Close up of a hand holding a paper cutout showing the transgender symbol.

Gender and Identity Studies

The gender and identity studies minor is interdisciplinary and widely covers work from a variety of academic disciplines. Elective coursework is offered in the departments of communication studies, criminal justice, English, history, political science, psychology, social justice, social work, and sociology. To emphasize the significance of an interdisciplinary understanding of gender and identity, students are required to take elective courses in at least two academic departments outside of gender and identity studies.

Why Saint Martin's University?

The Gender and Identity Studies minor, in keeping with the Catholic Benedictine tradition of hospitality and respect for persons, is committed to educational endeavors that emphasize openness to others and engagement with people different from ourselves. The Gender and Identity Studies program offers a comprehensive program that provides students with a multidisciplinary body of theoretical and applied knowledge about both gender and identity. The program emphasizes work grounded in women’s studies, men and masculinities studies, queer studies, and critical identity studies.

The minor gives students information about the social construction and conceptualization of gender, gendered experiences, gender identity, and the change in gender roles throughout history. The 112 program also emphasizes the study of social identities and includes classes examining race, ethnicity, sexuality, age, (dis)ability, class, nationality, and religiosity in the social world.

Research and internships

Gender and Identity studies students are active on campus. Their efforts include the coordination and production of several campus-wide awareness-focused events including Take Back the Night and the Clothesline Project.

Gender and Identity Studies Requirements

Required courses (6 credit hours) 

  • GIS 200: Introduction to Gender and Identity Studies
  • GIS 300: Feminist and Identity Theories

Elective courses (12 credit hours)

Students must choose one course in at least two different departments outside of GIS.

  • COM 201: Communication and Identity
  • COM 320: Media and Culture
  • CRJ 395 ST: Race, Gender, and Class in Criminal Justice
  • ENG 381: Women’s Literature
  • ENG 312: Literary Criticism
  • GIS 250: Men and Masculinities
  • GIS 350: Queer Theory
  • GIS 375: Gender and Pop Culture
  • GIS 295/395: Special Topics in Gender and Identity Studies
  • HIS 305: History of American Women
  • HIS 319: American Working Class History
  • PLS 360: Gender and Global Politics
  • PSY 310: Psychology of Human Sexuality
  • PSY 375: Multicultural Psychology
  • PSY 385: Psychology of Women
  • SJ 110: Introduction to Social Justice
  • SJ 301: Social Justice in Literature
  • SJ 310: Social Justice in Film
  • SOC 333: Women, Culture and Society
  • SW 316: History of Women in North American Social Work

Gender and Identity Studies at a Glance

Program Type
Main (Lacey)
Type of Instruction
In Person
College of Arts and Sciences
What can I do with this major?
A colorblock cover from a zine of three women of color.


Each year the students of WS 200: Introduction to Gender and Identity Studies create a Zine. Zines (short for magazine) are an important part of feminist communication dating back before the internet. Women would gather and create Zines to talk about sexism, patriarchy, sexual assault, and promote female artists who were largely ignored in their communities. Zines are particularly important in the Olympia community as part of the Riot Grrrl movement which began in Olympia in the early 90's. The GIS 200 Zines are free and are distributed to the Saint Martin's Community and can also be found at local bookstores.

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Transformative outcomes

Career paths

  • Teaching
  • Journalism
  • Higher education administration
  • Government relations
  • Women's advocacy
  • Legal aid
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Supportive community


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College of Arts and Sciences

Spanning the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, and characterized by an educational environment that is both rigorous and supportive, the College of Arts and Sciences offers 20 undergraduate major programs and 20 minor programs.

Next steps

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