Courses of Study 2022-2023 
    May 24, 2024  
Courses of Study 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

In the College of Arts and Sciences .

Course Offerings  

The Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program (FGSS) is an interdisciplinary program that investigates how gender and sexuality are embedded in cultural, social, and political formations. The study of feminism, gender relations, and sexuality urges attention to the complex structures of power and inequality, tracing intersections and relationships among sexuality, race, class, age, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity. Founded in 1972 as Women’s Studies, this program has been a home for innovative approaches to research in gender and sexuality studies, as well as a site for important theoretical and activist debates among feminists and cutting-edge research for scholars from across the humanities and social sciences.

The Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program’s course offerings are built around several assumptions about the study of gender and sexuality. First, understandings of sex, sexuality, and gender are neither universal nor immutable; to study them is to gain an understanding of human behavior, culture, and society across time and space as well as to gain a sense of how these social constructions shape us as individuals. Second, gender and sexuality are best understood when examined in relation to race, class, and geography, so as to reveal how social relations are structured by multiple ways of belonging. Third, even the most current knowledge derived from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences is not impartial, objective, or neutral but instead emerges out of particular historical and political contexts. FGSS graduates are trained in critical thinking, analytic writing, and cultural competencies that enhance their lifelong personal and intellectual growth, as well as their professional development. Graduates of this program have gone on to work in a wide variety of fields, including law, medicine, social policy, arts, transnational advocacy, media, research, and community activism.



Joint faculty: T. Goffe (Africana Studies), S. Hodžić (Anthropology), J. Juffer (English), K. McCullough (English), J. Parreñas (Science and Technology Studies), L. Ramberg (Anthropology), K. Sender (Communication).

Affiliated faculty: J. Byfield, D. Castillo, J. Chang, N. Diabate, B. Duffy, M. Fernandez, C. Frazier, D. Ghosh, E. Hanson, C. Howie, K. Jaime, J. Peraino, M. Raskolnikov, N. Salvato, S. Samuels, S. Seth, M. Vallois, S. Vider, S. Warner.

Visiting faculty: J. Newman.

Graduate field faculty: L. Adelson, C. Appert, R. Bezner Kerr, F. Blau, L. Brown, J. Byfield, C. Davies, D. Castillo, J. Chang, E. Cohn, I. DeVault, N. Diabate, Y. Due, B. Duffy, M. Fernandez, A. Fuhrmann, J.E. Gainor, D. Ghosh, S. Greene, S. Haenni, K. Haines-Eitzen, E. Hanson, S. Hodžić, C. Howie, K. Jaime, J. Juffer, S. Langwick, L. Leonard, K. Long, T. Loos, K. Manne, V. Maralani, K. McCullough, M. Migiel, J. Peraino, L. Ramberg, M. Raskolnikov, R. Richardson, K. Roebuck, M. Rossiter, N. Russell, N. Salvato, S. Samuels, D. Schrader, K. Sender, S. Seth, S. Sheppard, N. Tamarkin, M. Vallois, S. Vider, A. Villarejo, S. Villenas, M. Warner, S. Warner, K. Weeden, R. Weil.

Program Offerings:

Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (FGSS) offers an undergraduate major, an undergraduate minor, and a graduate minor. Undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences who wish to major in FGSS may apply directly to the program. Students in any college may minor in FGSS.

The FGSS Undergraduate Major:

1. Prerequisite courses:

Before applying to the major, the student must complete any two FGSS courses with a grade of B– or better. For FGSS courses that are cross-listed with another department, students may register through FGSS or the cross-listing department. Suggested entry-level courses include any FGSS course at the 2000-level, especially FGSS 2010  which is required for completion of the major. 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.

2. Required course work:

Note: In addition to the major requirements outlined below, all students must meet the college graduation requirements 

A minimum of 36 credits (9 courses) in FGSS courses with a grade of C– or higher is required for the major:

Students may petition the DUS to count up to two 3-credit courses toward the FGSS major, thus reducing the minimum required credits for the major.

The 36 credits must also include at least one FGSS course with a significant focus on each of the following three categories:

(Note: Although a given course may satisfy one, two, or even three of these categories, a given student must take at least one course in each category to fulfill the requirement for the major):

  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) studies
  • intersectionality
  • geopolitics and transnationality

The remaining three courses may be of the student’s choosing.

A student with a double major may count up to three FGSS courses toward the FGSS major that she/he is simultaneously counting toward a second major.

The Honors Program:

To graduate with honors, a student majoring in FGSS must complete a senior thesis under the supervision of an FGSS faculty member and defend that thesis orally before an honors committee. To be eligible, a student must have at least a cumulative 3.3 GPA in all course work and a 3.5 GPA in all courses applying to their FGSS major. Students enroll in FGSS 4990 - Senior Honors Thesis I   in the fall semester and FGSS 4991 - Senior Honors Thesis II  in the spring semester, and will meet independently with their director in these courses, which are taken in addition to the courses that meet the minimum requirements for the major. Students receive a grade of “R” for the first semester’s work; once the honors thesis is completed that “R” will be changed to a letter grade. Students interested in the honors program should consult the DUS late in the spring semester of their junior year, or very early in the fall semester of their senior year.

The FGSS Undergraduate Minor:

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 minor consists of five FGSS courses, through FGSS or the cross-listing department, that are completed with a grade of C– or above, 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 course from their major toward the FGSS minor. First-year writing seminars may not be included within the five required courses. Students wishing to minor in FGSS should fill out the online application.

The five courses required for the FGSS Undergraduate Minor must include:

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 gender 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 FGSS Graduate Minor:

The minor in Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary program committed to feminist and queer scholarship. Students pursuing the minor in Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies are required to take FGSS 6880 - Proseminar in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies . They must then choose a faculty member in the field of Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies to serve on their special committee and to participate in designing an appropriate interdisciplinary program of study.

This is a minor field. Application for admission is made only to the major fields. After matriculation, a student may select minor subjects from the major or minor fields. 

The LGBT Studies Undergraduate Minor:

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) Studies Program offers an undergraduate minor as well as a graduate minor. The undergraduate minor consists of four courses. For a complete listing of all courses that will fulfill this minor please see the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Studies  portion of this catalog.