Sexuality and Gender Studies, Minor

Program Code: SGS_UMNR

Program Description

The minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies addresses human sexuality and gender as they have been conceptualized and investigated by diverse disciplines:

  • humanities (including history and cultural studies),
  • behavioral and social sciences,
  • biological sciences, and
  • visual and performance arts.

Courses in the minor require students to explore scholarship and research on sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender across the lifespan, across cultures, and throughout history. Developing students' critical skills in a variety of disciplines, courses in the minor cover theories of

  • sexuality and gender;
  • sexual orientation;
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movements;
  • the history of sexual norms;
  • queer theory;
  • gender identity;
  • and impact of gender identities and erotic orientations on the arts; etc.

What is Sexuality and Gender Studies?

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.

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!

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
ENGL 245Introduction to LGBTQ Studies Keystone/General Education Course3
HDFS/WMNST 250Sexual Identity over the Life Span3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select at least 12 credits (at least 6 credits at the 400 level) from the two categories below, with a minimum of 3 credits from each category, of the following: 112
A. Sexuality Studies in Humanities and the Arts
Gender and Sexuality in China
Sexuality and Modern Visual Culture Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Queer Theory Keystone/General Education Course
Family and Gender Roles in Modern History Keystone/General Education Course
History of Sexuality Keystone/General Education Course
Lesbian and Gay History
Love and Sex Keystone/General Education Course
Representing Women and Gender in Literature, Art and Popular Cultures Keystone/General Education Course
Debates in Contemporary Feminism Keystone/General Education Course
B. Sexuality Studies in the Sciences
Racism and Sexism Keystone/General Education Course
Sex and Evolution Keystone/General Education Course
The Evolution of Human Mating
Anthropology of Gender
Introduction to Health and Human Sexuality Keystone/General Education Course
Straight Talks I: Advanced Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Peer Education
Gender and Biobehavioral Health
Human Sexuality as a Health Concern
Biology of Sex Keystone/General Education Course
Gendered Worlds
Gender and Social Development
Introduction to the Psychology of Gender Keystone/General Education Course
Human Sexuality
The Psychology of Gender
Sociology of Gender Keystone/General Education Course

In order to fulfill the interdisciplinary nature of the minor, students must study both in arts and humanities and in sciences. With the permission of the person in charge of the minor, "Special Topics" courses may be substituted for courses listed.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Meet the Academic Advisers web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Career Paths

Employers today value effective communication, analytical thinking, and teamwork. With its emphasis on how gender, sexuality, race and other forms of diversity impact the experiences of every individual, this curriculum trains its minors to recognize the impacts of bias and unequal social power in the social, cultural and political arenas. Graduates enter their post-graduate world sensitive to diverse perspectives that can either facilitate or impede team building, problem solving, and negotiation. Sexuality and Gender Studies graduates—no matter where their career paths lead—are committed to the kind of institutional and social change that values all voices, and supports social justice.


Sexuality and Gender Studies graduates from Penn State work in a wide variety of professions and industries. You will find us in the legal profession (one alumna runs her own legal firm, serving lower-income clients and gender-based discrimination cases). Others work in communications, marketing and advertising, business, banking and human resources. Activist students find their way into non-profits, advocacy groups, government, human development, journalism and communications. Women’s health is a dynamic field—medical care, nursing and research positions are out there, as well as health administration. Teaching attracts many of our graduates.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The scholarly field of Sexuality and Gender Studies prepares students to study some of the most complex challenges in a world where gender, race, class, sexuality and power are always intertwined. As an interdisciplinary field, it spans the arts and sciences, the humanities, and policy fields and provides applicable training for students seeking to continue their studies. Our scholars gain experience as researchers and teachers with the innovative tools to prepare them as leaders across the public, private and educational sectors.



University Park

133 Willard Building
University Park, PA 16802