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Majors, Minors and
Pre-Professional Programs

With 45 majors and 68 minors, students have plenty of opportunities for exploration. All majors, except those marked with an asterisk, can also be pursued as minors.

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Africana Studies

The Africana studies program enhances the educational development of students by offering courses that reflect the experience of Africa, African Americans, and the African diaspora. The program offers an interdisciplinary major in Africana studies and interdisciplinary minors in African studies, Africana studies, and African American studies.

Africana Studies

American Studies

The American Studies program interprets American culture form an interdisciplinary point of view that combines critical social science and humanities approaches. The program provides a basis for graduate study in a variety of fields, as well as an excellent background for law, journalism, and other professional careers.

American Studies

Anthropology

Anthropology explores the multifaceted dimensions of human societies as a means to understand human behavior, social interactions and institutional structures in all their diversity. At HWS, students are given the opportunity to study these disciplines together to better appreciate the human experience.

Anthropology

Anthropology and Sociology*

Anthropology and Sociology are closely related social science disciplines that study the ways in which people live and interact together under various social and cultural conditions. By understanding the multifaceted dimensions of human societies, the disciplines seek to understand human behavior, social interactions and institutional structures in all their diversity.

Anthropology and Sociology

Architectural Studies*

At the core of Hobart and William Smith's Architectural Studies program is a belief in the value of design as an iterative process and the importance of developing a critical eye on the art, architecture, landscapes and cities of our time.

Architectural Studies

Art: Art History

Art History trains students to develop a critical awareness of the role cultural production plays in the creation and contestation of structures of power as well as identity. Understanding a variety of visual languages - ancient to modern, east to west - and the ideologies hidden therein could not be more relevant in a world today awash in overt and covert visual messages.

Art: Art History

Art: Studio Art

The Department of Art and Architecture offers an in-depth experience of fine art, where vision and critical thinking are valued, while providing a firm foundation in studio art techniques and principles. This means that when students graduate, they do so with the skills necessary to pursue a career in the arts.

Art: Studio Art

Arts and Education

The Arts and Education program provides students with an opportunity to examine the role of the arts in fostering personal and cultural development.

Arts and Education

Asian Studies

Asian Studies is designed to acquaint students with cultural elements that are unique to Asia while providing a firm foundation for further study. At HWS, students are encouraged to participate in an off-campus program in Asia as a way to become fully immersed in the discipline.

Asian Studies

Biochemistry*

The Biology and Chemistry departments offer a rigorous joint major to those students interested in the intersection of biology and chemistry.

Biochemistry

Biology

The Biology department offers students a solid foundation in modern biology and provides opportunities for advanced and independent investigation within the context of a robust liberal arts curriculum.

biology

Chemistry

The Chemistry Department curriculum is designed for students with a wide variety of interests and needs and is approved by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society.

Chemistry

Classics

Classical Studies explores all aspects of the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, the context of their interaction with the rest of the Mediterranean world, and their subsequent influence on our own day.

Classics

Comparative Literature

The Comparative Literature program allows students to pursue a broad literary education that is informed by critical theory and knowledge of comparative methodologies. The study of Comparative Literature is flexible and interdisciplinary, involving art, music, politics, philosophy, history, anthropology and other fields.

Comparative Literature

Computer Science

Beneath the technical knowledge necessary for working with computers, Computer Science is, at its core, very much the study of how to solve problems. At HWS, students enrolled in computer science courses learn critical problem-solving skills.

Computer Science

Critical Sexuality and Queer Studies

Students in Critical Sexuality and Queer Studies explore the cultural and historical construction of sex, sexuality and gender in cross-cultural contexts. 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.

LGBT Studies

Critical Social Studies

The Critical Social Studies program focuses on theory, emphasizing social and cultural theories and their interrelationships. Though we hold differing interpretations of what theory is, we share an understanding of its rootedness in the lived practice of everyday lives.

Critical Social Studies

Dance

The curriculum of the Dance Department is designed to be a basis for graduate study or careers in the areas of choreography, performance, teaching, dance administration and movement science.

