Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to gender as a theoretical concept and examine its relation to health, including public health practice, epidemiologic research, health policy, and clinical application. The focus will include global, domestic, and historical perspectives, using the following examples: cardiovascular disease, hormone therapy, pregnancy, birth, sexually transmitted infections, abortion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, contraceptives, and mental health. We will draw on different disciplines, conceptual frameworks, and methodologic approaches in order to understand gender in relation to health while also considering other social determinants of health, including social class and race.

Course Objectives

  • Describe differences between gender, sex-linked biology, and sexuality as well as critically evaluate their use in health research, social and behavioral sciences, and health policy.
  • Evaluate the breadth of research and research methods in the study of gender and health.
  • Apply theoretical and methodological constructs learned in class to a range of health issues, taking into consideration additional social determinants including social class and race.


Class Participation 20%
Weekly Reading Reflections 15%
Testimony / Opinion in an In-class Mock State Assembly 15%
Final Project Proposal 10%
Final Project Write-up 30%
Final Project Presentation 10%

For more information on the activities listed in the table above, please see the Assignments section.


No full texts are required for this course. However, the following text has many chapters of required reading:

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sex / Gender: Biology in a Social World. Routledge, 2012. ISBN: 9780415881463. [Preview with Google Books]

Additional readings can be found in the table of the Readings section.

Academic Integrity

Please ensure you've reviewed Academic Integrity at MIT: A Handbook for Students.

Writing and Communication Support

The Writing and Communication Center at MIT offers free one-on-one professional advice about all types of writing and oral presentations.