Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies program

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor

Understand how social transformation is possible

Do you want to know how to understand problems of social, economic, racial, and gender inequality? Do you want to be part of the solution?

The Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies program is devoted to empowering students to think critically and intersectionally about race, gender, and sexuality, and to challenge inequitable structures. Alongside our students and communities, we advance critical conversations and movement toward social justice through teaching, research, service, and community engagement, including our pre-college Self Sufficiency Program. Through RGSS, students understand themselves, their place in the world, and how social transformation is possible.

What is Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies?

RGSS is an interdisciplinary program that helps students understand the enormous diversity of the U.S. and a globalizing world, and the structures of inequality on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, and social class that shape this world. Students uncover hidden histories that include experiences of discrimination and marginalization, as well as of resilience, resistance, and coalition building. In RGSS, we work with students to develop research and communication skills to help students creatively use the knowledge and practices of our discipline, preparing them for careers, advanced degrees, and engaged citizenship.

I loved that we had opportunities to choose where to invest our time and energy in the program; I had so many opportunities to tailor assignments to my interests, to write papers about topics that were especially compelling to me.

Carrie Bero

Types of careers

RGSS prepares students for any career. Research shows that programs like ours develop future leaders who know how to advocate for others, and for themselves, in any workplace. RGSS students in any workplace know how to look critically at policies and practices, and ask: how could we do this better by being more inclusive? See testimonials from graduates on our homepage to learn how our grads are using their degrees.

Business positions such as:

  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • Project management
  • All health care fields
  • Counseling
  • Social work
  • Non-profit leadership
  • Education
  • Government work at all levels
  • Community development and organizing
  • Policy development and law

What distinguishes UWL's Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program?

Interdisciplinary major and minor

This program is applicable to diverse fields and is open to students in any major across campus.

Award-winning department for Inclusive Excellence

Through the implementation of Inclusive Excellence, UWL pledges to continue to commit human and financial resources that support an inclusive campus that attracts and retains diverse students, faculty and staff and promotes a dynamic learning environment vital for academic excellence and global citizenship.

Internship opportunities for students

The department encourages an facilitates student internships, including:

  • A long-standing “in-house” internship in the Self Sufficiency Program, designed to improve access to higher education for single-parents and other adults
  • In-house internships in the RGSS library, programming, or social media/marketing
  • Community internships, including, New Horizons, Bluff Country Family Resources, American Association of University Women, Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council, Planned Parenthood, and the YWCA.
Additional learning and connecting experiences outside the classroom

RGSS faculty are committed to expanding the horizons of students beyond the classroom. Examples include:

  • An annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage, open to all students, in January term, exposing students to 10 historic Southern cities and more than 15 museums and historic sites over 10 days, anchored by faculty expertise.
  • A summer Study Abroad program to Japan.
  • Student mentoring: hands-on approach to helping students plan for academics, careers, and involvement, including links to community mentors.
  • Numerous connections to community experts in areas such as gendered violence prevention, some of whom offer “peer review” on student projects.
  • Campus programs and invited speakers: RGSS faculty work to bring in speakers from beyond the campus and invite campus leaders to speak on topics of race, gender, sexuality, and class.
  • Connections to social justice programs and events across campus: RGSS helps connect students to resources to fuel their passions and meet their needs to create a sense of belonging and involvement, through relationships with areas like the Center for Transformative Justice, the Pride Center, and the Office of Multicultural Student Services.
  • RGSS Library: Adjacent to the RGSS office, this historic library of feminist, anti-racist, social justice literature provides a study resource as well as educational displays and a student-friendly study and gathering space.
  • Student club: Affiliated with RGSS, the College Feminists provide students as well as the La Crosse community with advocacy on women’s and gender issues, often collaborating with other clubs for educational activities as well as fun socializing.
Self-Sufficiency Program

This semester-long program concentrates on critical reading, writing, and thinking to prepare low-income people, often single parents, for successful college work. Classes meet one night per week and child care is provided. SSP also provides internship opportunities for women’s studies students.

Hmong and Hmong American Studies Certificate

Housed in the Department of RGSS, the Hmong and Hmong-American Studies Certificate offers an excellent opportunity for students to learn about this rich culture and history. Through a set of carefully-structured courses, students use a critical lens to explore topics related to Hmong studies.

Sample courses

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