Women's Studies



Women's Studies has been taught at the Colleges since 1969 and was among the first programs to offer a major in the country.

Its emergent goals were to question critically foundational tenets of knowledge. The field concerns itself with rethinking and redefining core assumptions about women, gender, race, class and sexuality in ways that identify and redress social, historical, economic, political and cultural inequities.

Women's Studies majors and minors engage in innovative and scholarly history, theory, research and activism across a broad band of academic study toward what is proposed as feminism's broader project of creating new kinds of questions, forms of expression, representation, knowledge and epistemology.

Women's Studies offers an interdisciplinary major, a B.A., and a minor.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in Women's Studies or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

interdisciplinary, 10 courses

WMST 100, WMST 300, WMST 401, a feminist research and methodology course (WMST 323, WMST 305, WMST 301 or other as approved by the program), and six additional women’s studies elective courses that create an area of concentration and include courses from at least two divisions and at least four departments or programs.

Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 6 courses

WMST 100, a 300-level feminist theory course (WMST 300, ENG 304, POL 375, or SOC 340), and four additional women’s studies elective courses from at least two divisions and at least two departments or programs.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of multiple perspectives on gender.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making Women's Studies a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

WMST 204 The Politics of Health


Examine health issues as they relate to the politics of race, gender and sexuality, and explore how gender affects health treatment through various movements for reproductive rights, AIDS activism, sterilization and safer sex education. Then enroll in PHIL 156 Biomedical Ethics, and examine other ethical issues, such as the allocation of medical resources, that arise in the practice of medicine, in the delivery of health care and in biomedical research.

WMST 247 History, Psychology and Feminism

Should the history of feminism and psychology be x-rated, as was asked once of science more generally? This question opens onto psychology’s expressways where histories of feminism, gender, sexuality, race and what are sometimes called the “psy” disciplines crosscut in the greater search for knowledge of who we are or might become. Running parallel throughout this history are the ways feminist and critical gender scholars tackled the very ways the science of psychology upheld cultural conventions of gender, race and sexuality. This course examines these tangled stories from early case studies of hysteria and spiritualism through to mid-century depictions of the “mommy pill” and to late twentieth and early twenty-first century concerns around gender and bodies. The course uses history, theory and research in psychology to appreciate psychology’s changing views, treatment and study of diverse lives, and how feminism shaped psychology as much as psychology shaped feminism.

WMST 309 Stormy Weather: Ecofeminism


Track the debates on environmentalism and feminism, including questions of oppression, environmental degradation, weather and technologies of war as it seeks to chart new ways out of our current environmental quandary. Study more about the environment in BIO 225 Ecology, and examine ecological theories as they apply to individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.