Gender Studies (BA)


The Gender Studies major explores how gender and sexuality influence constructions of human identity historically and culturally, and how these in turn shape human development, behavior, and the processes of justice. Students in the major will learn to examine gender and sexuality from a broad variety of academic perspectives. As such, they become versatile thinkers with strong skills in critical problem solving, research, data collection, and writing. The Gender Studies major has been designed in the best tradition of liberal arts study: courses are structured to support independent inquiry, ethical reflection, and critical thought, and they culminate in a final research project that enables students to test their skills on a question of their own choosing. Students graduating with a B.A. in Gender Studies go on to a wide variety of careers and post-graduate study, including the arts, business, education, health care, media, politics, law, public policy and social work.

Learning outcomes. Students will:

• Be able to identify and analyze how assumptions about gender and sexuality influence the construction of human identity, and do so with sensitivity to historical, cultural, and geographic contexts.
• Produce written arguments that explore the complex interrelationships between gender and sexuality and other identity categories, such as race, class, nationality, age, and physical disability.
• Discuss major topics and approaches in the history of feminist theory, queer theory, masculinity studies, and gender studies, and be able to critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of any given approach.
• Perform independent research on a topic related to gender or sexuality with stated disciplinary and interdisciplinary methods, and compose an informed research paper communicating scholarly and disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary approaches to gender analysis.
• Connect scholarly inquiry on gender and sexuality to theories of justice, criminality, and human rights, concerns specifically related to John Jay’s educational mission.

Credits required: 36                            Four Year Academic Plan

Coordinator: Professor Katie Gentile, Department of Counseling, (212.237.8110,

Additional Information: Students who enrolled for the first time at the College or who changed to this major in September of 2014 or thereafter must complete the major in the form presented here. Students who enrolled prior to the date may choose either the form shown here or the earlier version of the major. A copy of the earlier version may be obtained in the Undergraduate Bulletin 2013-14 on the College Website at:



GEN 101 Introduction to Gender Studies or ISP 145 Why Gender Matters
GEN 205 Gender and Justice
GEN 255/BIO 255 The Biology of Gender and Sexuality
GEN 364/HIS 364 The History of Gender and Sexuality: Prehistory to 1650

PART TWO. CRITICAL METHODS Subtotal: 3 credits


GEN 333/PHI 333 Theories of Gender and Sexuality


Choose one

HJS 315 Research Methods in the Humanities and Justice Studies
SSC 325 Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences

PART FOUR. SENIOR SEMINAR Subtotal: 3 credits


GEN 401 Senior Seminar

Students select five electives from Gender Studies-designated courses and may substitute a semester-long internship in a gender-related field or an approved Independent Study with a GS faculty (GEN 389 or 489) for one elective. To ensure that students are exposed to significant and significantly different approaches to thinking about gender and sexuality, students must take at least one course in each of the following categories:

Category A. Diversities of Genders and Sexualities
These courses focus on non-dominant U.S. constructions of gender and sexuality internationally and among diverse communities and cultures in the United States. Recognizing that gender and sexuality are defined as much by their positioning within global political, social and economic systems as by their individual racial, ethnic, religious, class or sexual identity, this cluster offers a comparative look at both the individual and the global aspects of gender and sexuality. Courses that satisfy this requirement will examine the diversity of histories, experiences and cultures within the United States or internationally.

Choose at least one

AFR 248 Men: Masculinities in the United States
COR 320 Race, Class and Gender in a Correctional Context
GEN 356/HIS 356 Sexuality, Gender and Culture in Muslim Societies
GEN 380 Selected Topics in Gender Studies
HIS 270 Marriage in Medieval Europe
HIS 375 Female Felons in the Premodern World
LLS 255 The Latin American Woman in Global Society
LLS 265/HIS 265 Class, Race and Family in Latin American History

Category B. Cultural Representations of Genders and Sexualities
These courses focus on the study of art, media, literature and cultural production both as sites of theoretical and political work about gender and sexuality and as sources of the construction and representation of gendered/sexed identities. Courses that satisfy this requirement will examine forms of expression and representation, such as literature, art, philosophy, theory, and cinema, as constitutive and contested arenas of sexuality and gender.

Choose at least one

ART 222 Body Politics and Art in Global and Historical Perspectives
ART 224/AFR 224 African American Women in Art
DRA 243 Black Female Sexuality in Film
DRA 245 Women in Theatre
LIT 316 Gender and Identity in Literary Tranditions

Category C. Institutional Systems of Genders & Sexualities
These courses address the construction of gender and sexuality within the legal, economic and social structures of our society. They look at the very pragmatic ways that societies both reinforce and undermine gender and sexuality through their policies and social practices. Courses that satisfy this requirement will investigate historical or contemporary gender and sexuality within law, sociology, economics, government, criminology, and psychology.

Choose at least one

ANT 210/PSY 210/SOC 210 Sex and Culture
CRJ 420SOC 420 Women and Crime
CSL 260 Gender and Work Life
ECO 327 Political Economy of Gender
GEN 380 Selected Topics in Gender Studies
ISP 334 Sex, Gender and Justice in Global Perspective
POL 237 Women and Politics
POL 318 The Law and Politics of Sexual Orientation
POL 319 Gender and the Law
PSC 235 Women in Policing
PSY 333 Psychology of Gender
SOC 215 Social Control and Gender: Women in American Society
SOC 333 Gender Issues in International Criminal Justice

Students must consult with the Gender Studies Major Coordinator to ensure adequate coverage.
In addition to the regularly offered electives listed above, a number of unique electives that count toward the major will be offered each semester. The Director of the Gender Studies Program will compile a list each semester and disperse it amongst Gender Studies majors and minors.

Total credits: 36