The French Studies Program at Cornell, with the support of the College of Arts & Sciences, was established thanks to a grant from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy designating Cornell University as a "Centre Interdisciplinaire." The program promotes teaching and research on the French and Francophone worlds and serves as a resource center for teachers of French in upstate New York. Throughout the academic year, the program organizes lectures, colloquia, and other events dealing with various aspects of France and the Francophone countries (art, culture, thought and society). The French Studies Program actively contributes to creative and collective research from all the disciplines at Cornell. In inviting innovative and distinguished speakers from different countries, the program favors an atmosphere of intellectual exchange between undergrads, graduate students and scholars on campus.
The Department of German Studies offers students a wide variety of opportunities to explore the language, literature and culture of German-speaking countries. Courses are offered in English translation as well as in German, with subjects ranging from medieval to contemporary literature and include studies of film, visual culture, intellectual history, music, psychology and women's studies. The department also offers opportunities to explore Dutch and Swedish language.
The department is home to New German Critique, a leading journal that is devoted to publishing research on German culture in the 20th and 21st centuries, with particular focus on the history and theory of literature, theatre, media, intellectual history and the graphic arts. Students also have the opportunity as part of Cornell's Study Abroad program to attend the renowned Berlin Consortium for German Studies. The department works closely with the U.S.A.-Interns program to provide qualified students summer internships with German companies and agencies. All Cornell students are eligible to apply for a Certificate in German Language Study, which formally recognizes their study beyond the third semester (GERST 2000) of German language in the Department of German Studies.
Cornell's Department of Government is devoted to the study of how political power is shaped by institutions, and channeled and challenged by civic engagement, in local, national and international contexts. The faculty offers students a diverse field of study ranging from the analysis of the great texts of political philosophy to game theoretical approaches to politics, and from political economy to the examination of the behavior of decision makers and publics in the United States and other societies.
The government department offers students a variety of opportunities to engage with politics and political science, beginning in the classroom with the hands-on learning of different analytical approaches such as survey research, political psychology and the close reading of texts; with the chance to work one-on-one with faculty in the honors program or as research assistants; by participating in internships in Washington, D.C. through the Cornell in Washington Program; and drawing on the department's ties with programs across the College of Arts and Sciences with a focus on regions of the world, peace studies, and ethics and public life.
The Department of History is committed to pursuing excellence in historical scholarship and teaching across many different time periods and research interests. Its outstanding faculty specializes in a wide array of historical issues and themes that transcend particular regions and periods. Courses connect undergraduate and graduate students with the excitement of historical discovery and provide a rigorous training in researching and analyzing the human past.
The department thrives on its close relationship with many other departments, centers and area studies programs in the humanities and social sciences at Cornell. The faculty includes more than a dozen prize-winning authors as well as winners of Cornell’s prestigious teaching and advising awards.
The Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University prepares students to undertake journeys into visual culture through traditional areas of study such as ancient, Medieval and Renaissance art, as well as through the integration of recent fields of theory and research. Students explore the history of cultural interactions as manifested in visual culture both inside and outside the West, from antiquity to present. The department encourages the crossing not only of geographic but also disciplinary borders through exploration of a wide range of fields including architecture, urban planning, critical and post-colonial theory, media studies, the sciences and social history.
Courses are offered in conjunction with the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, such as The Museum and the Object and the Exhibition Seminar. In addition, the History of Art Majors' Society provides undergraduate art history majors or prospective art history majors the opportunity to organize an art exhibition. The group coordinates an exhibition annually at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. Students curate, work on funding and compose a catalogue. Each year the department sponsors the Visual Culture Colloquium, a research and discussion forum; the Graduate Student Symposium; and The Ruth Woolsey Findley and William Nichols Findley History of Art Lecture Series.
The Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM) addresses a key problem in the study of modern culture and society: the transnational history of modernity and its global scope. A broad range of scholarship over the last few decades has contested and complicated the two primary dimensions of the received narrative of modernity: that it arose strictly within the confines of Europe and that its extension outside Europe was a matter of simple diffusion and imitation. What is emerging instead is an account of modernity as a global process in which deep and multifarious interconnections have created complementary cultural formations.
The Institute is dedicated to the study of modernity in such a transnational and comparative perspective. Its primary emphasis will fall on neglected or under-studied articulations of modernity outside of the historically constituted hegemonic spaces of Europe and the United States, but it will also give serious attention to conflicts and complexities within the West. Inadequate understandings of the complex history of modernity have led to simplistic and untenable positions that unknowingly repeat colonialism’s ideological juxtapositions of “us” and “them,” with modernity (and all the positive connotations of historical progress that accrue to the term) all on one side and inscrutable backwardness all on the other. This results in ghettoized scholarship that is damaging to all.
