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 project, whose name has changed as ideas in the field have changed, has continuously explored new research that considers gender in relation to race, sexuality, class, and nation. In the classrooms as in our research, we reach across divisions between historical, political, economic, cultural, representational, technological, and scientific analysis to offer students innovative methods and theories that broaden the reach of their studies and their understanding of everyday life and the world.

Why Major in GSF?

Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (GSF) examines gendered and sexual identities, relations, practices, dynamics, and institutions on multiple scales. Our approach is interdisciplinary, intersectional, and transnational. Specifically, the courses and training we offer help students employ a variety of research and reading methodologies drawn from both traditional disciplines and the now expansive archives of feminist and sexuality scholarship; examine gender in relation to other systems of hierarchy; and are not limited to the study of gender and sexuality in the United States. A key part of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies involves teaching students to connect personal experiences with the social systems that produce and shape them, while being intellectually sensitive to historical, cultural, political, and geographic settings. Our courses and assignments prioritize expansion of students’ critical reading and thinking skills, participation capacities, and writing and creative abilities. The department is particularly known for training students in feminist theory across the curriculum and through many events that include invited guests. In addition, we host a Feminist Connections social event each term for undergraduates and faculty to interact.

Students who declare the Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies major as early as possible in their career benefit from inside knowledge on courses, fellowships, events, honors program, and other opportunities provided by primary faculty advisors, allowing them to better plan. 

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 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
  • 1 GSF-Housed Course numbered bet. 100-199
  • 1 GSF-Housed Course numbered bet. 200-298
  • 3 GSF-Housed Courses numbered bet. 300-599
  • 3 Electives
Minor in Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies 5 Courses
  • 1 Required
  • 1 GSF-Housed Course numbered bet. 89-199
  • 2 GSF-Housed Courses numbered bet. 200-599
  • 1 Elective
Minor in Sexuality Studies 5 Courses
  • 1 Introductory Course
  • 4 Electives, with 1 being a seminar at the 300 level or above