Sexuality and Gender Studies

Sexuality and Gender Studies Minor
Sexuality and Gender Studies investigates human sexuality and gender identity from a broad, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural perspective. Over the course of history and development of diverse cultures, notions of sexuality and gender have varied. Sexuality and Gender Studies pushes beyond a binary understanding of sex and gender, while interrogating the development and maintenance of norms. For example, a minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies helps students to question how gender identity, sexuality, and ideas of “normal” work in tandem with race, ethnicity, nationality, class, disability, age, religion, and more to create social categories that result in structural, institutional, and ideological inequality and oppression. This program draws from many disciplines, each one contributing a unique perspective on how we “live” our gender and sexuality, to enable students to analyze the myriad dimensions of human identity and experience that are shaped by sexuality and gender.
Degree Types: Minor

About the Program

You might like this program if…

  • You want to translate your curiosities, experiences, passions, and interests into actionable and meaningful work.
  • You seek out inclusive environments, with persons of different backgrounds, cultures, and races to understand their points of view.
  • You are passionate about gender equity, human rights, and social justice.
  • You want to explore how gender and sexuality play a role in culture, the arts, literature, health, politics, the sciences, law, and education.
  • You see yourself as a change agent in this world!


  • Sexual Identity Over the Lifespan
  • Introduction to Queer Theory
  • Gender and Sexuality in China
  • Debates in Contemporary Feminism
  • Biology of Sex

Out-of-Classroom Experiences

Post-Graduation Opportunities

  • Graduate school to study law, healthcare, the arts, humanities, education, and science
Communications, Government, Healthcare, Human Resources, Law, Marketing

Have questions about this program?

Future students, contact Chantel Harley.

Current students, contact your academic adviser

This program is housed in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
 at Penn State University Park.
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Rock Ethics Institute research associate Yael Warshel is poised to receive a book award at the International Communication Association’s annual meeting for her pioneering work in the book “Experiencing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Children, Peace Communication, and Socialization.” Her book, a critical examination of peace communication interventions and their effects on children in conflict zones, has received international acclaim, with this being the book’s second major accolade.

Penn State University Libraries’ Open Publishing program recently launched a new Open Access monograph. “The Future of Foster Care: New Science on Old Problems,” edited by Yo Jackson and Sarah Font, is a collection of expanded conference proceedings from the 2019 conference of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, a national leader in research designed to influence public policy that better protects vulnerable children from abuse.

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Janet van Hell, a longtime Penn State faculty member in the College of the Liberal Arts’ Department of Psychology and director of the Center for Language Science, was recently promoted to distinguished professor of psychology and linguistics.

Liberal Arts Professor of English and Asian Studies Xiaoye You’s new book on rhetoric in early imperial China offers insights into how ancient rulers built and maintained an empire, and what that may reveal about contemporary issues.

Nearly 100 Centre County high school students visited Penn State’s University Park campus on April 12 to participate in the fourth annual Language and Linguistics Day hosted by Penn State’s Center for Language Science.

The Penn State Consortium on Substance Use and Addiction recently hosted its fourth annual conference in the HUB-Robeson Center at the University Park campus. 

An interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers have received a $442,750 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, to support a multi-faceted, three-part study that observes how gay and bisexual men search and find HIV prevention information — specifically information about pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a medicine that when taken as prescribed, is very effective at preventing HIV.

Two Penn State professors — one in history and the other in art history and anthropology — have collaborated on a three-pronged project that will spark conversation and awe about the art, culture, science and history of Andean peoples.