Why Choose Gender & Sexuality Studies?

Students of Gender & Sexuality Studies at UCI learn to think in flexible and rigorous ways. Taking classes with leading scholars in the field, they learn how feminist transnational analysis can be used to study many compelling phenomena, including histories of identity production, body politics, religion and gender, the politics of fashion, remote intimacy through technology, environmental politics, and sexual rights. As part of a unit that highly values undergraduate research, students have the opportunity to do research on a project that they design, while working closely with a faculty advisor. They also have an opportunity to become part of an exciting intellectual community.

The interdisciplinary major and minors offered through UCI’s Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies teach students skills that are valuable in a wide range of careers and life experiences. Among these skills are the ability to engage in critical thinking, informed decision-making, and effective communication.

Our courses integrate many aspects of learning, allowing students to apply what they  learn in school to the world around them. For example, they learn to decode signs and ideological messages in popular culture, they come to appreciate the value of using intellectual tools to interpret elements of everyday life, and they gain an ability to understand how knowledge production is linked to power. These insights are beneficial in many dimensions of life before and after graduation. Graduates of Gender & Sexuality Studies bring unique skills and knowledge to the professions of law, academia, science, medicine, social work, philanthropy, business, diplomacy, counseling, and government service, all of which increasingly require expertise on issues concerning women and gender.

What our students have to say about studying Gender & Sexuality Studies at UCI:

Siobhan Daley

Class of 2016
"I took a queer studies class my freshman year, and then another women's studies class the next quarter, and I had never felt so passionate about any other topic, so I knew I had to change my major.  I have most enjoyed learning about how gendered perspectives in media have developed. People should choose to study Gender & Sexuality Studies because it educates students on so many ongoing social issues and the history behind them.”

Tracy Gardner

Class of 2010
I graduated with a double major in Women's Studies and Art History in 2010. After graduating I worked for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions doing installations, archival research, and public works. Specifically, I worked on a Los Angeles wide rape intervention and awareness project titled Three Weeks in January. I'm now completing a Masters degree in American Studies at Cal State Fullerton with an emphasis on resistance in art and viral culture. I have a feminist podcast, Rebel Grrrl, that has allowed me to utilize my skills from Women's Studies at UCI to call for diversity and representation in video games, comics and film.

My first women's studies class was incredibly eye opening and exposed me to a whole new side of academia. It made me realize there was an area of humanities that actively sought to change the status quo of cultural discourse.  I enjoyed learning how to do intersectional research and apply various methodologies to complex social issues. I was challenged in each course by rigorous and edifying scholarly standards and it improved my writing and research skills greatly.  Women's studies is often portrayed as very niche. I think people would be surprised to find that it is a vast area of scholarship that incorporates other fields of study to synthesize important work.  The program is demanding and ambitious and it crafts better thinkers and scholars. In every course I was able to study a wide range of subjects, from computer sciences, biology, legal theory, and science fiction. . . .

(read more)

Cameron Joe

Class of 2012
Cameron Joe 2012 

After graduating with a minor in queer studies in 2012, I went on to teach abroad in Japan. Currently I work for a non-profit working on peace, nuclear disarmament, anti-war, and environmental sustainability through grassroots projects around the globe. The Gender and Sexuality Studies program has equipped me with critical thinking, writing, research, and public speaking skills that have enabled me to think through and organize in a global, transnational context. Many of the books, films, theories, and ideas that we discussed remain a critical part of my political and ethical framework that enhances and informs the work I continue to do professionally. The faculty provided a nurturing space for students from all backgrounds to learn and grow. The faculty also went above and beyond to ensure that spaces were welcoming, accessible, and warm. This sense of community—intellectual, social, and political—is something I did not find anywhere else on campus, and something that I sorely miss after leaving the university. I personally would not be where I am in life if not for the faculty and students in the GSS program. If you are a student interested in learning about history, philosophy, society, media, art, critical analysis, power, gender, and/or sexuality, GSS will facilitate your growth, knowledge, and expertise in these areas in exciting ways.

Sasha Sabherwal

Class of 2014 - GSS
"I graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS) in 2014 and am now a PhD student at Yale University in American Studies. Arriving at UC Irvine in 2009 was a daunting and overwhelming experience, but these anxieties were quickly mediated through my courses in GSS. The department offered me an intimate home to think critically, ask questions, and build on my ideas. Rather than simply responding to given questions, the department challenged me to interrogate the very logics attached to the questions themselves. The seminar space of my GSS courses provided meaningful discussion that I had not found elsewhere at UC Irvine; the conversations mattered because we were concerned with what was at stake. These conversations pushed me to deconstruct concepts of power and dominant hierarchies that I had initially taken for granted. In addition to reading highly sophisticated theoretical texts and asking me to think rigorously, the department provided immense support and resources in my pursuit of graduate study. For instance, GSS offered generous funds to attend a national conference, gave me a platform to present on my research, and assisted me with my application to graduate school. Alongside these incredible opportunities, many of my GSS professors encouraged me to read closely, apply a critical lens, and make an argument — skills that are now integral in my current training. I truly believe that without GSS as a home, I would not be in a graduate program. I would not be committed to . . .

(read more)