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Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dedicated her life to making the lives of women in the United States better.

– March 15, 1933 to September 18, 2020

sketch of RBG with quote

Read "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion of Gender Equality,  Dies at 87," from NPR.

 Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) major and Women’s Studies (WMST) minor. We are excited to be part of your journey at CSUSM, and we look forward to sharing what we love about our interdisciplinary field of study and working with you to achieve your academic goals.

students in class

As you explore our department, keep in mind that this is only an introduction. We encourage you to contact our faculty to learn more about our degree programs and curriculum. The WGSS major and WMST minor join 22 other majors and 33 minors within the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (CHABSS). The CHABSS Dean’s Office has many student services, in particular, the following two articles that might help you in your academic journey: “Your Professors Are Your Best Resource” and “Making & Staying on the Dean’s List.”

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students explore profound themes that change lives and develop a sense of social justice. Our WGSS Department offers an intersectional feminist, interdisciplinary, and academically rigorous program.

We consider such questions as:

  • How are we shaped by politics, economics, art, culture, social media, our changing environment, and education?
  • What expectations are placed on us relative to variables such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, faith, ability, and age, and how can such expectations be productively challenged?
  • How do concepts such as identity, family, and work affect us?
  • What can we learn from studying inequalities—such as sexism, racism, classism, ageism, ableism, heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia—and how can that learning be applied to our lives, our communities, our nation, and the global community? 

WGSS Curriculum and Career Preparation

The WGSS Department offers interdisciplinary courses that examine gender in relation to race, class, sexuality, and other identity markers, in national and international contexts. Our students gain a solid academic foundation on which they develop the professional skills necessary for rewarding careers in the 21st century. Analytical thinking, writing, teamwork, research skills, and a commitment to social justice prepare WGSS students for careers in diverse areas: education, international relations, government, technology, health, counseling, law, human resources, social services, journalism, the creative arts, and public safety, among others.

Our faculty are eager to introduce you to a life-changing curriculum. You’ll find dedicated mentors, learn to advocate for justice, broaden your career prospects, and develop enduring friends in the WGSS Department.

Again, we encourage you to explore our website and contact us to learn more about our Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major and our Women’s Studies minor.

 WGSS logo


Contact Us

Department Chair

Dr. Jodie Lawston 

Student Advisor

Dr. Jodie Lawston 

Administrative Coordinator

Christie Ashley
Phone:  760-750-8054 

The WGSS program is a revelation. Anyone can retweet a political slogan, but learning about how our society attempts to define us, about how to challenge injustices, this is the perfect field of study for a fulfilling career no matter where I end up. I've learned how to work collaboratively with diverse people, how to lead with a social conscience, how to make a positive difference in people's lives and my own.

 WGSS Graduate


Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.

-Maya Angelou, U.S. Author