Our Department

The Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University is part of a historical educational enterprise dedicated to the study of identity as a complex social phenomenon.

Since its founding in 1983, the intellectual endeavor has brought new scholarship on women to the university curriculum by linking the study of gender to race, sexuality, class, and nation. In the classroom as in our research, we reach across divisions of historical, political, economic, representational, technological, and scientific analysis in order to offer students innovative methods and theories that enhance the broad reach of their studies and their everyday lives.

Why Major in GSF?

Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (GSF) centers on the study of gender identities, relations, practices, and institutions.  Our approach to the study of gender is interdisciplinary, intersectional, and transnational. We help students to employ a variety of methodologies, drawn from both the traditional disciplines and from innovations from within the by now expansive archive of feminist scholarship. A key part of this involves teaching students to make connections between the personal and political, between their personal experience on the one hand and social structures and processes on the other hand.  To say that our approach is intersectional is to say that we examine gender as it intersects with race, class, sexuality, disability, and nation. Finally, we attempt to extend the study of gender to encompass a global frame that includes the study of colonization and postcoloniality. In our classes, we prioritize our students’ critical thinking skills, seminar participation capacities, and writing skills.

Declared GSF majors interested in pursuing an intensive research project under the guidance of GSF faculty are encouraged to enroll in relevant GSF-Housed courses and directly contact potential supervising faculty members for an honors project between spring of sophomore year and spring of junior year. GSF majors apply to the Honors Program in spring of junior year.

Recent graduates who completed the GSF major also sometimes completed a minor or certificate in another field of study. The most common recent double majors with GSF have been Psychology, Biology, Global Health (Co-Major), English, and International Comparative Studies

Duke students find their background in GSF to be a valuable resource for their professional development and lifelong intellectual growth. In recent years, GSF graduates have found themselves well prepared to pursue advanced degrees in every discipline; training in the legal and medical professions; employment in community service agencies and nongovernmental agencies; leadership roles in local, state, and national government; artistic expression in the creative arts; and positions in the corporate world.  Our list of GSF alums offers more information on the variety of work that our former students now engage in.

After reading about the undergraduate degree options and advising in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, we invite you to contact Jeremy Boomhower at jeremy.boomhower@duke.edu or (919) 684-3770 with your questions.

Degree Options

Credential Requirement Summary
Bachelor of Arts in Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies 10 Courses
  • 2 Required
  • 4 300-level GSF-Housed Courses
  • 4 Electives
Minor in Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies 5 Courses
  • 1 Required
  • 2 300-level GSF-Housed Courses
  • 2 Electives
Minor in Sexuality Studies 5 Courses
  • 1 Introductory Course
  • 4 Electives, with 1 being a seminar at the 300 level or above