The FGSS Major


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary major in which students, in consultation with their advisors, craft a course of study focusing on the social construction of gender as a category of analysis within the broader matrix of race, class, ethnicity, and sexual identity. The core of the major is an individually designed concentration consisting of four courses.  The concentration should be a well-focused area of study that requires an interdisciplinary approach. Recent and potential concentration topics include for example:

  • Art & Activism
  • Feminist Science & Technology Studies
  • Gender, Race and Health
  • International Gender and Human Rights
  • Reproductive Politics
  • Sexualities and the Law
  • Technologies of Self

When students declare the major, they are assigned to an advisor who will then work with them to design a concentration. Although not all of the courses that contribute to the concentration need be FGSS listings, the four courses must together make up a coherent approach to the topic of the concentration. Only two credits transferred from another institution may be applied to the major. A 500 word proposal describing the concentration must be approved by the student's advisor, and submitted to the FGSS office by the end of the fall semester of the junior year. Click here for Major Proposal From.

Additional Requirements for the Major:

1. Two core courses:

Gateway course (to be taken in the student's first or second undergraduate year):  Prospective majors may choose their gateway course from among several marked as such in the Program's annual listing of courses.  Note: Students who take more than one gateway course may also count the other(s) they have taken toward the FGSS  major. 

FGSS209: Feminist Theories, normally taken in the junior year. Prerequisite:  gateway course. Preference to junior and senior majors.

2. A distribution requirement of two courses, which must be from two different disciplines, and should not overlap in their content with courses taken for the concentration.

3. Senior Research Requirement: In the senior year, majors must complete an essay (1 credit), or a thesis (2 credits). This research must be centered on a theme or topic related to the concentration, and will be supervised by a tutor who may also be the student's advisor. During the semesters in which students complete a thesis, they must be registered with the tutor for the appropriate tutorials FGSS409 (Fall) and 410 (Spring). (For Honors Thesis, see below.)

4. Senior Seminar (FGSS405): All seniors must participate in this pro-seminar.

Summary of Requirements for the Major:
(a total minimum of 10 credits)

  • FGSS Gateway course (1 credit)
  • FGSS209 (Feminist Theories) (1 credit)
  • Two courses for distribution (2 credits)
  • Four courses composing the area of concentration (4 credits)
  • Senior Research Requirement and relevant tutorial (1 or 2 credits)
  • FGSS 405 Senior Seminar (1 credit)

Honors in FGSS:

Rising seniors wishing to write a Senior Honors Thesis (click here for more information) must have, at the end of their junior year, an average of at least B+ in all of the courses that count for the major. These courses include the following: gateway course, FGSS 209 (Feminist Theories), two distribution courses, and  the four courses from the student's area of concentration within the major. Prospective thesis writers must submit to the FGSS Chair by the last Friday in April of their junior year a transcript reflecting that they have met this requirement (or will have done so by the end of the junior year).  Only students who complete the two-semester thesis can stand for honors.  Students who have not achieved a B+ average will undertake the one-semester senior essay project.