What is Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies?

The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program pursues critical inquiry through queer and feminist scholarship, teaching, and activism. They draw on intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches to study how sex, gender, and sexuality are shaped by race, indigeneity, ethnicity, class, age, ability, nationality, and religion. They interrogate the conditions that render specific populations vulnerable to violence in a range of local and transnational contexts. They study and cultivate strategies of resistance and address issues such as war and militarism, political and social policy, the environment, education, healthcare, economics, the media, art, literature, and popular culture. 

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Degree(s)

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, BA

The WGSS major provides students with the skills to critically and actively engage with the world around them. Our plan of study equips students in various ways: to understand, apply, analyze, and critique key concepts and theoretical positions in feminist, gender, sexuality, and queer studies.


Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre, Director of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
RaeLynn.Schwartz-DuPre@wwu.edu | 3606504212

Major at Western

WGSS prides itself on both the intellectual and experiential engagement of its students. The WGSS curriculum provides students with the skills to critically and actively engage with the world around them. Many of our courses look to connect academia to the material world by investigating the relationship between theory and practice — a central commitment of much feminist, gender, and queer scholarship. Our courses are characterized by rigorous and sustained critical thinking, inquiry, and analysis: skills central to the task of enhancing equality, dignity, and empowerment.

Drawing on the rich pool of academic expertise at Western, the program emphasizes theories and practices derived from feminist, queer, postcolonial, multiracial, and multicultural contexts. Our curriculum emphasizes scholarly engagement with a wide range of disciplines, including: history, fine and performing art, literature, creative writing, political science, communication studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology, environmental studies, visual culture, journalism, education, and science.

WGSS students enjoy small class sizes and close faculty interaction. Our community is intellectually challenging, supportive, and creative. Our diverse faculty encourages scholarship that is interdisciplinary and intersectional. Individual concentrations and senior projects evolve along with students' intellectual and experiential growth and academic expertise.


Each year the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program selects one student who is a declared WGSS major or minor to receive a tuition waiver scholarship at approx. $1,800.

Major careers

Our graduates are now working in many different fields, including:

  • domestic violence and sexual assault services
  • child welfare services
  • armed forces
  • childhood education
  • sales and marketing
  • Peace Corps
  • AmeriCorps
  • healthcare professional
  • K-12 education
  • journalism