Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Major

See Degree Requirements for course of study.


Download the powerpoint below to view the new Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Major

FileSGQS Major Presentation.pptx


Scholarship meets Society: Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies at Portland State University

The brand new bachelor's degree (officially approved in 2017) in Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies is an unparalleled program exclusive to Portland State University. No other school in the state of Oregon combines women’s studies, sociology, biology, psychology, literature and cultural studies to examine the issues connected to sexuality, gender, and queer politics in this country and around the world.

Students in the Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies major experience a unique blend of theory, critical analysis, interdisciplinary coursework, and relevant real-world experience with an emphasis on activism in their communities. Graduates from this new, innovative program will leave Portland State University prepared to be leaders in academia, business and industry, and nonprofit organizations.


Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Gives Voice to the Voiceless through a Combination of Activism and Critical Analysis

One of Portland State's newest programs, Sexuallity, Gender, and Queer Studies was created for students to explore different areas of queer scholarship, queer of color theory and the broad history of gender and sexuality. Through careful study and analysis in these areas, the Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies major at Portland State encourages students to become leaders in their communities, and to become activists for LGBTQ and other marginalized populations.

The professors and staff who created this new degree understand that for a complete and nuanced education in Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies many different academic areas need to be studied alongside one another. The Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies major is designed to provide students with a holistic view of the discipline, and encourages students to integrate courses from other departments into their Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies major electives.

In addition to electives offered through Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, students can  enhance their degree with diverse electives from such departments as:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Black Studies
  • History
  • Chicano Studies
  • Indigenous Nations Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Public Health

Through immersion in many different facets of the major in Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies, students graduate with a wealth of skills and professional expertise, giving them the ability to land a career in which they can use their education to better the lives of people around them and change entrenched systems of exclusion.

Check out a full list of Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies degree requirements and course listings.

Faculty Expertise Facilitates Student Success

Portland State University is proud of its close connection students have with their professors and department faculty, and the Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies program is no different. The professors in the Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies program at Portland State University are path-breaking and active scholars, thus, their classes are always relevant and applicable to the professional world of Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies. Their scholarship covers a wide variety of academic topics such as:

An important asset Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies faculty bring to Portland State is the close connection they feel with their students. Through this connection, professors have designed this new degree to best fit student needs and interests, as well as to enchance  students interactions within the broader Portland LGBTQ community.


Portland State Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Goes Beyond the Classroom

Few degree programs are as active in their community as Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies. Whether it's volunteering at the Women's Resource Center and Queer Resource Centers on campus, working with programs and nonprofits around Portland, or organizing awareness events on campus, Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies majors are immersed in real-world experiences.

An exciting example of this is the degree's senior-level practicum. Through the practicum, students connect with their community and campus organizations to put what they are learning in classes to practice in professional arenas. The practicum allows students to gain meaningful on-the-job experiences that allow them to build a strong resume and professional set of job skills for when they graduate.

Practicum opportunities take place at campus resource centers and local nonprofit organizations. Some are geared toward advocating for LGBTQ and other disenfranchised populations while other placements allow Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies majors to contribute ideas and knowledge to other organizations. Students can  explore internships with a variety of local Portland organizations, including:

Through these practicum experiences, students act in a variety of roles, including interacting directly with clients; graphic design and marketing projects; maintaining databases, donor lists and other organizational tasks; organizing social justice outreach events, and offering support services to other students.


Rewarding Careers Await Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Graduates

The unique blend of coursework, community experience, and connection with faculty means that Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies graduates are able to succeed at a wide array of organizations, businesses and agencies all over the country. Graduates of the Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies degree have the skills to go on to rewarding careers in:

  • Community Activism and Government: Organizations like Multnomah County, Portland Public Schools, and regional public health organizations look to hire those with an understanding of LGBTQ communities.
  • Youth Programs: Philanthropic and nonprofit organizations that meet the needs of LGBTQ youth and other marginalized young people are great fits for graduates.
  • Social Justice and Law: Either through research or legal practice, the rights and liberties of LGBTQ and other communities are supported by graduates from programs like the one at Portland State.
  • Social Work: Working with government agencies, graduates can pursue careers at organizations helping at-risk populations find resources and get the help they need.

