students in class

Undergraduate Program

Courses in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) examine how gender and sexuality affect and intersect with many aspects of the world in which we live, including political structures; social relations; economic institutions; the production of literature, art and history; and cultural representations of gender, sexuality, race, class and ethnicity. The curriculum provides opportunities to explore the specificity of gendered experiences, concerns and perspectives, and to see how these vary among different social groups and at different points in time. WGSS courses examine the ways constructions of difference — ethnicity, race, class, nationality, ability and religion — intersect with constructions of gender and sexuality. The department has four areas of focus around which courses are organized: literature/theory/history; sexuality/the body/health; global and transnational feminist and gender studies; and critical race studies of gender and sexuality. Students may choose to concentrate in one of these areas or to investigate all four.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies encourages students to think critically and to participate actively in their education. Most classes are small, rely heavily on classroom discussion, and emphasize interaction between faculty and students. Courses in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies can be taken as electives, toward a primary or secondary major, or toward a minor. Graduate students can pursue a certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

2020 WGSS Honors Thesis Presentations

The WGSS Department at Washington University is proud to offer short presentations of the projects produced by our six outstanding honors thesis students. These presentations review the year-long projects these students work on during their senior year at Washington University.

Professor Rebecca Wanzo's CNN opinion article, "'Handmaid's Tale' saga turns on the light"

Professor Rebecca Wanzo's CNN opinion article, "'Handmaid's Tale' saga turns on the light"

students at graduation

Internship & Undergraduate Awards

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Summer Internships

To augment the academic experience of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies majors and minors, a program of internship awards has been created with funds given in support of the Stiritz challenge. Under this program, students are able to receive internship awards for either full time or part time work during the summer. University rules preclude students from receiving academic credit for an internship that is funded.

more information about our internship rewards

Internships for Summer Study Abroad

This award provides a student the opportunity to participate in a summer internship on global/transnational issues and problems related to gender. Although we may consider proposals for such internships in the U.S., preference will be given to those proposing internships abroad. The internship may be one that the student has independently arranged with an organization, or it may be part of an international study abroad program, such as School for International Training (SIT).

more information about our internship awards

The Helen Power Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Award for Scholarship and Service

This award is made annually to a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major. Candidates are nominated, on the basis of scholarly record and service, by program advisors. Selection is made by a committee within the Program. The award is presented annually at the graduating seniors' luncheon in May.

more information about our undergraduate awards

Andrea Biggs Undergraduate Research Award

Andrea Biggs (1960-1981) was an independent spirit who advocated tirelessly for women's rights, whether creating the first anti-prom at her high school or enthusiastically fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment later in life. In that spirit, this prize is for the promotion of undergraduate research that focuses on issues relating to gender, dedicated in loving memory to Andrea's spirit, in the hopes of further nurturing that same spirit in others. The Andrea Biggs Undergraduate Research Award is available to all undergraduate students who are interested in conducting original research projects in the area of gender studies.

more information about our undergraduate awards

Our Major & Minor

Learn about the important steps to completing a major or minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies at WashU.

More information & requirements

Gender and Sexuality in St. Louis Blog

Written by students in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at WashU, this blog is an exploration of the intersection of theory, practice, and community outreach.

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Alyssa Hunt

I took Introduction to WGSS my first semester at WashU, and I found myself really excited to go to class each week. I loved how interdisciplinary the field was and I felt like what we were studying was incredibly relevant to the world I lived in after I walked out of the classroom. After that first semester, I continued to take WGSS classes because they challenged me to think critically about how gender intersects with other aspects of identity, including sexuality, race, ethnicity, and social class.

―Alyssa HuntWGSS Major '19

Contact Us

Have questions? Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies

contact us about the major/minor