Undergraduate Program

The Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality offers both a concentration (major) and secondary field (minor) for undergraduate students. Juniors can apply to write an undergraduate thesis during their senior year or to pursue a joint concentration, which gives them the opportunity to do in-depth research in WGS and another department.

Exploring Gender and Sexuality Across Disciplines 

Harvard’s Program in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality brings together a wide range of academic fields in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences (including history, literature, visual studies, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, LGBT studies, political science, psychology, and biology, to name just a few). As an interdisciplinary field of study, WGS pays close attention to how social norms have changed over time and how they vary across cultures.  

Fostering Student-Faculty Exchange 

All WGS students receive individual attention and advising from a core group of dedicated and highly engaged faculty. Faculty members are involved with students’ academic development at every stage of the concentration. Many of the courses offered by WGS are seminars, allowing for dynamic and productive dialogue between students and faculty. Special lectures and workshops occur throughout the year, creating opportunities for the exchange of ideas between undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, and the development of a vibrant intellectual community.  

WGS prides itself on the broad range of its course offerings as well as the individual attention it offers to each student. Concentrators enjoy the opportunity to engage in small-group tutorials and to conduct original research in their chosen fields of interest, whether or not they choose to write a thesis. If you'd like to talk with a current WGS student about the concentration, you can reach out to one of our peer advisers for their insight and advice.

WGS concentrators regularly pursue independent research projects in collaboration with faculty from across the campus. Many of our students also take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad or to write a senior thesis. About half of our students choose to pursue a joint concentration. In keeping with our commitment to interdisciplinary study, we actively welcome joint concentrators and have had them from a wide range of concentrations, including:

  • African and African-American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • English and American Literature
  • History and Literature
  • History of Science
  • Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Government
  • Religion
  • Romance Languages and Literature
  • Social Studies
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Visual and Environmental Studies

Preparing Students for a Wide Range of Careers 

WGS courses are characterized by a strong commitment to critical thinking and problem solving, preparing students for a variety of careers and post-graduate degrees. Here’s a sampling of what WGS alumnae/i have done after graduation:  

  • Practiced law for the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana; the NAACP; the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders; Ms. Foundation for Women  
  • Written speeches for President Obama  
  • Earned M.F.A.s, M.D.s, M.D./Ph.D.s, MSWs, J.D.s, M.Ed.s, M.Phil.s, M.Sc.s, Ph.D.s  
  • Authored books including Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real AnswersThe Sex Diaries ProjectThe TALL Book  
  • Held professorships in history, political science, American studies, biological anthropology, math; taught for Teach For America
  • Taught at the primary, secondary and college levels 

Why concentrate in WGS?

  • The small size of WGS, combined with its atmosphere of intellectual passion and openness, provides students with a unique sense of community.
  • WGS routinely ranks high in student satisfaction on the annual Senior Survey.
  • The Program places a premium on excellence in teaching, and WGS faculty regularly win teaching awards.
  • WGS welcomes joint concentrators from all disciplinary backgrounds—the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities—and can be combined with a pre-med course of study.
  • Most WGS courses are conducted as seminars, with close, individual attention from faculty.
  • All WGS concentrators, joint and full, receive individual advising from the Director and Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • All General Education courses taught by WGS faculty count for credit toward the WGS concentration or secondary field.