Photo of Classroom


Maymester is a new Hobart and William Smith program designed for first-year students who, at the end of the spring semester, may need one or more credits to ensure normal progress toward the degree.

The program is not a typical summer course, but a wide-ranging, intensive academic experience designed to support success at the Colleges, offering intellectually stimulating exposure to the interdisciplinary thinking central to an HWS education. Maymester addresses several of the Eight Curricular Goals and provides expert residential support to strengthen research, analytical and writing skills. The program also provides a chance to explore personal interests and deepens each student's connection to HWS and the context in which the Colleges have evolved.

Beginning May 18, 2014, and continuing four consecutive weeks, the Maymester program offers 24 students the opportunity to live on campus while enrolled in the new course, "Geneva in Time: Environment and Society."

The Course

Week I

Introduces the Finger Lakes natural environment. Through reading and field experience, students will examine the diverse ecologies of Geneva and the surrounding areas.


Week II

Uses the lens of history to investigate how the food systems of the indigenous Iroquois and of incoming European settlers interacted at the local and then, tragically, at the military levels. How did these systems change each other and shape the world we inhabit today?


Week III

Examines Geneva's increasing integration into the emerging global economic system in the 19th and 20th centuries. Geographic location determined access to transportation systems, which attracted industry, immigrants, and military facilities. Students will explore what elements of the city remain intact from 1825 and what has changed beyond recognition.


Week IV

Engages an active sociological understanding of Geneva. Through first-hand account interviews, service learning projects and reflection, students will explore Geneva's citizens and leaders today. How do they describe the city's strengths, weaknesses and – through the lenses of social class, race, and ethnicity – the forces that create dissonance and coherence in a community?


The Program

The 24 Maymester students will reside in Carr McGuire House on South Main Street, with a deck and lawn overlooking Seneca Lake. Carr McGuire has a full kitchen; meals will also be provided for students in the Faculty Dining Room in the Scandling Campus Center.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The Maymester program cost including tuition, room, board and all field experiences, is $4,000. Financial aid is available to students who qualify.


Applying to the Maymester Program

Students who have or will have one or more outstanding credit hours on their transcript, and who are in good social standing, may apply to the Maymester program. Students will be selected for the 24 available spots based on their academic transcripts and two application essays of 300 words each, responding to the following questions:

  • Reflecting on your HWS transcript to date, what does it suggest or demonstrate about your academic interests, challenges and strengths?

  • How might the Maymester course, "Geneva in Time," be beneficial to you in terms of skills, interests and future academic plans?

Application forms may be picked up at the Hobart or William Smith Deans' offices or downloaded here.

The deadline for application is Friday, April 11 at 5 p.m.

Download Application