an empowering education 

Study sexuality, sexual orientation and gender with a major or minor in LGBTQ+ Studies. The program, which happens to be the first collegiate program of it's kind in the nation, provides you with the context to:

  • Understand interdisciplinarity as a syngergistic orientation through which to address complex social issues
  • Utilize intersectionality to better understand the complexities of lived experience and structural inequality 
  • Decenter norms in order to better understand a broad range of human experiences 
  • Think critically and reflexively about the self in relation to others
  • Promote an orientation toward social justice and the tools to take action

You'll leave HWS with a knowledge of the history of LGBTQ+ social justice and political movements and be ready to tackle the emerging challenges of the discipline.

LGBTQ+ Studies lives under the Gender, Sexuality and Intersectional Justice department at HWS. The department links the Colleges’ programs on race, sexuality, gender, disability and more, providing holistic, interdisciplinary views on topics including sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Experiential EducationMaking Learning Real

Attend lectures by leading queer scholars at the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice or work with the Centennial Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation to develop queer-friendly startups. The LGBTQ+ Resource Center creates community for LGBTQIA+ identifying and allied students, faculty and staff.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.



No Borders:Global Education

Explore gender relations in Denmark or sexual norms in Vietnam. 

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.

Mountain Top


Belonging, Diversity and Equity

Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the core of LGBTQ+ Studies and the Gender, Sexuality and Intersectional Justice department. The program's focus of intersectionality recognizes how power creates structures of inequity, sexism and racism, and how it needs to be deconstructed through feminist, non-heteronormative and decolonial lenses, to name a few. The program also focuses on decentering norms to better understand complexities of lived experiences and structural inequality, along with promoting social justice and connections across campus to make issues of gender, sexuality and intersectional justice central to the curriculum. 


Explore the lives and experiences of LGBTQIA2+ folks transhistorically and globally though social justice and political movements. 

Courses include:  

gsij 100 introduction to gender, sexuality, and intersectional justice 

Analyze the notion that sex, gender, sexuality, ability, race, and other categories of identity shape the social world in a myriad of ways, from how we organize our families and communities and how we spend time, to how we conceptualize the self and make meaning, to how we interact with our environment and create and re-create the body.

gsij 213 Transnational Feminisms

Investigate how gendered bodies travel, perform, and are understood in a wide variety of national, diasporic, and global media contexts, from theater and film, to politics and popular culture. 

gsij 247 History, Psychology, and Feminism 

Examine the intersecting stories of psychology and feminisim, from early case studies of hysteria and spiritualism through to mid-century depictions of the "mommy pill," "how the clinic made gender" and to late twentieth and early twenty-first century concerns around gender, race and bodies. 

gsij 250 chicana feminism and visual culture  

Discover Chicana feminism, from the emergence of Chicana as an identity category and its challenges to Chicano and feminist activism and the radical ways Chicanas have employed visual, performance, and graphic arts as a means of educating and catalyzing social change. 

gsij 300 Who's Afraid of Gender? questions of freedom & intersectional feminisms

Engage in matters of and movements for freedom, equality, justice and liberation through intersectional feminisms’ long history of thinkers and theory. 

gsij 305 food, feminism, and health  

Explore a variety of topics arising at the intersection of food, health, and the body, including agricultural sustainability, genetically modified foods, local food activism and nutrition and health policy. 


Amplify your Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectional Justice degree with the skills, knowledge and ethical foundation needed to be a leader in the 21st century. In partnership with the Centennial Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, our department offers the opportunity to engage in leadership development that culminates in a degree with leadership distinction and provides a competitive edge when applying to internships, jobs and graduate or professional school.

To graduate with leadership distinction, you will complete a series of foundational, action-oriented and reflective milestones within the Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectional Justice and Leadership curriculum. We encourage you to begin your leadership journey as early as your second semester on campus.


Alum ImpactMaking a Difference

The insights you learn in the LGBTQ+ Studies program, apply to a myriad of fields post-graduation. A sampling of our grads is below.

  • Katharine Collins ‘09: School Social Worker; Geneva Middle/High School 
  • Gabriella Kenney '21: Marketing and Sales Representative; CTM Marketing 
  • Dineo Mmutla ‘15: Assistant Teacher; Hyde School 
  • Marisela Palafox ‘18: Sprint Associate; Success Academy Charter School 
  • Leah Segal ‘16: Registered Nurse; University of Rochester 
  • Tiantian Qin ‘17: Medical Student; California University of Science & Medicine 
  • Alexander Wilcox ‘16: Doctorate Student in Chemistry; University of California Davis