20 Best Deals on Colleges for LGBTQ Studies

Welcome to our ranking of best deals on colleges for LGBTQ studies.

As our society grows more progressive and openly diverse, it is of critical importance that higher education reflect the multiple identities present on campus. Colleges with available degrees in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) studies draw an ever-increasing number of enrolled students nationwide. The following ranked list reflects research on U.S. colleges with affordable LGBTQ degree opportunities.

We awarded points based on the presence of: a wide range of LGBTQ-related field areas and specialization options; diversity among faculty, student body, and surrounding community; professionally run resource centers that provide a safe, welcoming environment to LGBTQ students; and any additional offerings that would be particularly valuable. The 20 colleges profiled here scored the highest among an initial pool of 50 schools with a net price (per College Navigator) of $33,000 USD or less.

Schools profiled below are ranked in order of points earned from lowest points to highest. In the event of a tie in points, the schools with the lower net price are ranked higher. This ranked list serves as a guide for students seeking the best deal on colleges that offer LGBTQ studies.

#20 – University of Wisconsin – Madison

Madison, Wisconsin



Points: 10
Enrollment: 42,598
Net Price: $16,131

Ranked #11 among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” of 2015, the University of Wisconsin at Madison helps students become successful in and outside the classroom. This college has a 15-credit LGBT studies certificate program, which is a division of the gender and women’s studies department; the corresponding course topics of this program include contemporary feminist culture, queer literature, HIV/AIDS, ethnic studies, and more. All University of Wisconsin students can add the LGBT certificate to their degree, regardless of major.

#19 – University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon



Points: 11
Enrollment: 24,096
Net Price: $14,179

One of the most progressive liberal arts educations in the Northwest, the University of Oregon continues to evolve with the interests of its student body. A minor in queer studies now exists within the university’s department of women’s and gender studies; this 24-credit program involves courses covering sexuality, the history of the LGBTQ community, gay legal issues, and more. This University of Oregon’s Division of Equity and Inclusion (DEI) was formed to ensure the campus community’s access to benefits and opportunities, regardless of orientation or background.

#18 – Rutgers, State University of New Jersey – Newark

Newark, New Jersey



Points: 11
Enrollment: 11,314
Net Price: $9,858

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey was built in a dynamic, urban setting that values both campus and community-wide diversity. This college established a women and gender studies program in 1970, with multiple concentrations available in the field; one of the concentrations offered in this department is in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) studies. The LGBTQ minor analyzes this community through the study of history, literature, language, art, economics, political science, biology, and other disciplines. Rutgers has a generous range of programs and resources in support of its LGBTQ students.

#17 – Grand Valley State University

Allendale, Michigan



Points: 12
Enrollment: 25,094
Net Price: $16,370

With an average class size of 26 and over 122 available degrees, Grand Valley State University has shaped the academic development of students since 1960. One of the undergraduate degree options is a minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) studies; this program gives students the tools to address issues in sexuality, gender, class, and identity. LGBTQ studies encourages students to examine societal stereotypes from a wide range of perspectives. Outside of the classroom, Grand Valley is home to the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, which has multiple supportive resources for students.

#16 – University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin



Points: 12
Enrollment: 27,596
Net Price: $13,940

Set along the beautiful coast of Lake Michigan, the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee has the ideal blend of small town relationships and big city resources. The UW-M campus is a celebration of differences and unique backgrounds of its student body. This institution offers a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) studies certificate program, which explores critical topics relate to issues facing this community. Additionally, the University of Wisconsin has opened a resource center that functions as a safe, therapeutic space for the LGBT campus population.

#15 – Montclair State University

Montclair, New Jersey



Points: 12
Enrollment: 22,022
Net Price: $14,898

Found in a cozy New Jersey town, Montclair State University is one of the state’s most expansive and opportunity-rich colleges. This college’s gender, sexuality, and women’s studies program was established in 1976 to educate students of the infinite contributions made by women in global society; the faculty of this department are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) scholars in politics, educational theory, sociology, literary studies, and other subject areas. One of the goals of Montclair State’s gender, sexuality, and women’s studies curriculum is to encourage examination of the complex relationship between feminists and the LGBTQ community.

