For more information about the history of the Colleges, visit HWS History.

To learn more about HWS faculty members, check out Meet The Faculty.

2018-2020 CATALOGUE

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2018-2020 HWS Catalogue (REVISED)

2016-2018 CATALOGUE

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2014-2016 CATALOGUE

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Since Hobart’s founding in 1822 and William Smith’s founding in 1908, Hobart and William Smith Colleges have stayed true to their mission of providing a student-centered, residential learning environment, globally focused, and grounded in the values of equity and service. Located on 320 acres on the shore of Seneca Lake in a setting of incomparable beauty, Hobart and William Smith Colleges enjoy a rich heritage based on a two-college system now unique in higher education.

As an institution of higher education, Hobart and William Smith are dedicated to educating young men and women to lead lives of consequence. In all their work, the Colleges are bolstered by the dedication and philanthropy of loyal alumni, alumnae, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends. Through a challenging liberal arts curriculum, the Colleges prepare students to think critically and make astute connections. In partnership with the Geneva and global communities and through robust programs in career development, study abroad, service, leadership and athletics, the Colleges foster an environment that values global citizenship, teamwork, ethics, inclusive excellence, social justice and cultural competence.

The Colleges offer three degrees – Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Teaching. The Master of Arts is designed exclusively for HWS graduates enrolled in the Teacher Education Program. The student body includes 2,230 undergraduate students and 7 graduate students. HWS has 221 full-time faculty members and a student-faculty ratio of 10:1. The average class size is 16 students.

Sixty percent of HWS students study abroad on six continents and the abroad program ranked No. 1 in the nation by Princeton Review in 2017 for the percentage of students participating in off-campus programs. With 100% of students taking part in community service, the Colleges have been consistently named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Hobart and William Smith Colleges are nationally recognized for their sustainability efforts. HWS recently achieved LEED Gold certification for the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and installed two solar farms that together will produce 50% of the institution’s energy. The Colleges have more than 22,500 alumni and alumnae with distinguished careers around the globe.

In the past decade, HWS students have been awarded a Marshall Scholarship, Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, six Ernest F. Hollings Scholarships, four Morris K. Udall Scholarships, four Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships and 35 Fulbright’s. Students have received FBI internships, a Pfizer Fellowship, an EPA internship, American Chemical Society Scholarships and Merck Fellowships. Recent graduates are teaching English in Taiwan, working for NGOs, and have accepted assignments in the Peace Corps and Teach for America. Others are working on Wall Street, Capitol Hill, or attending prestigious graduate and professional schools. The Colleges boast over a 90% placement rate within 7-9 months after graduation.


When John Henry Hobart, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, visited Geneva in 1818, he knew that the bustling lakeside village was the perfect place to build what he called an, “outpost for civilized and learned behavior.” He founded Geneva College, and its first building, Geneva Hall, was completed in 1822.

Known as Geneva College until 1852 when it was renamed in memory of its most forceful advocate and founder, Hobart College offered a classical education, requiring that students pass courses in geometry, Latin grammar and Roman history. After 1834, students were also able to earn a medical education.

Notable 19th-century graduates included Albert James Myer, Class of 1847, a military officer who created the United States Weather Bureau; General E. S. Bragg of the Class of 1848, who was a commander in the Iron Brigade, served one term in Congress and later was ambassador to Mexico; two other 1848 graduates, Clarence Steward and Thomas
M. Griffith, who were assistant secretary of state and builder of the first national railroad across the Mississippi River, respectively; and Charles J. Folger, Class of 1836, who was U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1881 to 1884.

Amid the many distinguished male graduates of the 19th century was one woman. In an era when the prevailing wisdom was that no woman could withstand the intellectual and emotional rigors of a medical education, Elizabeth Blackwell applied to and was rejected - or simply ignored - by 17 medical schools before being admitted to Geneva College in 1847.

The medical faculty, largely opposed to her admission but unwilling to take responsibility for the decision, decided to submit the matter to the students for a vote. The men of the College voted to admit her. She graduated two years later, on Jan. 23, 1849, at the head of her class, the first woman doctor in the hemisphere.

