BlogUSYDWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Gender Studies at USYD

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Gender Studies at USYD

Gender Studies USYD - Fact Sheet

Do you find yourself drawn to a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies at USYD?

If you are a critical, analytical and independent thinker who is passionate about the understanding of identities and social issues, then this degree is the perfect fit! We’ve bundled up all the information you need to know about this exciting and worthwhile undergraduate course.

Let’s jump right in!

What is a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies at USYD?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies at USYD
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies at USYD?

First of all, let’s look into what a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is and what it can offer you. 

A Bachelor of Arts incorporates a range of subjects that, broadly speaking, explore ideas of identity, cultures, contexts and what it means to be human. In studying a Bachelor of Arts, students are offered an incredibly diverse education.

With each subject you undertake, you expand your knowledge and worldview, discover new modes of thinking and are exposed to readings that give you an insight into both old and new worlds! In comparing and contrasting different contexts to your own, arts students have the ability to critically analyse our present time, make change and create a better world.

Gender Studies as a Major

Gender Studies is a major available within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at USYD. As a gender studies student, you will gain a unique perspective on how gender shapes both formal knowledge and everyday experiences.

It encourages you to think beyond long-established ideas of what it means to be male and female and to recognise the various ways that people embody and experience gender in their day to day lives.

This degree has introduced me to so many topics and concepts I’d never even heard of, and allowed me to explore my identity, my passions, and my values.” — Serena Sharp, Bachelor of Arts (Gender Studies) III at USYD

Can this degree be studied in conjunction with another or is there an Honours pathway?

A Bachelor of Arts can be studied as a double degree and the Faculty also gives students the option to take up honours in their fourth year.

Admission to Honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires applicants to have completed within the last five years a Bachelor of Arts with a weighted average mark of 70% in their Gender Studies Major.

Career Paths 

Given the range of subjects you can study in a BA, there are literally hundreds of jobs and industries that arts graduates can be found working in! The opportunities are endless as the broadness of the degree opens up more doors for you, not less.

General Career OptionsGender Studies Based Career Options
- Anthropologist 
- Analyst
- Archaeologist
- Archivist
- Business administrator or manager
- Creative Lead
- Editor or Publisher
- Foreign affairs and trade officer
- Government Policy Officer
- Historian
- Heritage Specialist
- Marketing and Communications Specialist
- Media Producer
- Museum or Gallery Curator
- Researcher
- Sociologist
- Advertising Executive
- Banking Professional
- Diplomat
- Podcaster
- Journalist
- Screenwriter or author
- Advocacy and Welfare Officer
- Community Development Officer
- Journalist or Cultural Critic 
- Academic
- Health and Welfare Officer
- Human Resources Officer
- Political and Public Policy Adviser 
- Social Researcher
- Teacher (with further study)
- Social Worker (with further study)

Core Units for this Degree

The Bachelor of Arts degree at USYD offers students an exciting array of majors to choose from such as, American Studies, Art History, Theatre and Performance Studies, Anthropology, Philosophy, Economics, Criminology, English, Film Studies, International Relations and more! With the large variety of subjects in store, each arts student’s path is unique to them and their passions.

Let’s, however, focus on the Gender Studies major for those who want to become informed and engage critically with contemporary cultural issues and everyday experiences. 

A major in Gender Studies at USYD will give students the ability to comprehend diversity issues, which is vital to workplace competency. This major equips you with desirable employability skills, such as analytics, research, writing and critical thinking!

A gender studies major will also learn the value of intellectual generosity through studying how power operates discursively.

What are the Core Units and the requirements?

To major in Gender Studies you must complete 48 credit points, including:

    • 6 credit points of 1000-level core units 
    • 6 credit points of 1000-level selective units
    • 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
    • 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
    • 18 credit points of 3000-level units
    • 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units

Core units include, Introduction to Gender Studies in your first year and Bodies, Sexualities, Identities in your second year. 

Introduction to Gender Studies will explore foundational concepts and questions like, how does gender organise lives, bodies, sexualities and desires? How does gender relate to sex and sexuality? Are there really only two genders? How and why is gender such an integral part of how we identify ourselves and others?

Bodies, Sexualities, Identities will investigate the ways in which feminist and other cultural theories have used bodies and sexualities in order to theorise difference and identity. 

Here is a sample of what a Gender Studies major could look like, depending on the selective units you wish to choose:

Year of StudyUnits
First YearCore Unit: Introduction to Gender Studies

Selective Unit: Screen Cultures and Gender: Film to Apps
Second YearCore Unit: Bodies, Sexualities, Identities

Selective Unit: Intimacy, Love and Friendship
Third Year18 credit points of 3000-level units: 
- Using Cultural Theory
- Bodies and Social Worlds
- Gender, Communities and Belonging

Interdisciplinary Project unit: Interdisciplinary Impact


If you are a diehard Gender Studies student and are keen to further your academic career, you can apply for a Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Honours) in your fourth year.

A Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Honours) in Gender Studies requires the study of 48 credit points, including:

    • 6 credit points of 4000-level core Honours seminar unit
    • 6 credit points of 4000-level selective Honours seminar unit 
    • 36 credit points of 4000-level Honours thesis units 

Here is a sample of what your Honours year could look like:

Unit TypeSubject
Core Honours Seminar UnitArguing the Point
Selective Honours Seminar UnitGender, Media and Consumer Societies
Honours Thesis Units - Gender Studies Thesis 1
- Gender Studies Thesis 2


It’s not a surprise that the University of Sydney is Australia’s leading university for graduate employability, as they have built partnerships with corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations so that you can gain invaluable on-the-job experience!

If you’re completing an undergraduate degree in the Arts and Social Sciences, there are a number of opportunities to undertake an internship. Internships help you gain real life experience, whilst applying your knowledge and skills from your academic studies to the workplace!

Lucky for you, USYD has created its own internship unit, ‘Internship for Credit,’ which provides students with relevant work experience in roles relating to their degree.

Students are required to work a minimum of 120 hours (equivalent to 20 days) with an organisation that helps develop an applied understanding of their course work, allowing you to transfer classroom learning to real-life situations. Placements may include: banks, accounting firms, consulting firms, NGO’s, manufacturing and government organisations.

In order to be eligible for this internship program, you must have completed at least 24 credit points at an Intermediate or Senior level.

Discover more about the internships available here!

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences also offers an Undergraduate Internship Scholarship valued at $5000. Find out more here!


How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Gender Studies at USYD

For those who are looking for guaranteed entry into this door-opening degree, the ATAR cut off is 80. However, if you fall under this number, alternative pathways and transfer options can be found in just one click.  

For a more detailed guide, you can peruse here!

Are there any prerequisites?

There are no prerequisites for an Arts Degree. However, assumed knowledge may be required within certain areas or units of study. For example, to study English Literature, students must have an assumed knowledge of the English language and be able to speak and write fluently. 

What scholarships are available?

USYD provides hundreds of scholarships available to both domestic and international students at all levels. To find the one that suits you best, you can search from a variety of general scholarships on offer here or browse through scholarships within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences here!

What’s the Teaching Format?

The teaching format of a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies at USYD is taught over two semesters and is divided into three categories: lectures, tutorials and seminars.

Class Structure

Gender Studies USYD - Class Structure


Lecture theatres range from 100 to 500 attendants, depending on the popularity of the subject, and usually go for about 2 hours per unit. For example, English and Philosophy subjects have a large number of students, whereas Theatre and Performances Studies is more tightly knit. 


Tutorials range between 20 to 25 people and their purpose is to unpack all the knowledge gained from lectures in a collaborative and sometimes practical way. Tutorials can run from 1 hour to sometimes 3 hours if you’re doing a Theatre and Performance Studies workshop/tutorial. 


Seminars, on the other hand, are similar to lectures in number and are more likely to be taught in later years. A seminar is a combination of lectures and tutorials, allowing students to be taught concepts, whilst giving them the opportunity to interact and engage with these same concepts.

How many hours do you have to go to University?

If you’re lucky, Arts students can try to make it so they only go to University twice a week.

How? You may ask. 

Well, a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Gender Studies only requires students to have 3 contact hours per unit, which equates to 12 hours a week. 

You might be thinking… ‘Hey this is easy as pie.’

However, it’s important to consider the amount of primary and secondary readings you’ll have to prioritise over the semester. An Arts degree is particularly reading heavy but we’re not complaining — readings are the most effective way to acquire further knowledge and are (mostly) enjoyable!


Assessments within the Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies degree is categorised into: 

    • Essays
    • Presentations
    • Exams
    • Take-home exams
Exams and Take-home Exams

The one great part of studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies is that there is a limited number of exams that you have to take. Although assessments vary from subject to subject, exams are often only taken in the first year and the final two years are essay and presentation focused. 

In saying this, during your studies you will find that there is a take-home exam labelled in your unit of study outline. This assessment structure is a combination of an essay and exam, as you have the freedom to write the essay at home in your own space. However, the questions are released within 2-3 days of the assignment’s due date, making it somewhat similar to an exam. 


Mid-sem essays usually weigh 30% with final essays weighing from 40-60%. In early years, essays are about 1000-2000 words, however, as you progress into your later years, essays become more comprehensive and are mostly 2500-3500 words.

Gender Studies USYD - Student Quote


Presentations, depending on the subject, require students to choose a week and present that week’s topic to the class — these presentations weigh about 20%. There is also a tutorial participation mark, which weighs 10%. All writing based assignments can be submitted online in Canvas.

