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Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Department Overview

B110 Padelford

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary field that offers students a cohesive framework for the study of women's and men's lives within historical and contemporary contexts, and from multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural, and international perspectives. As a field of inquiry, gender, women, and sexuality studies challenges traditional scholarship about human societies and fosters the construction of new theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding diverse experiences and realities.

Undergraduate Program

B110S Padelford, Box 354345
(206) 543-6902

The Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in gender, women, and sexuality studies
  • A minor in gender, women, and sexuality studies

Bachelor of Arts

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: GWSS 200, and any of the following: GWSS 206, GWSS 257, GWSS 283, GWSS 290.

Department Admission Requirements

Any student with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 can declare this major at any time.

Major Requirements

Minimum 58 credits

  1. GWSS 200 or equivalent (5 credits)
  2. GWSS 302 (5 credits)
  3. One upper-division course focusing on transnational perspective. See adviser for list of eligible courses. (5 credits)
  4. GWSS 497 (fieldwork) (minimum 3 credits)
  5. One course in at least three of the four following overlapping focus points: Global Identity Formations; Decolonizing Empire; Feminist Knowledge Production and Radical Critique; Building Social, Cultural, and Political Movements for Change. See adviser for list of courses in each category (15 credits)
  6. Additional gender, women, and sexuality studies upper-division credits. 10 credits must be graded. Maximum 10 credits from variable credit courses (GWSS 495, GWSS 496, GWSS 497, GWSS 499) can be applied toward this requirement. (20 credits)
  7. Senior capstone, GWSS 494 (5 credits)
  8. Minimum 20 credits applied toward the major must be completed in residence through the UW.
  9. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in courses applied to the major.


Minor Requirements: 30 credits

  1. GWSS 200 or equivalent; and one additional GWSS 200-level course (10 credits)
  2. GWSS 302 (5 credits)
  3. Additional upper-division (300-400 level) credits in gender, women, and sexuality studies. Minimum 10 credits must be graded. Maximum 5 credits from variable credit courses (GWSS 495, GWSS 496, GWSS 497, and GWSS 499) may be applied toward this requirement. (15 credits)

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: A Bachelor of Arts in gender, women, and sexuality studies helps students prepare for careers in human, health, legal, or civil service, as well as in the private sector. Some gender, women, and sexuality studies graduates develop careers that focus directly or indirectly on women and women's issues. Many others move into careers that entail understanding the dynamics of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Such positions exist in politics, business, education, government, medicine, and the arts. Recent graduates of gender, women, and sexuality studies have found employment in public agencies, community services, health services, private businesses, and legal firms.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Students intern in local agencies or businesses to develop skills in an area of specialization appropriate to their area of interest. For lists of these opportunities, see adviser.
  • Department Scholarships: None offered.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Students can join the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA).

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
B110 Padelford, Box 354345
(206) 543-6900

The department offers graduate training leading to the PhD in interdisciplinary women studies as well as in a chosen discipline. A master's degree may be awarded to students in the doctoral program, but the department does not offer a terminal master's degree. The core faculty represent the following disciplines: anthropology, American Indian studies, cultural studies, economics and development, English, history, international studies, psychology, queer/sexuality studies, and sociology. Although students work primarily with a core faculty member in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, they have the opportunity to study with more than 90 adjunct faculty members from a wide range of disciplines.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

Applicants are admitted for autumn quarter only and must complete application materials by the beginning of the prior January. A complete application file includes the Graduate School application, one copy of official transcripts, three recommendations, a statement of purpose, and scores from the GRE.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 90 credits

In addition to 15 credits of core seminars (GWSS 501, GWSS 502, and GWSS 503), students pursue an individual program of study. The program usually requires three years of study beyond the master's level, including independent field research and preparation of a dissertation. PhD students must exhibit proficiency in a language relevant to their theoretical and regional areas of specialization. Students are urged to establish foreign language competency as undergraduates before entering the graduate program or soon after.

Financial Aid

A limited number of teaching and research assistantships are offered to PhD students.