Dr. Blackwell went on to found the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and had a role in the creation of its medical college. She then returned to her native England and helped found the National Health Society and taught at England’s first college of medicine for women. She was a pioneer in preventive medicine and in the promotion of antisepsis and hygiene, and was responsible for creating the first chair of hygiene at a medical college.

A new chapter in the history of the Colleges opened with the dawn of the 20th century. As Geneva philanthropist and nurseryman William Smith was determining how to best transform his wealth into opportunity for others, he befriended a number of suffragettes and activists including Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller. The two had a deep impact on him, encouraging him to become a part of the women’s movement. Through their involvement, Smith became committed to found a nondenominational, liberal arts institution dedicated to educating women broadly, not just vocationally.

On Dec. 13, 1906, Smith formalized his intentions, and two years later, William Smith College enrolled its first class of 18 students, although there were 20 by the end of the year.

Despite sharing facilities and teachers, Hobart College and William Smith College remained quite separate. Classes were conducted in duplicate, and William Smith students were not allowed on the Hobart campus. The strict separation eroded gradually as it became increasing impractical to enforce. In 1922, the first joint commencement was held, though baccalaureate services remained separate until 1942. By then, coeducational classes had become the norm, and the curriculum centered on the idea of an interdisciplinary education, encouraging students and faculty to consider their studies from multiple perspectives.

In 1943, during the administration of President John Milton Potter, William Smith College was elevated from its original status as a department of Hobart College to that of an independent college, on equal footing with Hobart. At President Potter’s suggestion, the two colleges established a joint corporate identity, adopting a “family” name: The Colleges of the Seneca, which remained the legal name of the Colleges until September, 2010.

As Hobart and William Smith matured and grew during the mid-20th century, students and faculty challenged the old rules and developed an increasingly innovative approach to education. To keep up with changing attitudes, the curriculum changed significantly during this time, moving from an intensive study of Western Civilization toward increasingly open-ended and goal-oriented requirements.

The focus on interdisciplinary education remained and strengthened, and HWS became one of the first colleges in the country to introduce a First-Year Seminar program. HWS saw the dawn of several other ground-breaking additions to the curriculum, including robust programs in Far Eastern studies, Russian studies, Black studies, women’s studies, Middle Eastern studies and men’s studies. In fact, Hobart and William Smith were the first in the nation to offer a degree in men’s studies.

It was also during this time that the international HWS campus was founded. In 1975, Professor of Art Elena Ciletti accompanied 30 students to Italy for the first HWS abroad program. Today, HWS students study on every continent except Antarctica.

Today, there remains an entrepreneurial spirit at HWS that has gained momentum in the past two decades. Through a series of five-year strategic plans and the recent completion of a successful campaign, Hobart and William Smith have made thoughtful and deliberate advances across key objectives improving academic excellence, intensifying student engagement, improving and enlarging facilities, advancing financial stability and expanding access.


Hobart and William Smith Colleges are a student-centered learning environment, globally focused, grounded in the values of equity and service, developing citizens who will lead in the 21st century.

The Colleges’ commitment to these principles was solidified in 1999 when they appointed the then-director of the Peace Corps as president of Hobart and William Smith. President Mark D. Gearan reinforced the Colleges’ commitment to global understanding and study abroad opportunities, community service, and service learning, with the goal of providing these elements through contemporary facilities and state-of-the-art technology.

In maintaining this environment, the Colleges create opportunities to engage faculty and students with other languages and diverse cultures. The majority of students participate in a study-abroad experience during their four years here. These experiences enhance what takes place on campus in the academic and social lives of students while allowing the community to delve into the broader intellectual world.

The academic program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges keeps this highly interactive environment alive. Education takes place not only inside classes, but also outside in off-campus programs and service projects. The Colleges view civic responsibility, community engagement, and international education as integral components of a liberal arts education. This rigorous academic program challenges students’ minds while expanding their horizons to new worlds.


Hobart and William Smith Colleges are accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and by the Regents of the University of the State of New York. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Registered Programs

The following is Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ inventory of registered programs approved by the New York State Education Department. The listing contains program title, degree awarded, and HEGIS code number.