Dance

Economics

Economics is a discipline that encompasses a breadth of policy-related topics, from energy and the environment to poverty and welfare. The department’s forward-thinking approach encourages its students to evaluate current policy by actively questioning mainstream thinking.

Economics

Education

The Education Department prepares scholar activists in field such as social justice, teaching through drama, science education, mathematics education, literacy and special education. The department’s New York State-registered programs lead to licensure for public school teaching in grades 1-6, in grades 1-6 for students with disabilities, in most secondary school subjects, and in art for grades K-12.

Education

English

The discipline of English is as dynamic and far-ranging as the language itself. In an English class, you might analyze a medieval poem or produce your own piece of flash fiction. You might consider literature's relationship to historic social change or trace its role in contemporary political conflict. You will investigate the meaning of life, build unassailable arguments and find your own voice.

English

Environmental Studies

Earth's environment is maintained through complex feedback mechanisms which, over geologic time, have created an environment replete with myriad life forms and incredible biological, geological, and cultural diversity. Humans have always affected their environment, but since industrialization, the nature and scope of human impact has increased dramatically.

Environmental Studies

European Studies

The European Studies program allows students to fully explore and absorb the culture, language, history and philosophy of the nations being studied. The program’s interdisciplinary approach combines classes from several different departments to provide complete coverage of the European experience.

European Studies

French and Francophone Studies

The French and Francophone Studies Department offers courses that acknowledge the richness and diversity of French-speaking cultures. At HWS, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in French language and culture by participating in one of the study abroad programs offered through the Center for Global Education.

French and Francophone Studies

Geoscience

Geoscience is the study of our planet, its lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. Geoscientists use their expertise to monitor changes in the environment, gain a greater understanding of our natural world, predict and evaluate how human activities may contribute to environmental change, and manage Earth’s resources.

Geoscience

Greek

Offerings in the Department of Classics explore all aspects of the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, the context of their interaction with the rest of the Mediterranean world, and their subsequent influence on our own day. The Department of Classics offers disciplinary majors and minors in Greek.

Greek

History

The Department of History conceives the human community in time, to explain events in their various connections; in space, juxtaposing events on one part of the world with those in other parts of the world; and in a system of analytic categories, exploiting every feature of the disciplines that offer insight into human thought and activity in the past.

History

Individual Major*

The Individual Major caters to students whose interests involve several subjects. With the guidance of a faculty sponsor, a student can plan a program and identify specific courses to be taken.

Individual Major

International Relations

Designed to coordinate with the extensive off-campus study programs available at HWS, the International Relations program offers students the rigor and flexibility to turn their fascination with world affairs into invaluable training for post-graduate careers.

International Relations

Latin

Offerings in the Department of Classics explore all aspects of the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, the context of their interaction with the rest of the Mediterranean world, and their subsequent influence on our own day. The Department of Classics offers disciplinary majors and minors in Latin.

Latin

Latin American Studies

The Latin American Studies department provides students with the knowledge to explore the vibrant world of Latin America through diverse course offerings and unique study abroad opportunities.

Latin American Studies

Mathematics

To meet the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities encountered after graduation, Mathematics majors are encouraged to obtain a broad but firm foundation in the discipline.

Mathematics

Media & Society

"Media studies" refers to the examination of visual, aural and textual information and entertainment that is reproduced and transmitted to mass audiences using a series of complex and changing technologies. HWS was among the first liberal arts colleges in the country to offer a major in Media Studies in 1996.

Media & Society

Music

The Music Department offers courses in history, theory and performance that are designed to help students develop a musical understanding. Whether it is a desire to broaden a cultural perspective or to pursue a professional career in music, students can create a plan of study that is uniquely their own.

Music

Philosophy

Courses in the Philosophy Department provide students with a background in the history of philosophy, and develop competence in the analysis and evaluation of philosophical problems.

