The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program (WGSS) is an interdisciplinary program encompassing feminist studies, masculinity studies, and sexuality studies. The program is committed to a multicultural curriculum that sustains and integrates diverse perspectives. WGSS courses emphasize participatory education in which student involvement, critical thinking, and personal insight are encouraged and made relevant in the learning process. Many faculty members with national and international reputations for their scholarly work on women’s/gender/sexuality issues regularly teach WGSS courses as well as courses in other departments and programs that count toward the WGSS major/minor.
Students who major or minor in WGSS gain experience off-campus in the nation’s capital through an internship placement in an organization or agency whose mission embraces some aspect of women’s/gender/sexuality studies. Student interns are actively sought by organizations focused on the arts, advocacy of all kinds, communication, employment and training issues, law and policy, reproductive rights and health, social research in a wide range of fields, support services for survivors of violence and abuse, and U.S. politics. Students have access to powerful networks that can give substantial support in career development at organizations in Washington, D.C., such as the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Amnesty International, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, Advocates for Youth, EMILY’s List, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
A degree in WGSS leads to challenging careers in a wide spectrum of occupations. An undergraduate education in WGSS also equips students with a range of skills which are highly valued in the 21st century labor force. And the curriculum prepares students for graduate study in the fields of women’s / gender / sexuality studies or for advanced study in traditional disciplines and professional fields. AU students can combine graduate-level coursework on women’s/gender/sexuality theory and current issues/research in WGSS with the program of study in a traditional discipline leading to the MA or PhD degree. Participating graduate programs include anthropology, art, communication, economics, education, government, history, international relations, literature, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.