Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies

Incoming students interested in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies should register for GWS 111. We encourage students interested in majoring in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies to complete GWS 111 within their first three semesters at Grinnell, ideally during their first year, and to meet with a potential faculty advisor to discuss their plan of study.

Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS) is an interdisciplinary field in which women, men, gender, and sexuality are examined by looking at various cultures and historical periods and by employing diverse methods of inquiry. Exemplifying the liberal arts tradition, the GWSS major includes courses from a wide range of academic disciplines and departments.

The Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies major begins with the Introductory course, GWS 111, which introduces students to key topics, concepts, approaches, and problems in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies as the field has developed over the past 40 years. This course is also the prerequisite for many GWSS courses at the 200-level. Students considering a major in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies are encouraged to take GWS 111 within their first three semesters at Grinnell, ideally during their first year, and to meet with a potential GWS faculty advisor to discuss their plan of study.

The 32-credit GWSS major requires the following core courses: GWS 111 (Introduction to GWSS); GWS 249 (Theory and Methodology in GWSS); and GWS 495 (Senior Seminar in GWSS). Majors must also take 200- and 300-level GWSS courses from at least three of the following four topic areas:

  • A. Sexuality and Queer Studies
  • B. Cross-Cultural and Transnational Approaches
  • C. Literary and Artistic Criticism
  • D. Political/Philosophical/Historical/Social Analyses

Prior to the preregistration period each semester, a list of the most current course offerings in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies will be made available, including courses offered in each of the above topic areas.  This list is posted on both the Registrar's and the GWSS program's websites, and is available from the Chair of GWSS, Professor Lakesia Johnson.

The following is a possible four-year plan to complete a major in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies:

FIRST YEAR FALL   FIRST YEAR SPRING
GWS 111 (either semester)   GWS 111 (either semester)
SECOND YEAR FALL   SECOND YEAR SPRING
GWS 249 (theories and methodologies)   200-level GWSS course from Category A
THIRD YEAR FALL   THIRD YEAR SPRING
OCS in GWSS-related program   200-level GWSS course from Category C
    300-level GWSS course from Category B
FOURTH YEAR FALL   FOURTH YEAR SPRING
300-level GWSS course from Category A   GWS 495 (senior seminar)
300-level GWSS course from Category D