Two students in Professor Khary Polk's class "Queer Theory and Practice." Photo by Takudzwa Tapfuma '17
Students in Professor Khary Polk's class "Queer Theory and Practice."

Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies in an interdisciplinary exploration of feminist and queer thought in a variety of global and historical contexts. Our faculty specialize in literature, history, anthropology, film, and politics.

SWAGS alum have pursued careers in a wide variety of fields including education, music, consulting, medical research, art education, development, public radio, and non-profit management.

Our Courses

We offer a wide variety of elective courses in a variety of disciplines. Elective offerings change from year to year depending on the interests of students and faculty.

  • Courses numbered in the 100s are introductory courses and assume no prior knowledge of the subject.
  • Courses numbered in the 200s are typically more demanding, but will still tend to be introductory in nature. Some knowledge of women, gender or sexuality is helpful but not usually required.
  • Courses numbered in the 300s and 400s are seminar classes which delve deeply into a particular subject area. These courses generally have smaller enrollments. Some include a research component. Some faculty expect students to have already taken two or more courses on women, gender or sexuality.
  • If you have a topic or set of interests that you would like to study, which is not covered in a course currently offered at Amherst College, you could look into the possibility of taking a Special Topics course.
  • Please check a course’s description for its particular prerequisites.

When you declare a SWAGS major

  • You are joining a vibrant community of student and faculty scholars at Amherst College and across the Five Colleges.
  • You will be matched up with a departmental advisor who can help you navigate the SWAGS and liberal arts curriculum in the best way possible for you. This personal advising relationship is important! Remember that it is up to you to make the most of your SWAGS major. Think about the academic and professional goals you wish to achieve, read up on the major requirements and course offerings, and plan ahead.
  • You will receive a SWAGS Major Form to help you keep track of your requirements for the major.
  • You will be invited to department sponsored and co-sponsored events, such as lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, our annual fall reception, and our end-of-the-year celebration.
  • You will be encouraged to support the life of the department by contributing to the annual SWAGS Newsletter, participating in faculty searches, and assisting with other department projects.
  • Sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply for the Rose Olver Student Fund, a summer research fellowship.