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Welcome to the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, a hotbed for feminist scholarship, education, and action. We advance knowledge through interdisciplinary research and innovative pedagogies, inspiring new generations of gender and sexuality scholars and feminist leaders committed to social justice. Since 2015, we have been the home of the premiere academic journal in feminist studies, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.

Program History

An interdisciplinary minor in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, the WGSS program was founded in 1982 as Women’s Studies. At this time, it was one of the only programs of its kind in the region. Northeastern Women’s Studies faculty also helped to found the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality in 1992 (then called the Graduate Consortium for Women’s Studies).

The distinguished scholars who work in WGSS at Northeastern combine academic rigor and excellence with engaged work in the community, spearheading public projects and providing leadership as public intellectuals. Northeastern’s feminist faculty has been on the forefront of numerous major regional initiatives, beginning in the 1980s with the formation of the Boston Area Feminist Theory Colloquium, the region’s first series on Feminist Theory. 

Northeastern’s WGSS program and College of Social Sciences and Humanities became the editorial home for the journal Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society in January of 2015. Under the editorship of Professor Suzanna Walters and the Chair of the Board of Associate Editors, Professor Carla KaplanSigns has introduced a number of public-facing initiatives under the umbrella title the Feminist Public Intellectuals Project.

Photo by Jarvis Chen.

Program Overview

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program draws on the humanities, arts, social sciences, and the natural sciences to explore the broad range of intellectual questions concerning the ways in which gender and sexuality are embedded in and structure our everyday lives. Students are exposed to an ever-evolving body of knowledge that includes a focus on the intersections of race, class, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, dis/ability, and other vectors of identity with gender. The WGSS program offers an undergraduate minor, as well as a graduate certificate. The program’s faculty is composed of core faculty with joint appointments in WGSS and more than 50 affiliated faculty from across 25 departments and programs among five colleges. We encourage students to explore our website to familiarize themselves with our course offeringsdistinguished facultyvisiting scholars, and conferences, colloquia, and many cosponsored events.

For more information, read a message from Program Director Suzanna Walters or contact Professor Walters or the WGSS program coordinator in 263 Holmes Hall or by phone at 617.373.4984.

The WGSS Experience

WGSS minors and graduate students come from a wide variety of departments and fields across the university.

Students can expect to study a range of topics from across traditional disciplines and are encouraged to examine the work happening at the interstices of these fields. WGSS students will explore gender and sexuality in the global community by dipping into disciplines ranging throughout the social sciences, arts, humanities, and physical sciences. Studying WGSS will open up new ways of thinking, bringing gender and sexuality studies to bear on important social and intellectual questions.

03/09/20 – BOSTON, MA. – House speaker Nancy Pelosi has a conversation with WBUR reporter Meghna Chakrabarti during the Women Who Empower Summit in the East Village on March 9, 2020. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

Undergraduate co-op experiences have included experiences in the WGSS program office and many activist or political organizations around Boston and beyond. Learn more here.