What does it mean to abolish the police? Why do some communities have higher rates of COVID infection than others? What does anti-racism look like beyond hashtags? What is the relationship between the rise in anti-trans legislation and the ongoing assault on reproductive rights? How can I focus on my studies when there is so much going on in the world?
If any of these questions resonate, the GSWS Program at Penn invites you to learn more about our major and minor.
Scholars working in the field of gender & sexuality studies have been providing nuanced analysis of our everyday world for decades. The conceptual frameworks to come out of the field - for example, intersectionality, queer theory, and transformative justice - help us make sense of our current moment and, more importantly, equip us with the analytical skills to work towards a more just and equitable future.
The required courses for the major and minor: GSWS 0002 (Gender & Society) and GSWS 0003 (Introduction to Queer Studies) also fulfill the following College requirements: Society Sector (GSWS 0002) and Cultural Diversity in the U.S. Foundational Approach (GSWS 0002 and GSWS 0003) and are offered in both the fall and spring semesters every year. The GSWS Program also offers over 50 cross-listed courses each year, allowing students to choose from a variety of disciplinary approaches to the subject.
Our core and affiliated faculty from around the University provide mentorship to GSWS students, including by acting as faculty advisors for students completing the honors thesis, an option available to senior GSWS majors. Past honors thesis projects are highlighted on our podcast and on the GSWS website. GSWS students have gone on to careers in medicine, teaching, law, journalism and politics, and we have a growing alum network of graduates from the GSWS program who welcome inquiries from current Penn students.
For Penn undergraduates, the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program offers several academic options. Students may:
- Enroll in individual courses
- Major in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
- Minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
- Double major in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and in another program (i.e., Sociology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies)
- Earn dual degrees (i.e., with the Wharton School or the School of Nursing).
- Apply for prizes that support undergraduate research
Please contact GSWS Associate Director Gwendolyn Beetham for more information about the major/minor, or to schedule a meeting to discuss how to declare a major or minor (virtual and in person options available): firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration for Courses
Undergraduates may register for almost all courses in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies through the standard registration process. Most courses are cross-listed with departments of the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) at Penn.
Undergraduate juniors and seniors who wish to enroll in a graduate level course should contact the specific graduate department or professional school for any restrictions that may pertain. Graduate level courses are generally indicated by a number above 500.