The standard equation of modernity with the West needs to be problematized and opened up to comparative examination. The Institute hopes to galvanize work in this direction by encouraging cross-disciplinary collaborative research that advances a genuinely global analysis of modernity that is also empirically faithful to geographical and historical specificity. By bringing attention to less frequently studied aesthetic and social practices from non-Western and immigrant communities, the Institute hopes to correct accounts of modernity as primarily Western in origin and dynamics.
The Institute for German Cultural Studies (IGCS) is a research-oriented initiative designed both to recognize extraordinary cross-disciplinary strengths in the study of German culture at Cornell University and to foster lively scholarly exchange pertaining to the interdisciplinary study of German intellectual life from the medieval era to the present. Events ranging from large conferences, bi-weekly colloquia, focal workshops, special lectures, a faculty summer seminar co-sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and an artist-in-residence program create a vibrant intellectual forum for deepening our understanding of German culture in its own right and in its broad significance for critical inquiry throughout the humanities and social sciences. Participants include scholars, students, teachers and community members engaged in diverse fields throughout the humanities and social sciences, and they additionally reflect international partnerships with selected universities in Germany. Transnational influences on German culture in earlier historical periods and our current age of globalization increasingly inform our discussions as well.
The IGCS regularly brings together thoughtful innovators and diverse audiences to advance the critical enterprise of interdisciplinary German Studies and to consider how knowledge of German-speaking cultures can enhance our grasp of cultural formations, intellectual history, literary studies, visual studies and media arts, and political constellations. Devoted in part to mentoring graduate students in their professional development, the IGCS additionally provides undergraduate students with a rich palette of activities and opportunities to expand their intellectual horizons and international perspectives through the multi-faceted study of German culture. The Institute for German Cultural Studies is above all a lively venue for serious, shared and interdisciplinary reflection on what it means to study German intellectual and cultural life.
The Jewish Studies Program ensures that the richness of Jewish culture and its impact on civilization are vigorously presented to the Cornell community. The program offers training in the languages, literature, and history of the Jewish people, as these developed across the globe and over thousands of years. It also focuses on the tense and productive relation between Jews and their various others. Jewish studies course offerings cover Jewish civilization from its ancient Near Eastern origins through its contemporary history. The program is interdisciplinary, and serves as a common address for faculty from an array of departments, such as Near Eastern studies, English, history, anthropology, German studies, government, comparative literature, and linguistics.
The Jewish Studies Program offers a minor, and provides instruction and specialization in the fields of Semitic languages; the Hebrew Bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature and film; ancient, medieval and modern Jewish history; Holocaust Studies; Jewish ethnography; and Yiddish culture.
The John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines at Cornell University supports writing seminars and writing intensive courses in a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and at all levels of undergraduate education; it also engages in a variety of outreach activities.
The Knight Institute coordinates the First-Year Writing Seminar Program, which serves the vast majority of first-year students at Cornell. It also has developed advanced-writing initiatives: it coordinates Writing in the Majors, an upper-level program, and supports English 2880/2890: Expository Writing. The Knight Institute is also home to the Writing Workshop, which offers tutorial writing classes and tutoring services. In all, more than thirty-five academic departments and programs offer courses associated with the Knight Institute's programs.
As support for its programs, the Knight Institute offers developmental programs and training. Faculty and graduate students who will teach First-Year Writing Seminars or who will offer courses associated with Writing in the Majors may participate in the Faculty Seminar for Writing Instruction, in Writing 7100: Teaching Writing, or in Writing 7101: Writing in the Majors. Other programs are also available.
Among its outreach efforts the Knight Institute includes the Cornell Consortium for Writing in the Disciplines, an annual June gathering of nine institutions from the United States and abroad. The Knight Institute hosted the Fourth National Writing Across the Curriculum Conference.
The Language Resource Center (LRC) is a hub for language innovation and collaboration at Cornell University. Its mission is to connect, support, and empower language learners and teachers. The LRC provides flexible physical and virtual spaces, facilitates access to resources, and advocates best practices.
The LRC is a member of the Shared Course Initiative, a collaboration between Columbia, Cornell, and Yale universities to share instruction of less commonly taught languages across distance. It is also a member of the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning an association of five institutions of higher education dedicated to the study and instruction of second languages at the post-secondary level.
In a support capacity for language programs at Cornell, the LRC offers professional development and training opportunities for faculty and students. The center supports language educators in materials development and offers grants for effective and innovative projects that enhance language instruction at Cornell. Other pedagogically-focused projects include the LRC Speaker Series and the LRC podcast, Speaking of Language. Learning-centered resources include weekly conversation hours in a variety of languages, Foreign Languages Across The Curriculum (FLAC) and Jumpstart courses in collaboration with most Colleges on campus, and online interactive learning exercises and materials.
The LRC collaborates with other units and programs on campus to support and advocate for language and culture learning on campus and in the area.
The LRC is located on the ground floor of Stimson Hall.
