About The Program

The Penn Program for Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary program that provides exciting intellectual opportunities for students to explore a wide variety of issues concerning gender, race, sexuality, and women in society, culture, history, science, and language.  The primary mission of the Program is to provide interdisciplinary training to graduate and undergraduate students on a wide variety of topics.  In close collaboration with the Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies (formerly the Alice Paul Center) we seek to integrate research and teaching, believing that the best education is provided by faculty who are engaged in cutting edge research in the field and can share their knowledge and expertise with their students. We thus provide many opportunities for students to learn from courses that integrate faculty research, as well as funding opportunities to support their own independent research.

The Program offers a major, a minor, and a graduate certificate. Reflecting the interdisciplinary mission of our program, the undergraduate major and minor are intended to provide a broad array of options to students interested in understanding the way that gender, sexuality, and race have developed and changed over time in their meaning, practice, and treatment. Our GSWS seniors regularly win campus prizes and national honors. Our graduate and undergraduate alums have pursued careers in law, medicine, nursing, business and finance, nonprofit organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), university professorships, university administration, philanthropy, and politics (check out our Alum Directory).  GSWS training positions students to make an impact on society across all levels.

The Program offers undergraduate core courses in the field, including Gender and Society (GSWS 002), Introduction to Queer Studies (GSWS 003), Trans Method (GSWS 350), Folklore and Sexuality (GSWS 270), and Law, Society, and the Politics of Sexual Reproduction (GSWS  149). In addition, the GSWS curriculum includes over 50 crosslisted courses each year, allowing students to study topics ranging from Queer Studies, to global feminism, disability studies, feminist theory, feminist ethnography, education, nursing, and many others, taught by Core and Affiliated Faculty from twenty different departments and schools around the university.