Sample Assessment Structure

For a more detailed example of the assessment structure, here is a sample of the core unit, ‘Introduction to Gender Studies‘:

    • 1300 word tutorial presentation task (15%)
    • 1200 word short essay (35%)
    • 1500 word long essay (40%)
    • Tutorial participation (10%)

Skills that you refine and learn in studying a Bachelor of Arts

Gender Studies USYD - Skills

Through majoring in Gender Studies, you will develop diverse skills that will help you in your future endeavours. By the end of your degree, you will have the confidence and knowledge to construct and defend a valid argument in a variety of scholarly formats.

Critical thinking is a big one. You learn to listen, accept, and understand how people think and act the way they do. You learn how experiences change people’s perspectives and how yours can be changed, all which require critical thinking.

You also develop compassion and kindness — this major covers some pretty intense topics which need to be treated carefully when talked about. You develop skills in communicating with people from different backgrounds and cultures, something I value significantly.” — Serena Sharp

During your studies, you’ll also have the ability to examine and solve complex gender related problems through research and critical analysis. Gender studies also refines your writing skills, as it encourages you to exhibit competence in the writing and rigorous application of different theoretical frameworks and research methods relevant to gendered cultural critique. 

Want to learn about the pros and cons of this degree? Check out our article here!

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?


The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is renowned for its inclusivity, as each and every member is particularly understanding of the unique lived experiences of both the students and staff!

The Department of Gender and Cultural Studies within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is home to 16 high-grade national and international scholars who are committed to teaching the ways in which we can become better equipped at understanding the complex nature of human identities and how they are produced, circulated and changed. 

The Faculty in Gender and Cultural Studies is nothing short of amazing. They are all so passionate, frequently supportive, and genuinely care about their students.

Every tutor, lecturer, or guest I’ve had from this Faculty whilst studying here has been extremely influential. They are so easy to talk to and are happy to answer your questions or just have a chat. The standouts for me have been both Dr Jane Park and Dr Grace Sharkey.” — Serena Sharp


The Department of Gender and Cultural Studies is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry, which runs annual employment and networking events. These events give students the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers about the transition from study to work.

To explore the list of events available within the School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry, click here!


In lectures and tutorials, you are surrounded by like-minded people who are just as passionate about the things you love. Depending on what subject you are doing, the vibe of the classes are light-hearted, accepting and are filled with fun and witty people who are genuinely interested in listening to contrasting ideas and new thought processes.

Spending time with other Arts students is incredibly rewarding as you are able to bounce off each other in a collaborative and creative way. By engaging with fellow peers, you are also more likely to discover what it is exactly that drives and motivates you.

In terms of the overall student experience, you can’t do any better than USYD. As a member of one of the most diverse and vibrant faculties, students can secure exclusive discounted tickets to cultural events like Sydney Writers’ Festival, access career building workshops or become part of the Quidditch team.  

Gender studies itself is a very caring and nurturing major. It is a safe place that allows you to talk about personal things — your identity, relations to sensitive topics within the course, and expression of vulnerabilities.

The professors only add to this safe environment with encouragement and offerings of support wherever needed. It is truly like nothing I’ve ever experienced in an educational setting.” Serena Sharp, Bachelor of Arts (Gender Studies) III at USYD

Students at USYD also have access to hundreds of clubs and societies, mentoring and support programs. 


The best societies for an Arts student majoring in Gender Studies at USYD:

SASS - Sydney Arts Student SocietyOne of the biggest societies on campus. The society hosts an annual Arts Society Ball, extravagant cruises and pub crawls.
Network of Women (NOW)A collaboration of students who seek to facilitate the growth and empowerment of women to pursue and achieve their business aspirations.
Queer Revue or Wom*ns Revue SocietyProduces an annual sketch comedy show.
Sex and Relationships SocietyAims to enrich USYD with a safe space to explore.
Random Acts of Kindness SocietyDevoted to spreading kindness, joy and support on campus through fun events, charity work and collaborative initiatives.

Find the full list of societies here!

Mentoring and Support Programs
    • Domestic Mentoring Program
    • Education and Social Work Mentoring Program
    • First in my Family Mentoring Program 
    • Counselling and Psychological Services 
    • University Health Service
    • Ally Network and LGBTQI Support

Find the full list of programs here!

If you just can’t get enough, find out more about a Bachelor of Arts degree at USYD here!

Thomasin McCuaig is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an Arts graduate with majors in English and Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney. Thomasin is a passionate writer, singer and drama teacher, who has had her work published in Holidays with Kids, Signature Luxury Travel and Style and Offspring Magazine. Thomasin also writes junior plays for her students and aims to publish a novel someday. During the COVID isolation period, Thomasin put her passion into practise and launched her own writing and editing business, ‘Re:Write Editing.’ In her spare time you will find her either napping, talking to her cats or looking up real estate for absolutely no reason at all. Fun fact: Thomasin appeared on Japanese morning breakfast show ‘ZIP! as a travel reporter, where she presented a six day exposé of Sydney!


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