Students study human societies and cultures from a multi-ethnic perspective and across established academic departmental lines.  The minor is jointly sponsored with African American and African Studies, Asian American Studies, and Native American Studies.

Social and Ethnic Relations Minor Checklist