Students are also encouraged to pursue graduate studies to extend their understanding of the discipline. More schools every year are expanding their current programs to include advanced study in Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Studies. These schools include, but are not limited to:

  • San Francisco State University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Vermont
  • Ohio State University
  • University of South Florida


Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Resources on Campus

Portland State has three key resource centers on campus that may be of interest to Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies majors, both as a personal resources  and as  potential volunteer or practicum opportunities.

Women's Resource Center

The Portland State University Women's Resource Center advocates for the best educational and campus experience for all members of our community. They accomplish this by advancing social justice, ensuring access to personal empowerment for students of all genders, and by working toward a safe and healthy campus.

Queer Resource Center

The Queer Resource Center provides students along the sexuality and gender spectrum with the support they need to persist to graduation. They build conscious coalitions among sexuality and gender related organizations within Portland State University and the surrounding community to strengthen support structures across communities and identities.

Cultural Resource Centers

The Cultural Resource Centers provide student leadership, employment, and volunteer opportunities, student resources such as computer labs, event, lounge and study spaces, and extensive programming. The Cultural Resource Centers value diversity, social justice, cultural traditions, student identities, success and leadership.



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Degree Requirements:

In addition to meeting the general University degree requirements, the student majoring in Sexuality, Gender, & Queer Studies must complete three areas in the program for a total of 56 credits:

  • Core curriculum of seven courses (28 credits)
  • Experiential learning program (practicum) (8 credits)
  • Electives (20 credits)


Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Core Curriculum (28 credits)

  • UNST 231 Gender & Sexualities SINQ or WS 332U Race, Class, Gender, & Sexuality (4 credits/4 credits)
  • WS 360U Intro to Queer Studies (4 credits)
  • WS 381 Queer of Color Theorizing and Perspectives (pre-req: WS 360U or WS 305) (4 credits)
  • WS 482 Topics in Transnational Sexualities Studies (pre-req: Junior Standing) (4 credits)
  • WS 412/512 Feminist Theory & Methodology (pre-req: WS 315 or WS381) (4 credits)
  • WS 415 Senior Seminar (pre-req: WS 412) (4 credits)


Experiential Learning (8 credits)

This part of the curriculum provides students with the opportunity to connect knowledge from the classroom to experience in community service activities. Students earn credits by working with community or campus organizations which serve women and/or focus on social justice issues.

  • WS 409 Practicum (6 credits)
  • WS 411 Experiental Learning Seminar (2 credits)

Click here for more information about Practicum, including current forms and opportunities.


Electives (20 credits)

16 of these 20 credits must be from upper-division courses. All electives must be approved by an adviser for applicability to the major.

  • WS 308U Lesbian Literature (4 credits)
  • WS 308U Masculinities (4 credits)
  • WS 308U Gender, Class, Culture (4 credits)
  • WS/ENG 372U Topics in Gender, Sexuality, and Literature (4 credits)
  • WS 375U Topics in Sexuality Studies (4 credits)
  • WS 382U Transgender Studies (4 credits)
  • WS 481 Disability and Intersectionality (4 credits)
  • ANTH 432 Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (4 credits)
  • BST 324 Black Masculinities (4 credits)
  • BST 342 Black Feminism/Womanism (4 credits)
  • CFS 340U Queer Families (4 credits)
  • CFS 390U Sex and the Family (4 credits)
  • COMM 337U Communication and Gender (4 credits)
  • COMM 452 Gender and Race in the Media (4 credits)
  • PHE 335 Human Sexuality (4 credits)
  • PHE 453 Women's Reproductive Health (4 credits)
  • PHL 369U Philosophy of Sex and Love (4 credits)
  • PSY 431 Psychology of Men and Masculinities (4 credits)
  • SOC 344U Gender and Sexualities (4 credits)
  • SPAN 349 Forbidden Love (4 credits)

Note: Other variable and special topic courses with a focus on sexuality may count as electives; in these instances consult with a SGQS advisor for approval. The minimum grade allowed to pass major requirements will be 1.7 C-. The only major requirement with P/NP grading option is WS 409.

*If SGQS is your first major, you may need to take an additional SINQ to satisfy UNST requirements; in other words, if you take UNST231 for the major, it can't be used to meet UNST requirements.


Download Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies Major academic worksheet


View a degree map for the Sexuality, Gender, Queer Studies major.


If you are interested in double majoring in Womens Studies and Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies click here for handout.


For academic advising visit our advising page.