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What is Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies?

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to the study of women, gender, and sexuality from a historical and cross-cultural perspective. WGSS asks questions about the diversity of gendered lives and experiences throughout history, examines contemporary problems using an intersectional approach, and explores how changes in fundamental assumptions about the production of knowledge have transformed conventional areas of study such as psychology, sociology, history, art, and philosophy. Our students are passionate about social justice and desire to better understand the structural and systemic forces that contribute to the ongoing oppression of marginalized peoples.

Why Study Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies?

You might like this program if:

  • you want to translate your curiosities, experiences, passions and interests into actionable and meaningful work;
  • you seek out inclusive environments, with persons of different backgrounds, cultures, and races to understand their points of view;
  • you are passionate about gender equity, human rights, and social justice;
  • you want to explore how gender and sexuality play a role in culture, the arts, literature, health, politics, the sciences, law, and education; and/or
  • you see yourself as a change agent in this world.

Potential Careers

Employers today value effective communication, analytical thinking, and teamwork. With its emphasis on how gender, sexuality, race and other forms of diversity impact the experiences of every individual, the WGSS curriculum trains its majors and minors to recognize the impacts of bias and unequal social power in the social, cultural, and political arenas. Graduates enter their post-graduate world sensitive to diverse perspectives that can either facilitate or impede team building, problem solving, and negotiation. WGSS graduates—no matter where their career paths lead—are committed to the kind of institutional and social change that values all voices and supports social justice. Our recent graduates work in professions graduates from Penn State work in a wide variety of professions and industries including:

  • Law
  • Communications
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Medicine
  • Business
  • Banking
  • Human resources
  • Non-Profits
  • Advocacy groups
  • Government
  • Journalism

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The scholarly field of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies prepares students to study some of the most complex challenges in a world where gender, race, class, sexuality, and power are always intertwined. As an interdisciplinary field, WGSS spans the arts and sciences, the humanities, and policy fields and provides applicable training for students seeking to continue their studies. Our scholars gain experience as researchers and teachers with the innovative tools to prepare them as leaders across the public, private, and educational sectors.