Gender and Sexuality Studies Concentration

Legal issues relating to gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity are at the forefront of many areas of law, including civil rights, family law, and employment discrimination. In this concentration, students complete studies focusing on individual rights and social justice movements as well as problems of theory. Course offerings in the Concentration range widely—from Domestic Violence, to Gender Identity & the Law, to Sports, Law & Culture. To complete the Concentration, students are required to take 18 credits, choosing from one of two core courses and numerous electives, which must include a writing project and a practical skills component.

Students are required to take one of the following two courses, or an equivalent approved by the Concentration Advisor. If a student takes both required courses, one will be credited as an elective (see elective courses below).

Required Course:

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & the Law or Gender & the Law

*Elective Courses: In addition to taking one of the two required courses and fulfilling the practical skills and writing requirements, students are required to take electives sufficient to fulfill the balance of the 18 credits required for the Concentration. Equivalent courses may be approved by the Concentration Advisor:

Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Civil Rights
Comparative Constitutional Law
Critical Race Theory
Domestic Violence (description)
Employment Discrimination (description)
Family Law (description)
Gender & Criminal Law
Gender & the Law (description)
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & the Law (description)
Genetics & the Law
Jurisprudence
Law & Social Change
Title IX: Sex Discrimination & Education (description)

Writing Component:

Students must complete a substantial piece of writing in the Concentration. The paper requirement does not require that students earn any credits beyond the required and elective credits described above. However, the topic and the arrangement for fulfilling the writing requirement must be approved in advance by the Concentration Advisor. The paper could be written to fulfill the requirements of a QWC or other course offering, an independent study, or a law review note. It may also be possible to fulfill this requirement by completing a substantial piece of writing in conjunction with an externship, such as a draft legal brief, significant legal memorandum, or human rights report, or by writing a paper independently, such as a submission to a writing competition or an article for publication. In all of these arrangements, the prior approval of the Concentration Advisor is required.

Practical Skills:

Students must complete a practical skills component in the Concentration, which could be a clinic including gender-related themes, such as the Legal Services Clinic, or a 4-credit or 2-credit externship supervised by a cooperating faculty member and approved by the Concentration Advisor. Examples of appropriate organizations with which to seek an externship include the Mass Trans Political Coalition, GLAD, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Massachusetts Human Rights Commission, or the Connecticut Office of the Victim Advocate. (These organizations are listed as examples only and have not necessarily agreed to accept externs for any given semester).

Williams Moot Court

International Human Rights clinic (description)

*Note: Some courses will not be offered every Academic Year.