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2021-2022 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies section in this catalog.



Creating and sustaining a community of scholar-activists who: understand systems of gender and sexuality; generate and apply intersectional feminist and queer perspectives; challenge structural inequalities; and work for social justice.

Program Information

Students may earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS). The program also offers a minor in WGS and a minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Studies (LGBTQ).

The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at GVSU offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that acquaints students with the scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality; raises awareness of how categories of gender and sexuality affect and are affected by our everyday lives, historical currents, social institutions, science, art, and literature; and prepares students for graduate school and/or careers in which knowledge of these issues is relevant.

The WGS curriculum focuses on diversity and the integration of theory and practice within the field. Liberal education is central to WGS, and the department requires that students critically reflect on and recognize their own social and cultural environments and challenge prevailing ideas of privilege and inequality. These attributes encourage students to develop the skills of inquiry, reflection, critical analysis, dialogue, and expression central to the university's vision for undergraduate success.

Each semester, more than 500 students enroll in WGS courses, ranging from an introduction to gender studies to classes cross-listed with several other departments, to our high-impact courses that empower students to challenge gender stereotypes, understand feminist perspectives, and work actively for diverse gender justice through service learning and civic engagement at the community level and through an international lens.

Campus Engagement

The WGS Department contributes to the experience of all students on campus by working in collaboration with the Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity, the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, student organizations and academic programs, and departments across the university to sponsor speakers and events that contribute to understanding women, gender, and sexuality in the contemporary world.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to consider study abroad experiences with programs that examine issues and topics related to women, gender, and/or sexuality studies. WGS faculty currently facilitate a study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa which combines academic curriculum with service to the community. Participants examine how issues such as reproductive health, education, violence, political representation, and Apartheid have intersected, and gain a deeper understanding of race and class through a global feminist perspective. Students learn about and visit several sites of historical and cultural significance in and around Cape Town and Johannesburg.

For more information about opportunities to study women, gender, and/or sexuality abroad, students should contact the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department or the Padnos International Center.

Honors Organizations

Iota Iota Iota (Triota) is the academic honor society for the field of women and gender, gender, and sexuality studies. Triota strives to maintain feminist values central to WGS: egalitarianism, inclusiveness, and the celebration of the diversity of gendered experiences. The organization also works to enhance the experience of students by recognizing their academic achievements and supporting scholarship in women, gender, and sexuality studies at Grand Valley. Students meeting eligibility criteria are inducted into GVSU's chapter of Iota Iota Iota each year.

Program Requirements

The following programs are available:

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