Rainbow Flag on painted on brick

Highlights of Our Program

  • SDSU is the second university in the U.S. and the first in California to offer a major in LGBTQ+ Studies.
  • We have purposely named the program LGBTQ+ Studies instead of “sexuality studies” in order to foreground the focus on sexual and gender minorities.
  • Over the past five years we have offered 46 different courses at the undergraduate and graduate level from 18 departments, across 5 of the 7 colleges at SDSU.  We currently have 32 affiliated faculty members in LGBTQ+ Studies, across 5 of SDSU’s 7 colleges.
  • We offer 18 community internships with LGBTQ+ focus.
  • Last year over 80 student graduates participated in Lavender Graduation, and there were nearly 300 attendees.
  • SDSU has over a dozen LGBTQ+ organizations and offices.
  • SDSU was rated one of the top LGBTQ+ friendly college campuses each year since 2009. Most recently it was ranked #12 by Campus Pride Index.

Our Mission

LGBTQ+ Studies at San Diego State University is an independent and interdisciplinary program that is housed in the College of Arts and Letters.  LGBTQ+ Studies fosters academic excellence, cultural competency, and student leadership via courses, community internships, international experiences, and faculty mentoring. We are in line with, and support, the mission of the university in several ways. As articulated in the Mission and Goals of SDSU as found in the General Catalog, SDSU strives to include “diverse cultural legacies,” via a community “proud of its diversity and committed to furthering social justice on and off campus.”  The first academic goal is: “To encourage the intellectual and creative development of a diverse group of students by helping them to learn about themselves and others, their own and other cultural and social heritages, and their environment.” Indeed, diversity constitutes about one-third of the Mission and Goals Statement, including gender identity and sexual orientation. Diversity and inclusiveness are viewed as high priorities. SDSU aims to attract and retain a critical mass of diverse students, faculty, and staff, support them in seeking the highest achievement, provide a supportive campus climate, encourage mutual respect, and safeguard freedom of speech.  

The mission of the major, minor, and advanced certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies is to advance knowledge in sexual and gender identity, and increase understanding of the diverse cultural, historical, ethnic/racial, and contemporary experiences of people across sexualities.  The focus is on the changing nature of same-sex desire, sexual behavior, and same-sex relationships from antiquity to the present. Courses focus on emerging LGBTQ+ subcultures and identities from a global perspective. Throughout the program of study, we consider the full range of genders, sexualities, races, ethnicities, classes, physical abilities, religions, and political persuasions that characterize current LGBTQ+ movements and communities.  The major and advanced certificate also expose students to community service and activism via a large selection of internships. A major, minor and certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies prepare students for a large variety of careers. Students can work in LGBTQ+ non-profit agencies, law, local and national politics, health care settings, counseling centers, journalism, news media, theatre, film, fine arts, and education.

Goals for Program

  1. To develop a comprehensive understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues in the national and international context.
  2. To contribute to the intersectionalities of LGBTQ+ studies through the examination of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, geographic region, and religion.
  3. To provide a foundation for student pursuit of careers in LGBTQ+ organizations or academic disciplines that benefit from LGBTQ+ areas of knowledge.
  4. To promote SDSU faculty and student leadership---undergraduate and graduate—in LGBTQ+ scholarship, teaching, and community service.

Learning Outcomes

A student will:

  1. Make connections between abstract knowledge of LGBTQ+ issues and the practice of social activism.
  2. Use theoretical, historical, psychological, medical, political, and cultural constructions of sexuality and gender identity to analyze the rise and influence of LGBTQ+ studies in the U.S. and the world; characterize current social and political trends in LGBTQ+ affairs; propose programs and interventions designed to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ communities; develop strategies for inclusion of allies (allies are people who work with LGBTQ+ individuals to help secure their rights, safety and well-being).
  3. Collectively identify and analyze the intersectional forces of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, geographic region, and religion as they impact historical and contemporary social, legal, and medicalized trends in LGBTQ+ studies.
  4. Identify, analyze, propose and advocate for laws, regulations, policies and ethical issues regarding LGBTQ+ communities and organizations.
  5. Identify, describe, and analyze the many influences of LGBTQ+ communities on art, literature, music.

Download the curricular matrix.