Gender Studies

The Gender Studies Program is offered by the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, within the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).

About the major

A major in Gender Studies offers you a unique interdisciplinary perspective on how gender shapes both formal knowledge and everyday experience. Since Simone de Beauvoir first announced, ‘One is not born a woman, one becomes one’, the study of gender has emerged as one of the most important areas of enquiry in the Humanities and Social Sciences. A major in Gender Studies enriches our knowledge of the practices, performances and representations that inform our understanding of masculinity, femininity, sexuality and identity and provides an important framework for considering social issues, ranging from debates about marriage equality and new forms of intimacy to gendered forms of labour, violence and representational practices. A major in Gender Studies will equip you with interdisciplinary research and writing skills that provide an important complement to degrees in Arts and Social Sciences, Law, Psychology, Nursing and Medicine and will assist in enhancing career prospects in these disciplines and fields.

Pathway through the major

A major in Gender Studies requires 36 senior credit points, including at least 12 credit points from core units of study at 2000 level and at least 6 credit points of core units of study at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for Gender Studies. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

In first year you will complete GCST1602 Introduction to Gender Studies and GCST1601 Introduction to Cultural Studies. You may replace one or both of these units with any junior units from Anthropology or Sociology or PHIL1011 Reality, Ethics and Beauty, PHIL1013 Society, Knowledge and Self, ENGL1008 Australian Texts: International Contexts or ENGL1026 Constructing the Fictive Self.

GCST1602 Introduction to Gender Studies familiarises students with foundational concepts in the study of gender, including how gender organises our lives, bodies, sexualities and desires.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

You can choose from a range of senior intermediate (2000 level) units of study that are designed to broaden your knowledge of issues related to the study of gender, including sexuality and identity, sexuality and violence, theories of intimacy and friendship and masculinity. You complete a minimum of 12 credit points at 2000 level from core units of study.

Progression is achieved through both breadth and depth, allowing you to explore the diversity of approaches to the study of gender, sexuality and identity.

Senior-advanced (3000 level) units of study extend the research and learning experience for students. These options build on junior and senior-intermediate areas of study, including sexuality, queer theory, the body and ideas of intimacy, community and belonging but allow for a greater depth of focus either through the use of sophisticated theoretical tools or research methods, or both. For a major in Gender Studies you complete a minimum of 6 credit points of core units at 3000 level.


To proceed to fourth year honours in Gender Studies, you will need to complete at least 48 senior credit points from the Gender Studies unit of study table with a credit average.

It is also possible to do joint honours in Gender and Cultural Studies. Prospective students for this joint program should see the Departmental website or handbook.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

Contact/further information

Information on our units of study and staff with whom to discuss the program is available at, or by phoning the SOPHI Office on +61 2 9351 2862.