Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Degree options

  • Major/minor in Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies

You don’t just study gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at Cornell College; you engage in activism, research, and in-depth discussion. You will be asked to explore the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, class, sexuality, and nationality. You will also study forms of oppression, including sexism, heterosexism, racism, classism, ageism, ableism, and colonialism, as well as forms of bias that contribute to limited or distorted views of women's lives.

You will develop critical thinking skills both in the classroom and in the world beyond campus while working with faculty who represent a wide range of specialties and interests ranging from sociology and anthropology to art and art history. More importantly, you will do all of this in a supportive learning environment where you can explore the breadth of the social, political, and cultural experiences of women and discover how you want to make your impact.

Interdisciplinary approach

Gender, sexuality, and women's studies is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes:

  • Intersectionality, which highlights the diversity of human experience and the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, class, sexuality, nationality, religion, and other social categories. 
  • Interdisciplinary, which features the synthesis of theoretical and methodological approaches grounded in multiple disciplines.
  • Social justice and feminist perspectives, which facilitate the investigation of power dynamics, oppression, and social change practices across historical and cultural contexts; and the integration of academic approaches, activism, and service. 

Activism and outreach

A vital part of our gender, sexuality, and women's studies program is an emphasis on activism and community engagement. The Cornell community offers many opportunities for feminist social action and involvement in the surrounding community, including internships at places like local domestic violence shelters, anti-violence male coalitions, and organic local farms.

Feminist Symposium

To promote research related to gender, sexuality, and women's studies, our program and Third Wave Resource Group co-host a biannual Feminist Symposium. This symposium allows students and professors to present research, projects, and artwork that pertain specifically to feminist and women's issues. the keynote speaker for the 2016 symposium was Taté Walker, a human rights and social justice activist, editor of Native Peoples Magazine, author of the blog "Righting Red," and a Lakota storyteller.

Benefits of One Course At A Time

Learning on Cornell's One Course At A Time curriculum means that when you take on an internship or research project, you will apply your knowledge and gain practice full-time, not just once a week as you would at a school using the semester calendar. You may be working at a women’s shelter, a hospital, or anywhere there is a need for women’s advocacy, and you will be on site every day building relationships that will last long after your time at Cornell.

The One Course schedule offers the freedom of long class periods and removes other academic priorities. Students and faculty take the time to dive in and discuss, challenge, and rethink real-world issues, as well as personal and political aspects of gender, sexuality, and other related identities. 

With One Course At A Time, gender, sexuality, and women's studies majors spend their capstone course engaged in full-time research for an entire block, without interruption from other courses. Student select their own research topics and have chosen to pursue topics such as, feminism and dance; sexual assault and violence against women; menstruation suppression; history of women's movements; and gendered division of labor and space in South Africa.

After you complete your degree

Graduates of our program leave Cornell with the knowledge and skills to pursue a wide range of careers and graduate studies. For example, one graduate works with victims of domestic violence as the director of a campus women's center and others are pursuing graduate studies in social work, public health, women's history, sociology, and political science.  

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