who we are 

Explore the cultural and historical construction of sex, sexuality and gender in cross-cultural contexts with a major or minor in Critical Sexuality and Queer Studies at HWS, the first college or university to offer an undergraduate major in LGBT/Queer Studies in 2002. Drawing on methodologies from a range of fields in the humanities and social sciences, the program examines the lives of sexual and gender minorities throughout history, as well as the relation of gender and sexuality to the social body more generally. Among its primary concerns are the study of the embodiment, cultures, political formations, and creative expressions of queer and transgender people.

Student SpotlightJulia Cilano '23

Majors: Critical Sexuality and Queer Studies; English; French and Francophone Studies

"Being a queer person, I couldn't look to my grandparents to tell me about my history; I had to turn to the margins of history books. When I came to HWS, I enrolled in a Critical Sexuality and Queer Studies introductory course and my worldview would never be the same. My eyes were opened to queer history, queer theory and intersectional analyses that include race, ability, class and religion.

What I learn in CSQS courses is constantly applicable, relevant and crucial to understanding politics, activism and systems of power."

Experiential EducationEngaged Learning

Attend lectures on queer activism hosted by the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice or build community at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

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

Study the history of homosexuality in England or queer feminist authors in Belgium.

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.

The Center for Global Education offers more than 50 abroad programs on six continents with faculty from the CSQS Studies department sponsoring the program in Norwich, England.

Students abroad in Belgium


Explore the intersection of sex, sexuality and gender.

CSQS 101 – Introduction to Critical Sexuality and Queer Studies

Introduction to key concepts, events, and movements in the history of the contemporary CSQS (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and queer politics in the United States. 

CSQS 206/306 – Sexuality and Space 

Examine the relationships between gender, sexuality and space through the fundamental concepts of cultural geography, urban planning, and architecture.

CSQS 302 – Trans*Studies

Through a focus on the tensions between feminist, queer, and trans theory and activism, this course explores the burgeoning academic field of Trans Studies. 

History of the Program

Hobart and William Smith Colleges became the first college or university to offer an undergraduate major in LGBT/Queer Studies in 2002. Over those two decades, the program has expanded and evolved, remaining up to date with the times, as it continues on today. 

Alum ImpactLearning and Growing


Gabriella Kenney '21 Marketing & Sales Representative at CTM Marketing

Major: Media and Society
Minor: Critical Sexuality and Queer Studies 

"HWS helped me hone and identify my key interests, helped me to learn and develop new skills, and will help me continue to grow and develop personally and in the future as I grow in my profession."

Companies That Employ Our graduates

  • America Reads
  • City of St. Petersburg
  • Dennis Yarmouth Regional School District
  • Hyde School 
  • Lakeview Health Services 
  • New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 
  • Peace Corps
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Success Academy Charter Schools 
  • Teach for America
  • The Robinson Group 
  • Third Republic 
  • YWCA Seattle King Snohomish 

universities where our graduates are studying 

  • Boston University 
  • California University for Science & Medicine 
  • Murray State University 
  • Seattle University 
  • University of California Davis