Undergraduate Studies

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The FGSS Undergraduate Experience

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies offers students the opportunity to study a wide range of fields from the perspectives of feminist and LGBTQIA 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. 

Visit our alumni page to read about former students who are using their foundation in FGSS to pursue their careers.

All majors and minors take courses in three key distribution areas of the program: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies (LGBT); the study of intersecting structures of oppression including race, ethnicity, and class (ISO); and global perspectives on feminism, gender, and sexuality (GLO). 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.

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


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.


Detailed explanations of credit hours, prerequisites and other requirements for the major and minor are available at the application links below:

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:

Global Perspectives: Africa, Asia, Latin America, or Middle East (GLO)

A course must focus on some aspect of women or gender from a global perspective and context. This might mean a focus on women/gender in a non-­‐US context, or locating U.S. women/gender issues within a global comparative context. The course will move beyond a western feminist (often isolationist) perspective to help students understand that definitions of gender and women and the issues arising from them vary across cultures and nations.

Intersecting Structures of Oppression: Race, Ethnicity, and/ or Class (ISO)

A course must contain a significant focus on intersecting structures of oppression. Specifically, it should address the intersections of race, class, or ethnicity with gender, contesting the notion of “woman” as a homogonous singular category, and challenging earlier feminist uses of “woman” to mean a universalized white, middle-­‐class, heterosexual woman.

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 2020 Class Roster is now live. Here's a list of the Spring 2020 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 the Program Assistant.

If you have further questions or would like to set up an appointment with the director of undergraduate studies please email the FGSS Program Assistant, Aidan Kelly (aidankelly@cornell.edu).