GSWS Major

Students who graduate with a major in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Coursework for this interdisciplinary major can be taken in a variety of departments.  The GSWS major requires 30 credits of coursework.  To declare the major, students should review the advising checklist for the major and contact the GSWS Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Frayda Cohen (  Students are encouraged to declare the major as early as possible in their undergraduate career and no later than the semester before they plan to graduate.  

Course Requirements for GSWS Major 

Three core courses — 9 credits

These 3 foundational courses should be completed early in a student’s academic program:

  • GSWS 0100 Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
  • GSWS 0500 Introduction to Feminist Theory OR GSWS 0510 Feminist Theory in Historical Perspective
  • GSWS 0550 Sex and Sexualities

Two Introductory Elective Courses — 6 credits

At least one elective course must come from Group A:


  • GSWS 0200 Sex, Race, and Popular Culture
  • GSWS 0210 Wired Women
  • GSWS 0220 Contemporary Issues and Arguments
  • GSWS 0300 Special Topics in GSWS
  • GSWS 0400 Gender and Science
  • GSWS 0600 Global LGBTQ Literature

GROUP B:  Interdisciplinary/Cross-listed Courses

Any introductory-level course approved by GSWS counts. A full list of these courses can be found in the Introductory Level Course List 

A sampling of these courses:

  • AFRCNA 0454 Man/Women in Literature
  • ANTH 0768 Human Sexuality in Cross Cultural Perspective
  • ENGCMP 0203 Seminar in Composition: Gender Studies
  • ENGLIT 0610 Women and Literature
  • ENGLIT 0630 Sexuality and Representation
  • FR 0012 French Kiss
  • PSY 0184 Psychology of Gender
  • SOC 0436 Social Aspects of Sexuality
  • SOC 0446 Sociology of Gender
  • GSWS 1900 Internship (requires Junior/Senior standing)
  • GSWS 1910 Independent study (requires Junior/Senior standing)

Note:  Students may fulfill the elective course requirement by taking one or more additional GSWS upper-level courses (1000-level). 

Four Upper-Level Courses — 12 Credits

Choose two courses from each group:

GROUP A: Upper-Level GSWS Courses

  • GSWS 1130 Gendered Bodies
  • GSWS 1140 Special Topics
  • GSWS 1141 Special Topics in GSWS
  • GSWS 1150 Transnational Feminisms
  • GSWS 1160 Race, Class, and Gender
  • GSWS 1170 Queer Theory
  • GSWS 1180 Politics of Gender and Food
  • GSWS 1190 Masculinities
  • GSWS 1200 Transgender Studies
  • GSWS 1210 Gender and the Digital
  • GSWS 1220 Women of Color Feminism
  • GSWS 1230 Gender and Medicine
  • GSWS 1235 Language, Gender, and Society
  • GSWS 1280 Transnational Sexual Politics
  • GSWS 1300 Wanderlust:  Sex and Gender in Global Tourism
  • GSWS 1450 Gender and Sustainability
  • GSWS 1460 Gender, Sexuality, and Childhood in a Global Context
  • GSWS 1470 Gender and Citizenship in Europe (STUDY ABROAD)
  • GSWS 1610 Queer and Feminist Media
  • GSWS 1692 LGBTQ in the USA
  • GSWS 1715 Feeding the Soul: Food, Gender, and Religion

GROUP B: Upper-Level interdisciplinary/cross-listed courses

Any 1000-level officially approved by GSWS counts. A full list of these courses can be found in the Upper Level Course List

A sampling of cross-listed courses:

  • AFRCNA 1309 Women of Africa and the African Diaspora
  • ANTH 1738 Gender Perspectives in Anthropology
  • COMMRC 1148 Rhetoric and Human Rights
  • COMMRC 1160 Visual Rhetoric
  • ENGFLM 1703 Gender and Film
  • ENGLIT 1704 Women and Literature
  • FR 1085 Women's Voices in French Literature
  • HIST 1661 Gender and Sexuality in the US Since 1865
  • MUSIC 1398 Women and Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • PS 1622 Women and Political Theory
  • PSY 1110 Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality
  • RELGST 1684 Gender and the Jewish Tradition
  • SOC 1413 Marriage
  • SOC 1448 Working Women

1 Capstone Seminar — 3 Credits

  • GSWS 1910 Senior Seminar:  Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

The capstone seminar is an intensive reading and writing seminar open to juniors and seniors pursuing the GSWS major.  This course will synthesize their previous studies in the field and deepen their research skills.  The focus of the seminar will vary, but the curriculum will emphasize current scholarship in the field of gender and sexuality studies and will always require students to explore, engage, and practice feminist theories and methodologies.

To be eligible to enroll in GSWS 1910, students must have taken the three core courses required for the major and must have completed a minimum of 75 credits in order to qualify as holding junior or senior standing.

Additional Information:

Satisfactory/No Credit Option
Majors may elect the S/NC option for a total of six credits excluding: GSWS Core Course, 1000-Level, and Capstone Requirements.

Petitioning for Course Credit
If you have identified a course with a focus on women, gender, or sexuality that is NOT officially cross-listed, you may consult the GSWS Studies Undergraduate Advisor about whether you could petition to have the course counted towards a requirement of the major.

Either GSWS 1900 (Internship) Or GSWS 1901 Independent Study may be used to meet an introductory elective requirement.

GSWS 1900: GSWS Internship provides students the opportunity to extend their academic training beyond the classroom. For more information about possible sites, please make an appointment with the GSWS Undergraduate Advisor. A proposal outlining the purpose of the internship and its relevance to GSWS is required. To be eligible for an internship, students:

  • Must have completed 60 credits and be in good academic standing
  • Must have completed at least 4 courses toward the major
  • Must identify an internship that aligns with the student's academic preparation
  • Must receive special permission from the GSWS Undergraduate Advisor.

GSWS 1901: Independent Study provides students the opportunity to pursue an area of special interest beyond what is offered in the regular curriculum. A proposal outlining the purpose of the study, the relevance to gender, sexuality, or women's studies, and a plan of study including bibliography and course products (papers, annotated bibliography, film presentation, etc.) must be approved by a professor who agrees to supervise the work. The proposal must be submitted to—and approved by—the GSWS Undergraduate Advisor prior to registering for the course. In order to be approved for an independent study, students must already have taken at least two courses in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and two courses in a discipline appropriate to the independent study.

Students may count no more than 3 GSWS credits in an online or hybrid format (with the exception of Flex@Pitt courses). Students may have an additional 3 credits in an online or hybrid format from another department or program.

Dietrich School Requirements 

  • Writing (W) requirement: Students must complete at least one writing-intensive (W) course in the major.
  • Related area: A minimum of 12 credits is required in any one Dietrich School department or in a thematic cluster chosen in consultation with the major advisor. The completion of an official Dietrich School minor or a Dietrich School or UCIS certificate also satisfies this requirement.
  • Grade requirement:  A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in those courses that count toward the major.  Students must also have a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all GSWS courses.  
  • Overlapping credits:  Students may count no more than six of the credits required for this major toward another major, a minor, or a certificate.