13:31 PM

University of St. Thomas marks International Women’s Day with launch of new Sexuality & Gender Studies Program


Graduate program set to equip students with truth of Catholic intellectual tradition as they tackle controversial subjects of gender and sexuality in professional spheres.

Cultural understanding of issues related to gender and sexuality gets more complicated by the minute, leaving faithful professionals confused and ill-equipped to communicate the Church’s understanding of what it means to be a man or a woman. Rising to that challenge, the University of St. Thomas-Houston’s Nesti Center for Faith & Culture will launch its new Graduate Certificate in Sexuality & Gender to answer a strong need for the knowledge, tools, and skills required to navigate these topics with truth and compassion. The program will welcome students for the first time during live online courses in the fall of 2024.

Leah Jacobson

“There is nothing more necessary in our cultural discussion around the topics of gender and sexuality than situating ourselves at the intersection of what science can tell us and the fundamental dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God," Dr. Kevin Stuart said. "This combination is the missing piece today. Uniting the Church’s rich philosophical and theological resources with a thorough understanding of the science and history of how we got to this point as a culture is how we will help professionals find a solid footing. We must equip leaders in our world to become apologists of human dignity, empowering those around them to see themselves as God sees them. That’s what this program is all about: to give leaders the tools they need – philosophical, scientific and rhetorical – to witness to the beauty and truth of the Catholic understanding of the human person.”

The program was created to equip Catholic leaders to address issues related to sexuality and gender that now regularly confront them in their work and ministry. Aimed at working professionals, it is designed to be flexible with live courses available online and rolling admissions. 

“We want this certificate to be accessible to busy professionals who are making an impact in important fields like education, ministry, healthcare, and psychology, among others,” said Leah Jacobson. “The illumination of the Catholic intellectual tradition makes visible the compassionate truths of our identity as God’s creations. We want professionals to be able to translate this to real-world cultural scenarios.”

This program comes out of UST’s Nesti Center for Faith and Culture which provides education and formation to help people understand the relationship between the universal call to love and values of the dominant American culture. The Graduate Certificate in Sexuality and Gender does just that, bringing together the best of what faith and reason – philosophy, theology, science, history – can teach us about contemporary issues that cut to the core of who and what a human person fundamentally is.

The Graduate Certificate in Sexuality and Gender includes four courses:

FC 5331: Human Person: Body and Soul

FC 5330: History of Gender

FC 5332: Science of Sexuality & Gender

FC 5333: Sex & Gender in Professions

Courses will be taught by a high-caliber faculty that includes experts in the various fields, such as Erika Bachiochi, Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Bachiochi said, “The equal dignity of men and women and their distinctive contributions in the home, the Church, and in all arenas of society is a topic of great interest right now as people across the Western world grapple with the fallout of false anthropologies. I am grateful for UST’s inspired leadership as Dr. Kevin Stuart and his team design a course of study to provide sound guidance on Church teaching at this critical time.” 

A complete list of courses and full descriptions can be found at https://www.stthom.edu/SexualityandGender.

Dr. Stuart is confident that students who earn a certificate in this topic will graduate ready to make a positive impact on their field and their colleagues, now armed with skills they need to thoughtfully and empathetically tackle these hot-button issues. 

“The opportunity to learn under such an incredibly intellectually honest and expert faculty will be a life-changing experience. We are drawing in top experts from around the country,” Stuart said.

The Graduate Certificate is a precursor to the launch of a full Master’s program in Catholic Women’s and Gender Studies coming in fall 2024.

Learn more at https://www.stthom.edu/SexualityandGender.