Undergraduate Study


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.

Class of 2023 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


In addition to the major requirements outlined below, all students must meet College of Arts & Sciences 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

FGSS advisor to be assigned. You will be contacted by the FGSS advisor once your application is received.


Open to all Cornell University undergraduate students. 

Undergraduate students in any college at Cornell may minor in Feminist, Gender, & 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. 

Students minoring in FGSS are required to take:

  • FGSS 2010: Introduction to Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
  • FGSS 3000: Feminist Theory (only offered in the fall)
  • Three FGSS electives of your choice. One course must fulfill a distribution requirement in one of the following three categories: Geopolitics and Transnationality; Intersectionality; and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Studies (LGBT)

  • Optional: minors may opt to take FGSS 4000: FGSS Senior Seminar in their senior year

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. The application is a declaration of intention to complete an FGSS minor and a planning tool for the program; students are not required to have completed or enrolled in all required courses before submitting the application. There is no penalty for lack of completion. Successful completion of the minor will be noted on students’ official transcripts. 

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

Honors Program

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. 

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 amongst the jointly appointed or affiliated faculty in FGSS prior to, or at the beginning of the spring semester of their third year. This option is only available for students pursuing an Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies major.

You and your supervisor will mutually agree upon the form of an honors thesis. One scenario is to write an essay of approximately 50 pages, drafted and revised in a series of carefully planned stages. 

Timetables may vary, but the following deadlines have proved useful to other seniors in the past:

  • September 15: outline
  • October 15: bibliography
  • November 15: first chapter or subdivision
  • February 15: second chapter or subdivision
  • March 15: third chapter or subdivision
  • April 1: completed first draft
  • May 1: schedule defense
  • May 10: defense should take place no later than
  • May 15: final version of the thesis submitted to supervisor, second reader, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). The Director of Undergraduate Studies is listed on the faculty page

All projects must be defended orally before an Honors Committee made up of your supervisor plus at least one other reader, selected by you in consultation with the supervisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The supervisor and the second reader will determine the final grade and the level of honors. Thesis should be sent digitally to the Program Assistant

Honors Thesis Archive

Name, Class, Year Thesis Title Committee Chair
Sky Lingo, 2023 The Disabling Nature of ICE Detention Professor Jane Juffer
Andy Maghacot, 2022 Roblox: A Kid's Tool for Rebellion Professor Jane Juffer
Isabel Myers, 2022 John Green's Manic Pixie Dream Girls: Analysis of Masculinity, Femininity, and Narrative Intimacy in the Young Adult Novels Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns Professor Jane Juffer
Naiara Bezerra-Gastesi, 2021 "They aren't ladies, they're fairies": Black Fairies, Police Surveillance, and Queer Joy in Twentieth Century New York City Professor Durba Ghosh

Humanities Scholars Program

The departmental honors thesis may be used as Conference Presentation for the Humanities Scholars Program (HSP). Students present their projects at the annual Humanities Scholars Conference in May.

HSP is an undergraduate program of the Cornell University College of Arts & Sciences that fosters independent, interdisciplinary undergraduate research in the humanities, and provides a supportive community, through a series of curated courses, structured mentorship, special programming, and research opportunities and funding. The program is housed in the historic Andrew Dickson White House on central campus.

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. The list of classes which fulfill distribution requirements is updated every semester. 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.

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. 


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.

Independent Study

Specialized individual study programs are offered in FGSS 3990 (fall) and FGSS 3991 (spring). The course is open to a limited number of juniors and seniors who have obtained consent and supervision of a faculty member. The credit hours for this course are variable. Students select a topic not covered in regularly scheduled courses in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course work. To apply for independent study, please complete the on-line form

Spring 2024 Office Hours

Faculty and TA office hours will be updated on this site in January 2024. 

Student Organizations

The Cornell Anti-Detention Alliance Club (CADA), affiliated with the Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program at Cornell, supports detained and previously detained immigrants through direct services and grassroots advocacy. Visit their website for more information and learn how you can get involved.