#14 – University of California – Irvine

Irvine, California



Points: 12
Enrollment: 30,051
Net Price: $12,072

At just over 50 years old, the University of California at Irvine has become a significant institution with great community impact. UCI’s department of gender and sexuality has courses specializing in feminism, queer theory, gender and social justice in the Middle East, and gender stereotypes. This college’s queer studies minor combines art, literature, history, and other disciplines to examine complex theories in sexuality. The University of California at Irvine is committed to being a welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students; the campus provides gender-neutral bathrooms, safe housing, mentorship, HIV testing, and many other needed resources.

#13 – University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois



Points: 13
Enrollment: 15,097
Net Price: $31,935

Found in one of the most progressive, stimulating cities in the nation, the University of Chicago has earned global acclaim for its significant societal contributions. This institution has designated a department for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) studies and activity, which is the central home to all LGBTQ student life at the college. UC is committed to being a resource in service to LGBTQ students, either simply as an ally, or in providing academic guidance in the field.

#12 – Western Washington University

Bellingham, Washington



Points: 13
Enrollment: 15,060
Net Price: $15,184

Recognized by both Forbes and Kiplinger magazines as a top value education, Western Washington University has a large, inclusive campus community. This college’s women, gender, and sexuality studies department has a curriculum that focuses on history; literature; creative writing; gay and lesbian studies; political science; anthropology; psychology; and several other disciplines. Given the department’s small class sizes, Western Washington students feel they can truly engage with one another in complex discussions. This college has established a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender advocacy council, which facilitates programming and meetings in support of LGBT students.

#11 – Pennsylvania State University

University Park, Pennsylvania



Points: 14
Enrollment: 47,040
Net Price: $24,220

Celebrating over 150 years of outstanding higher education, Pennsylvania State University has a vibrant campus life in balance with rigorous academics. Penn State undergraduates may select a sexuality and gender studies minor, where students develop critical skills in addressing theories of sexuality; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movements; queer theory, gender identity; history of sexual norms; and other related topics to the field. This university established its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally (LGBTQA) student resource center in 1994, where a wide range of activities are sponsored in support of the community.

#10 – Kent State University

Kent, Ohio



Points: 14
Enrollment: 29,477
Net Price: $18,106

One of Ohio’s most competitive institutions, Kent State University brings incoming students from all 50 states and over 110 countries. Among KSU’s 300 academic areas is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies minor, which takes on gender identity and sexual orientation through a wide spectrum of course topics; some of these course topics include the sociology of gays and lesbians; introduction to LGBT studies; queer theory; social movements; and additional classes from Kent’s College of Arts and Sciences. KSU has a longstanding National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that works toward advancing equal rights and freedom for the LGBTQ community.

#9 – University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky



Points: 14
Enrollment: 21,561
Net Price: $14,635

Settled on 243 acres in Kentucky’s largest city, the University of Louisville has achieved excellence in higher education since 1970. An integral part of this college’s mission is to promote diversity and acceptance both in its admissions process and curriculum. LGBTQ studies is an increasingly popular choice of minor among students; some of the courses associated with this minor include sociology, queer politics, LGBTQ literature, black lesbian lives, and U.S. social justice movements. The University of Louisville opened an LGBT center in 2007, providing students the opportunity to join pride week, SpeakOut discussion panels, and related events.

#8 – University of California – San Diego

San Diego, California



Points: 14
Enrollment: 30,709
Net Price: $13,693

One of the top public research universities worldwide, the University of California at San Diego believes in an individualized education experience. This college has a widely respected critical gender studies (CGS) undergraduate program; CGS is an innovative degree path with a foundation in feminism and queer studies. CGS students take courses in sexuality; sexuality and race; art; and gender theory. UC San Diego has a resource center for the LGBT campus community; this center provides access to health services, counseling, and many other needs met by trained professionals.

