The program in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at UC Davis is an excellent place for students wishing to pursue issues related to women, gender, and sexuality locally and globally. The following information discusses our program’s history and focus, as well as career and educational opportunities for majors and minors. 

About Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program at the University of California Davis was founded in 1981 and is one of the largest and most vibrant programs in the nation. One of our greatest strengths is our faculty's commitment to exploring issues of gender in relation to race, class, ability, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, and culture in a transnational framework.

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program is that students, in consultation with the Peer and Faculty Advisors, can pursue their particular academic interests and design their own course of study accordingly. In devising their major plan, students will draw on courses offered in African American and African Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Asian American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Comparative Literature, English, French, German, History, Italian, Linguistics, Native American Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, Textiles and Clothing, and other related disciplines.

In addition to offering a broad array of courses that deal with gender, race, class, ability, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, and culture, the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program affords interested students the opportunity to earn internship credit and conduct independent research, as well as take advantage of the Honors Thesis option.

Upon successful completion of the degree requirements, students majoring in the program will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies. Students meeting additional university requirements can graduate with honors. Many Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies majors find it advantageous to pursue a double major, or to minor in another discipline such as Political Science, History, English, Sociology, Comparative Literature, or Ethnic Studies.

Five Student Learning Outcomes: Upon graduation, students majoring in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies will be able to: 

  • Apply major feminist theoretical approaches to the critical study of gender in local and transnational contexts.
  • Explain gender as historically changing and imbricated with race, sexuality, class, nationality, disability, geography, age, and other relations of difference (intersectionality).
  • Use research skills to analyze questions within gender, sexuality and women’s  studies from multiple disciplinary perspectives (interdisciplinarity).
  • Identify, analyze, and use information from multiple sources.
  • Advocate for social justice related to gender and sexuality in local and transnational situations, through written, oral and/or digital presentations to diverse audiences.
  • Apply training in gender, sexuality and women’s studies to legal, political, economic, social and cultural transformation outside the classroom.

Undergraduate Studies | Graduate Studies

Careers and Opportunities

A degree in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies opens many diverse possibilities for future employment. The GSW Program introduces students to relevant social issues, fosters critical thinking, develops strong verbal, writing and research skills, and encourages social advocacy.

Pre-professional students will discover that a major in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies offers useful preparatory training for medical or law school. It is particularly suitable for those interested in specializing in social policy, advocacy work, or gender-related issues.  Students who plan to do practical work in counseling, clinical psychology, social services, education, or political science will also find Women’s Studies to be a helpful undergraduate major. 

Those who wish to do graduate level research in fields such as history, literature, ethnic studies, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, comparative literature, dramatic art, education, ethnic studies, film, English, or women’s studies will also benefit from a GSW major as it provides a strong undergraduate background in critical theory, social history and an understanding of narrative and cultural representation of difference.