Undergraduate Study

Overview

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies offers students the opportunity to study a wide range of fields from the perspectives of feminist and LGBT critical analysis, in a global context and with the purpose of promoting social justice. Students will learn how gender and sexuality are socially constructed, what these terms mean in various contexts, and how these concepts are used to support social and political institutions. They will also learn how critical analysis and creative questioning of these concepts can help to reshape those institutions.

Students will use the skills they learn in our classes to engage with such disciplines as Anthropology, Performing and Media Arts, English Literature, Africana Studies, Comparative Literature, Romance Studies, Music, Asian Studies, Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, Government, History, History of Art, and many more. Because of the program’s interdisciplinary focus, our majors are often double majors, and go on to pursue careers in law, medicine or public health, development and international aid, media, research, and community activism. 

All majors and minors take courses in three key distribution areas of the program: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies (LGBT); the study of intersectionality; and geopolitics and transnationality. These three areas assure that students understand a wider range of issues concerning sexuality and gender identity, the connection of human rights and social justice concerns across identities that are often represented as separate, and the global contexts for all of these discussions.

FGSS 2022 major graduates

Learning Outcomes

In addition to widespread university goals to foster the skills of critical analysis in both written and oral work, FGSS majors and minors are expected to demonstrate that they:

  • Understand the concepts of gender and sexuality in relation to one another across several academic disciplines
  • Understand the relation between the concepts of gender and sexuality and the material oppression of women and sexual minorities
  • Situate gender and sexuality in relation to other structures of oppression, especially racism and class exploitation, both in the U.S. and globally

Major

In addition to the major requirements outlined below, all students must meet college degree requirements

Before applying to the major, the student must complete any two FGSS courses with a letter grade of B- or better. For FGSS courses that are cross-listed with another department, students may register through FGSS or the crosslisting department. FGSS courses at the 2000-level or above may count as both prerequisites and as part of the FGSS major. First-year writing seminars may count as prerequisites but not as part of the major.

The FGSS major requires a minimum of 9 FGSS courses, all taken with a letter grade of C- or higher. Students may register through FGSS or the cross-listing department. Students with a double major may count up to 3 courses toward the FGSS major that are simultaneously counting toward a second major. 

Apply to the FGSS Major

Minor

Undergraduate students in any college at Cornell may minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in conjunction with a major defined elsewhere in the university. The FGSS minor requires a minimum of five FGSS courses with a letter grade of C-­‐ or higher; none of which may be counted toward the student’s non-­‐FGSS major. An exception to this rule may be made for students in the contract colleges, who may petition the FGSS DUS to count one class from the major toward the FGSS minor. First-­‐year writing seminars may not be included within the five required courses. Students may register for classes through FGSS or the cross-­‐listing department. 

Apply to the FGSS Minor

Acceptance is automatic to the minor. If you complete the form, you are listed as pursuing the minor until you let us know that you are no longer completing it. There is no penalty for lack of completion. 

For more information on the undergraduate major and minor in FGSS, please contact our Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Director of Undergraduate Studies 2022-2023: Jane Juffer

Honors Program

The Honors Program allows qualified students to synthesize readings and perspectives acquired during the course of an undergraduate education in a flexible thesis project. Students who are interested in completing an honors thesis should carefully review the application form and choose a faculty advisor prior to, or at the beginning of the spring semester of their third year.

Students must enroll in FGSS 4990 in their first semester of the honors program, and FGSS 4991 in their second semester. During pre-enrollment, be sure to request a permission number from the program assistant in order to add the class to your schedule. 

Past Theses

Click here to access a list of past theses. 

Distribution Requirements

FGSS majors are required to take at least one course in each of the following distribution categories. FGSS minors are required to take at least one course in one of the following distribution categories:

Geopolitics and Transnationality

Sex, gender, and sexuality vary across and within cultures, nations, regions, and languages. These forms and concepts also travel, intersect, and conflict across borders.  One course must focus on some aspect of FGSS that engages such flows of bodies, capital, imperialism, labor, and/or science. 

Intersectionality

A course must examine gender and/or sexuality along intersecting axes of power and/or oppression (including, but not limited, to: race, class, ethnicity, age, ability, or religion) that co-constitutively contribute to processes of subject formation, identities, and social relations.  

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Studies (LGBT)

A course must contain a significant focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender persons, texts, phenomena, and/or politics. The course should articulate sexuality in relation to specific LGBT communities, authors, identities, and concepts: it might address particular LGBT literary figures; anthropologies and sociologies of LGBT and other non-­‐normatively sexed and gendered persons; art, cinema, or other visual cultures with marked LGBT content and/or audiences; and histories and theories of sexuality, especially queer theories.

Course Information

The Spring 2023 Class Roster is now live. Here's a list of the Spring 2023 courses which fulfill our distribution requirements. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list.  If you will be taking a course that you think falls into one of the distribution categories, but is not listed here, please email your questions to the Program Assistant, Aidan Kelly (aidankelly@cornell.edu).

Spring 2023 Office Hours

Jane Juffer, FGSS Director and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm-12:45pm, 167 Goldwin Smith Hall
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:30pm-3:00pm, 167 Goldwin Smith Hall

Ellis Hanson, Director of Graduate Studies
Mondays 4:00pm-5:00pm, Rockefeller 186

Jess Newman
Thursdays 2:30pm-4:30pm, Rockefeller 188 

Lucinda Ramberg
Wednesdays 2:30pm-4:30pm, 203 McGraw Hall

Katherine Sender
Times TBD, Mann Library 485

Milan Taylor (FGSS 2290: Intro to LGBT Studies TA)
Wednesdays 11:00am-12:00pm, Rockefeller 170

Sara Warner, LGBT Studies Director
Tuesdays 10:00am-11:30am, 232 Schwartz Center

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