#7 – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan



Points: 15
Enrollment: 43,625
Net Price: $15,850

Founded in 1817 in the lovely city of Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan has grown to establish 19 specialized schools on its campus. One of UM’s best offerings is the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, which promotes values and professional business practices in diversity. The Ross School has also established a program “Ross Out for Business,” which assists LGBT students in campus participation, and mentorship in job-hunting. The University of Michigan offers an academic minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender and Sexuality studies, which addresses relevant topics including religion, social movements, history, queer theory, and more.

#6 – University of Maryland – College Park

College Park, Maryland



Points: 15
Enrollment: 37,610
Net Price: $14,833

Serving as the state’s flagship location in higher education, the University of Maryland is attended by over 37,000 students of all backgrounds. One of the academic offerings from this college is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) minor; this 15 credit program is part of the department of women’s studies, and explores topics in sex, gender, and issues in identity. In addition, the University of Maryland has an LGBT Equity Center, which offers opportunities including the Rainbow Terrapin Network for students interested in social justice advocacy.

 #5 – Towson University

Towson, Maryland



Points: 15
Enrollment: 22,285
Net Price: $13,859

For over 150 years, Towson University has maintained a reputation for diversity both in academics and student body. This college is located on a suburban campus just outside Baltimore and Washington D.C.; the close proximity to these major cities has proven to open opportunities for internships and post-graduation employment. Towson holds the distinction of being the first university in Maryland to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) studies as its own academic field. The LGBT studies minor at Towson addresses politics, psychology, history, and culture of the LGBT community movement.

#4 – Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island



Points: 16
Enrollment: 9,181
Net Price: $21,193

With distinguished faculty and the best in academic facilities, Brown University has established itself as a world leader in higher education. This college’s gender and sexuality studies department is built on a curriculum spanning feminist theory; politics; multiculturalism; ethnicity; psychoanalysis; and more. Additionally, there is a growing list of research grants available to gender and sexuality students. Brown University is home to a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Center, established in 2004 to provide an inclusive, safe space for LGBTQ students and anyone else in the supportive community.

#3 – Stanford University

Stanford, California



Points: 16
Enrollment: 16,963
Net Price: $17,952

For over 125 years, Stanford University of California has been a global leader in scholar-level education, faculty, and facilities. One of the institution’s most expansive academic areas is in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; this department offers minor, major, or post-graduate degree options with multiple specializations. One of the specializations Stanford offers is in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) studies, which focuses on the history and theories of LGBTQ communities. Stanford University responds to the needs of transgender students, providing educational and medical-based assistance related to gender reassignment.

#2 – University of California – Berkeley

Berkeley, California



Points: 16
Enrollment: 37,565
Net Price: $16,665

With 77 Fulbright Scholars and 7 Nobel Prize winners on faculty, the University of California at Berkeley attracts some of the best and brightest in academia. This institution offers over 170 academic fields to pursue, one of which is a minor program in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies; this minor delves into the study of sexuality through the lenses of sociology, history, literature, culture, and other disciplines. UC-Berkeley is home to the Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq), which is a group devoted to advocating for campus diversity and acceptance.

#1 – Cornell University

Ithaca, New York



Points: 17
Enrollment: 21,679
Net Price: $28,537

Providing a prestigious education in the heart of Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a competitive and comprehensive academic opportunity. Among its progressive curriculum options is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, where the complexity of sexuality and society are explored. LGBT studies at Cornell integrates multiple disciplines and perspectives; some of the courses in the program include political, psychological, sociological, biological, anthropological, musical, historical, literary, and artistic means to consider LGBT theories. Cornell’s LGBT community also offers events including the “First Year Queer Connections Group” and a well-received mentorship program.

The preceding is a ranked list of colleges that are the best deal for a future in LGBTQ studies.

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By GCD Staff
August 2016