Africana Studies, B.A., 0305
American Studies, B.A., 0313
Anthropology, B.A., 2202
Anthropology and Sociology, B.A., 2208
Architectural Studies, B.A., 4902
Art History, B.A., 1003
Asian Studies, B.A., 0301
Biology, B.A., B.S., 0401
Biochemistry, B.S., 0499
Chemistry, B.A., B.S., 1905
Classics, B.A., 1101
Comparative Literature, B.A., 1503
Computer Science, B.A., B.S., 0701
Critical Social Studies, B.A., 2299
Dance, B.A., 1008
Economics, B.A., 2204
Educational Studies, B.A., 0801
English, B.A., 1501
Environmental Studies, B.A., B.S., 0420
European Studies, B.A., 0310
French and Francophone Studies, B.A., 1102
Geoscience, B.A., B.S., 1999
Greek, B.A., 1110
History, B.A., 2205
Individual Studies, B.A., B.S., 4901
International Relations, B.A., 2207
Latin, B.A., 1109
Latin American Studies, B.A., 0308
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Studies, B.A., 2299
Mathematics, B.A., B.S., 1701
Media and Society, B.A., 0699
Music, B.A., 1005
Philosophy, B.A., 1509
Physics, B.A., B.S., 1902
Political Science, B.A., 2207
Psychology, B.A., B.S., 2001
Religious Studies, B.A., 1510
Russian Area Studies, B.A., 0307
Sociology, B.A., 2208
Spanish and Hispanic Studies, B.A., 1105
Studio Art, B.A., 1002
Theatre, B.A; 1007
Women’s Studies, B.A., 4903
Writing and Rhetoric, B.A., 1599

Teacher Certification

The Colleges offer a broad and innovative Teacher-Education Program (TEP) that combines extensive classroom experience in local schools and related seminars in the HWS education department. The TEP works in combination with the student’s liberal arts major.

Students can be certified (initial) to teach elementary grades 1-6 in the following areas:

  • Childhood
  • Childhood and Students with Disabilities (dual certification)

Note: Students pursuing childhood certification or dual certification can select almost any of the majors that HWS offers; however, there are a few exclusions including educational studies, studio art, theater, and writing and rhetoric. Students cannot have any one of these majors as their only major if they want to pursue teacher certification.

Students can be certified (initial) to teach adolescent grades 7-12 in the following areas (with a major in that area):

  • Biology, B.A., B.S., 0401
  • Chemistry, B.A., B.S., 1905
  • Earth Science, B.A., B.S., 1999 (with a major in geosciences)
  • English, B.A., 1501
  • French, B.A., 1102
  • Greek, B.A., 1110
  • Latin, B.A., 1109

  • Mathematics, B.A., B.S., 1701
  • Physics, B.A., B.S., 1902
  • Spanish, B.A., 1105
  • Social Studies (with a major in history, political science, or economics; and additional coursework)

Students can also be certified (initial) in the areas listed below:

  • Art (P-12), B.A., 1002 (with a major in studio art)
  • Music (P-12), B.A., 1005 (with a major in music)
  • TESOL (P-12) (with a major in: anthropology, English, French and Francophone Studies, history, individual studies (BA), international relations, psychology (BA), sociology, Spanish and Hispanic Studies, theatre, or writing and rhetoric)

The major in Educational Studies cannot be used as the basis for any teacher-certification program.

The major in Educational Studies is intended for students with interests in issues that intersect education, but who do not necessarily want to become certified classroom teachers.

Teacher-certification students may complete a major in Educational Studies as a second major, provided their first major is the appropriate basis for their teacher-certification program.

HWS students can also earn a Master of Arts degree through a fifth-year program at HWS, in the following areas: Adolescent Education, M.A.T., 0803
Childhood Education, M.A.T., 0802
Special Education Childhood, M.A.T., 0808*

*Certification in Special Education requires dual certification in Childhood and Students with Disabilities.

Graduation Rate

The graduation rate for Hobart students entering in the fall of 2012 and graduated by 2018 (six years later) was 73 percent. The graduation rate for William Smith students entering in the fall of 2012 and graduated by 2018 (six years later) was 79 percent. The overall graduation rate for both Colleges was 76 percent. Additional information on graduation rates and student retention is available from the Office of the Registrar.



Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.