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
  • GSWS 0550 Sex and Sexualities

Two Elective Courses — 6 credits

At least one elective course must come from Group A:

Group A:  GSWS Courses

GSWS 0200 Sex, Race, and Popular Culture
GSWS 0210 Wired Women
GSWS 0220 Contemporary Issues and Arguments
GSWS 0300 Special Topics in GSWS
GSWS 0350 Global LGBTQ Literature
GSWS 0400 Gender and Science

Group B:  Cross-listed courses

Any course officially cross-listed with GSWS counts; check course offerings each semester for other options marked by the GSWS attribute:

A sampling of cross-listed 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 1140 Study Abroad: Pitt in China, Pitt in London, etc.
GSWS 1900 Internship (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 Seminars

GSWS 1140  Special Topics in GSWS
GSWS 1150  Global 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 1235  Language, Gender, and Society
GSWS 1300  Wanderlust:  Sex and Gender in Global Tourism
GSWS 1450  Gender and Sustainability
Group B:  1000-Level Courses Cross-listed with GSWS

Any 1000-level officially cross-listed with GSWS counts; check course offerings each semester for other options:

A sampling of cross-listed courses:

ADMJ 1242  Gender, Race, Class, and Crime
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 1662  Topics in Women's History
LEGLST 1315  Sex, Law, and Marriage
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 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:

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 elective requirement, but in this case, the two other courses must each be in different departments.

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.