School of Social Sciences


Gender Studies

Welcome to Gender Studies (GS).

The GS programme was established in 2010, reflecting the University’s recognition of, and commitment to, enhancing gender in research, learning and teaching. Housed under the School of Social Sciences, the programme has close affiliation with Sociology, History, Psychology and Social Policy as well as the School of Government, Development and International Affairs and the School of Education.  As one of the few trans-disciplinary programmes at USP, Gender Studies aims to continue to engage with other Schools and sectors of the University through research and teaching. Collaboration with civil society organisations is an important feature of the programme and it continues to build sustained collaborations with Pacific island governments and regional organisations on gender-responsive research and policy.     

The programme offers courses at the postgraduate level only. Interested students can apply to study for the Postgraduate Certificate of Arts in Gender Studies which consists of two courses: GN400: Contemporary Feminism, Theory, Methods and Debates and GN401: Gender, Global Change and Development in a Comparative Perspective. Plans are underway to offer the Postgraduate Diploma in Gender Studies in 2016. 

Why study Gender? 

The Gender perspective is increasingly recognized in the Pacific island region as a key framework positively impacting approach to social and economic well-being, and political development. In this regard, Gender Studies can:


  • help enhance students’  knowledge and appreciation of the equal value of women’s and men’s contribution to society’s well-being
  • assist students to appreciate the contribution of other gender groups to societal development
  • equip students with gender-related approaches and tools for researching and analyzing gender inequalities in society 
  • enhance confidence to critique and advocate against gender inequalities 
  • arm students with the skills to successfully handle gender-related controversies in future  employment 
  • prepare students for future employment possibilities in any sector: government, non-government, social services, community development, science or finance sector





GN400. Contemporary Feminism: Theory, Methods and Debates

This course introduces students to theoretical debates and methods that characterize feminist research in various disciplines. Taking a trans-disciplinary approach, the course draws from the works of feminist scholars mainly across the social sciences but also from a relatively small but growing body of research within the hard sciences and business/management disciplines. Students will learn about how and why the concept of ‘gender’ is central to feminist analysis as well as how theorizing among the various strands of feminism inform respective research approaches. While many of these debates originate from outside the Pacific students are encouraged to critique and adapt them to their own research.


GN401. Gender, Global Change and Development in a Comparative Perspective.

This course teaches about how the gender perspective can provide a better understanding and appreciation of women as a key component of development. The course introduces students to the historical development of gender and development, with particular attention to key debates and theories involved. Examples are drawn mainly from the developing contexts and students are encouraged to engage in scholarly critique of conventional theories of development as well as their alternatives. 

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Page updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018
School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts, Law & Education
The University of the South Pacific
Laucala Campus
Tel: (+679) 323 1000
Fax: (+679) 323 1506