Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies ProgramAcademics

About the Department

Representation, Power, and Voice

Gender and sexuality are undergoing a revolutionary shift. Definitions of gender and sexuality are expanding. Queer media like RuPaul's Drag Race attract millions of viewers. Women's sports are gaining immense popularity. And more people explicitly identify as feminists than previous generations. But anti-queer and anti-trans legislation are rising worldwide. So are laws that restrict reproductive healthcare. Books about sexuality divide school districts. What is the history and context for the time we are in? What needs to be done to build a more inclusive world? These questions drive Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS) at Gustavus Adolphus.

GWSS examines how gender and sexuality intersect with other categories of social difference, such as race, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion, ability, and age. Many universities have a Gender Studies or Women's Studies program, or they offer individual courses in a single department. At Gustavus, GWSS courses span disciplines, from Political Science to Theatre and Dance, to draw on expertise from faculty across campus. These courses deepen your knowledge about gender and sexuality and equip you to advance equity across industries, from public health care to education.

Learn More About the GWSS Program

Discover a Supportive Community of Critical Exploration

As a GWSS student at Gustavus Adolphus, you will be part of a strong and engaged community of scholars in the beautiful State of Minnesota, a national leader in LGBTQ and reproductive rights. Located in Saint Peter, MN, the stunning Gustavus Adolphus campus is a perfect place to build close-knit relationships with proximity to big-city opportunities. You're minutes away from medium-sized Mankato and an hour from the dynamic Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Further north, you'll find majestic Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area. Offering courses from highly accomplished and internationally known faculty from a wide variety of perspectives, our program will enrich any career path you choose.

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Discover your path:
Majors, Minors, and Related Programs

The Gustavus Adolphus GWSS major and minor teach essential skills that empower inclusive change. Through your classes, you will understand gender and sexuality in their vast historical contexts, recognize how identity functions across societies today, and amplify change in every sector of society. GWSS faculty approach feminist and queer studies with a global perspective and utilize discussion-based learning. You will complete several research and creative projects through this academic path and can partner with faculty to co-publish work. GWSS students are also encouraged to study abroad. That's why graduates from this program have successful careers worldwide in non-profit and organizational leadership, education, counseling, government, public policy, software development, medicine, communications, and more.

Opportunities in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Converting Learning into Action

GWSS students thrive in the classroom and in the streets, and they collaborate with faculty whose research interests span the globe. The GWSS program hosts formal and informal events throughout the year, such as Feminist Fikas, the Moe Lecture, and more. The faculty also supports student groups that aim to foster dialogue, raise awareness, and empower students to create positive change. Learn more about the multitude of opportunities to engage with GWSS outside the classroom.

Explore the opportunities in GWSS

  • Feminist FikasFika is the Swedish word for coffee-break. Join other students and faculty to relax and recharge at a Feminist Fika. The gatherings are filled with engaging conversation and yummy treats, designed to build strong campus connections and reflect on the issues of the day.
  • Explorations Talks — Several times a year the GWSS program hosts an Explorations Talk to learn more about a student or faculty research project or conference presentation. These informal sessions provide you with a supportive setting to gain confidence presenting and to learn more about topics outside of your coursework.
  • GWSS Research — There are numerous opportunities to pursue research projects in class or independent studies under the guidance of award-winning faculty members. Faculty specialize in topics ranging from public health, trauma, and addiction to representations of girl power, gender and race in sport, manhood and masculinity, and queer identities in cultures and societies across the globe.
  • Student Groups — Get involved in one of the many student-led initiatives and organizations. These groups provide a platform for students to amplify their message, collaborate with like-minded individuals, and work toward common goals.
  • Moe Lecture — The Moe Lectureship allows the GWSS program to bring top feminist scholars to the Gustavus community, such as Cherríe Moraga and Kimberlé Crenshaw.
  • Study Away — From Berlin to Montevideo, Washington, DC to Tokyo, you are encouraged to further explore different perspectives by studying away from campus. The Center for International and Cultural Education has information on many programs that may be particularly interesting to you. The GWSS faculty work with you in selecting courses that may be applied to the major or minor requirements.
  • Internships — Besides the internship assistance you can receive for working off campus, students have the opportunity to work as GWSS paid interns for planning and hosting the Moe Lectureship on campus.
  • Career Preparation — We'll help you translate your passion and knowledge of GWSS concepts within your career path.


Meet the change-makers from the GWSS program at Gustavus. The faculty and students are progressive activists and speak out on issues - a cohort takes political issues seriously and works to improve the larger community.

Meet our Faculty

Dr. Sharon Marquart

Dr. Sharon Marquart

Modern Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

“Charlotte Delbo and Writing and Reading the Holocaust – Listen to the Learning for Life Podcast” Dr. Sharon Marquart of the Gustavus Department of Modern Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS) program converses about her background and path from initial biology major to BA and PhD in French and eventually Gustavus […]

Read more about Dr. Sharon Marquart

Keep in touch with the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Program

The GWSS Program prepares you to advocate and lead in your personal and professional life. With award-winning faculty and opportunities to be involved across campus, you will develop skills you can use to make a positive impact in your community.

Contact Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Phone: 507-933-7548

Confer-Vickner, 330
800 West College Avenue
Saint Peter, MN 56082