Philosophy

Physics

Physics has been identified as the branch of science that seeks to discover, unify and apply the most basic laws of nature. The study of Physics provides a strong background for students who are planning for careers in areas such as physics, astrophysics, astronomy, geophysics, oceanography, meteorology, engineering, operations research, teaching, philosophy, medicine and law.

Physics

Political Science

The Department of Political Science provides students with an understanding of the important political questions that surround issues of power. We help students in the major become familiar with a range of theoretical perspectives and epistemological methods, develop the ability to analyze data critically, and deconstruct texts, to conduct independent academic research, and to write clearly about significant political trends and events.

Political Science

Psychological Science

Psychological Science provides students with a broad introduction to the study of behavior and its underlying processes with an emphasis on psychology as an experimental science.

Psychological Science

Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies brings a variety of perspectives to the study of a significant aspect of human existence: religion. At HWS, the study of religion is intrinsically multicultural and interdisciplinary as students learn through different academic approaches like historical, ethical, political and theological angles.

Religious Studies

Russian History and Society*

Students in the Russian Area Studies Department explore the rich language and culture of Russia through a diverse selection of courses. At HWS, students are encouraged to expand their knowledge of Russian language and culture by participating in one of many study abroad opportunities offered through the Center for Global Education.

Russian History and Society

Russian Language and Culture*

Students in the Russian Area Studies department explore the rich language and culture of Russia through a diverse selection of courses. At HWS, students are encouraged to expand their knowledge of Russian language and culture by participating in one of many study abroad opportunities offered through the Center for Global Education.

Russian Language and Culture

Sociology

Sociology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is activist and change oriented. Students typically study social behavior in modern industrial societies, especially the United States. Sociology stands between the humanities and the physical sciences, embracing core humanist concerns while at the same time incorporating the methodological rigor of the physical sciences.

Sociology

Spanish and Hispanic Studies

The Spanish and Hispanic Studies Department offers a diverse selection of courses in which students explore the many facets of Spanish-speaking cultures. At HWS, students are encouraged to expand their knowledge of the language and culture by participating in one of the many study abroad programs offered through the Center for Global Education.

Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Theatre

The Theatre Department provides students with the opportunity to explore the literature of the theatre as well as the performance of theatre. At HWS, students apply concepts learned in the classroom to live performance experiences.

Theatre

Women’s Studies

The field of Women’s Studies concerns itself with developing critical knowledge and implementing world-building practices of justice and equality in national and transitional contexts.

Women’s Studies

Writing and Rhetoric

The Writing and Rhetoric Department approaches writing as both art and craft. The department guides students to refine their talent for analysis and argument, learn to express their own ideas in creative ways, sharpen their sense of audience, and pay close attention to the details of grammar and style.

Writing and Rhetoric

Pre-Professional Programs

Students can enhance their studies through specialized advising and dual degree programs.

Majors Minors Pre-Professional Programs

Engineering

A joint-degree in engineering program is offered with the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University and The Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. In general, students in the Columbia program spend three years at HWS and then two years at Columbia. In the Dartmouth program, a student usually spends the first two years at HWS, the third year at Dartmouth, the senior year at HWS, and a fifth and final year at Dartmouth.

Engineering

Health Professions

Hobart and William Smith Colleges is an ideal place to prepare for a career in the health professions. Over the past five years our placement rate for medical, dental and veterinary school applicants has exceeded 80%, well above national averages.

Health Professions

Pre-Business Program

Pre-Business advising prepares Hobart and William Smith students for a career path to business by enhancing the curriculum with business-specific subjects like economics, accounting, finance, statistics and market research.

Pre-Business Program

Pre-Law Program

The Pre-Law program at HWS provides extensive counseling for pre-law students throughout their undergraduate years as well as assistance with the law school application process. Through the Cornell University 3+3 Program, HWS students can earn their bachelor’s degree at HWS and their law degree from Cornell University.

Pre-Law Program

Teacher Education Program

Students at HWS may prepare to be teachers and earn a teaching certificate while pursuing their chosen major and minor.

Teacher Certification Programs