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Gender & Sexuality Studies

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Mailing Address

Box 7123
Davidson, NC 28035

Shipping Address

209 Ridge Road
Davidson, NC 28035

Gender & Sexuality Studies Major

This interdisciplinary major provides you with a solid grounding in the interconnected, interdisciplinary fields of gender, sexuality, and queer studies, and engages these fields from a variety of perspectives—religious, economic, political, social, biological, psychological, historical, anthropological, artistic, and literary.

The gender and sexuality studies program trains you to examine gender relations and the construction of gender and sexual difference from a globally-informed perspective and to consider how gender and sexuality intersect with the social categories of race, class, ethnicity, disability, and age to produce our complex social identities. While integrating theoretical concepts and empirical knowledge, gender and sexuality studies majors learn to practice critical thinking about issues of gender and sexual identity and to develop strong research, communication, and writing skills.

For addition information and requirements for the gender and sexuality studies major, please refer to the College Catalog.

Major Requirements

The gender and sexuality studies major requires 10 courses, no more than five from one department, comprised of the following:

  • GSS 101 Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • GSS 201 Feminist and Queer Theories
  • Methods Course: Majors must complete at least one course which involves training in methodology. This course should be completed by the end of the junior year, and must be selected from those courses related to the major track chosen. Courses that serve both as methods classes and fall within one of the tracks listed below can only count for one of the requirements within the major, either methods or one of the tracks. 
  • Upper Level Courses: Six additional elective courses, with at least four at the 300 or 400 level. Within these six courses, at least three should be within one of the following three tracks: society and politics; literary and cultural representations; histories and genealogies. Students are required to take at least one course in each of the two remaining tracks. 
  • Senior Capstone: This senior research project involves a self-designed gender and sexuality studies topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. The capstone is taught as an independent study with the close guidance of a gender and sexuality studies-affiliated faculty member. 

Sexuality Studies Requirement

At least one of the 10 courses taken by each gender and sexuality studies major should deal primarily with the study of sexuality. Examples of courses which count for this requirement are: BIO 263/ENG 285 Representations of HIV/AIDS; BIO 363 Biology of HIV/AIDS; HIS 228 The Modern Body: Gender, Sex, and Politics in France; COM 390 U.S. Rhetorics of Sexuality; ENG 488 Modern Poetry: Queer America; SPA 403 Latino American Sexualities. Other courses may count with the chair's approval. 

Partial-Content Courses

Only one elective course (whether at the introductory or upper level) can be taken from a list of approved partial-content courses (courses which deal in a substantial way with questions related to gender and sexuality, but do not have gender and sexuality studies as their primary focus). Some examples of partial-content courses are: ENG 231 Young Adult Literature; ENG 282 African American Literature; FRE 223 Childhood and Adolescence; HIS 215 Magic and Witchcraft in Pre-Modern Europe.


Students who qualify during their junior year with a minimum GPA and an approved research proposal will be eligible to complete a year-long thesis (GSS 498/499) by way of which honors in the major can be earned, and which serves as the capstone for those students. These courses are taught as independent studies. To qualify for honors at graduation, you must earn an average of 3.5 or above in the major, an overall average of 3.2 or above, and earn an A- or higher on your final thesis paper.