Latinas/os are reshaping the United States, the Americas and beyond, and transforming the landscape of higher education. Humanities and social science scholars affiliated with the Latina/o Studies Program at Cornell focus on diverse Latino communities in the United States, and engage questions about community histories, im/migration, politics, labor, education, language and identity, health, literature, art and performance.
Drawn to the excitement of an emergent academic and interdisciplinary field of study, undergraduate and graduate students from many different majors are choosing to minor in Latina/o Studies. A focus on diverse U.S. Latino communities is highly relevant to many professions and careers—including medicine and health, law, social policy, education (community-based, school and adult), government, business and many other areas. A majority of Latina/o Studies Program courses are drawn from anthropology, history, government, English, comparative literature, sociology, performing and media studies, music and other departments across the university which offer courses that are cross-listed with the program.
The Latina/o Studies Program undergraduate and graduate minor is available to all students in any college at Cornell.
The field of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies is devoted to the investigation of the complexities of sexuality and its importance to the organization of social relations more generally. Primary among its concerns is also the study of the lives, the politics and the creative work of sexual and gender minorities. LGBT Studies is founded on the premise that the social organization of sexuality is best studied from interdisciplinary perspectives. At present, the program includes courses using a variety of methodological tools and disciplinary approaches: anthropological, psychological, sociological, biological, political, historical, literary, musical and artistic. LGBT Studies offers an undergraduate minor and a graduate minor. While LGBT Studies intersects with the critical principles of the Program in Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, courses that qualify for the LGBT minor will concentrate on questions pertaining to how sexuality and the discourse of sexual minorities and majorities, and normative and non-normative sexual practices, are mobilized in formations of power, knowledge, sociality, and subjectivity.
Linguistics, the systematic study of human language, lies at the crossroads of the humanities and the social sciences, drawing on a special combination of intuition and rigor that the analysis of language demands. With its further goal to model the cognitive mechanisms for acquiring and storing the knowledge of language, linguistics is also closely related to the cognitive sciences.
The department’s focus spans most of the major subfields of linguistics, with particular strengths in areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, as well as computational linguistics, historical linguistics and language documentation. Our department integrates a strong theoretical emphasis with experimental approaches and careful attention to language description and documentation. The Cornell Phonetics Laboratory is fully equipped and provides an integrated environment for the experimental study of speech and language, including its production, perception and acquisition. The Computational Linguistics Lab supports theoretical and applied work in the area of computational modeling.
The Department of Literatures in English embraces new approaches to literary study while maintaining traditional strengths in creative writing and the history of literature in English. In seminars and lecture courses, the department seeks to foster critical thinking, close reading, and lucid writing, while offering instruction in a wide range of genres, periods and traditions, from Medieval and Renaissance literature to contemporary US and global fiction.
The professors of Literatures in English include scholars, theorists, poets, and novelists. In addition to having access to a world-class library system, students can participate in many interdisciplinary opportunities on campus. Lively series of speakers, readings, colloquia and conferences provide a context for sustained learning and debate within the humanities.
The Department of Mathematics at Cornell University is known throughout the world for its distinguished faculty and stimulating mathematical atmosphere. Approximately 40 tenured and tenure-track faculty represent a broad spectrum of current mathematical research both theoretical and applied. The faculty interests cover the core areas of algebra, topology, geometry and analysis, as well as probability theory, mathematical statistics, dynamical systems, mathematical logic and numerical analysis.
The graduate program combines study and research opportunities for more than 70 graduate students from many different countries. The undergraduate program includes a mathematics minor and a flexible mathematics major with seven different concentrations. In addition, the department offers a wide selection of courses for all types of users of mathematics.
The department also engages in community outreach, providing a variety of programs for local high school students and teachers.
The Program in Medieval Studies combines the best aspects of an interdisciplinary program with the focused training required for academic careers in a variety of traditional disciplines. The program’s faculty members are drawn from nearly every humanities department at Cornell, offering expertise in disciplines and area studies spanning more than a millennium of languages and cultures—from Old and Middle English literature to Byzantine monuments, from Icelandic sagas to Andalusian architecture, from medieval Latin literature and philosophy to Islamic legal history.
Work in primary archival materials—including Latin and vernacular paleography, textual criticism, and codicology—is well supported by abundant library resources, as well as by faculty dedicated to these fields. Work in gender studies, medieval and modern literary theory, and the post-medieval reception and construction of the “Middle Ages” is also well supported by program faculty and by the full array of other departments and programs at Cornell. Resources for studying Latin and most medieval vernacular languages (including Germanic, Romance, Celtic, Slavonic, Semitic and East Asian languages) are a mainstay of the program. All of these offerings are encompassed within a flexible curriculum tailored to the needs of individual students.
Our diversity of faculty attracts exceptional graduate students from all areas of medieval studies and guides them to dissertations on a broad range of literatures, disciplines, contexts, and approaches. They also enjoy the benefits of carefully mentored training in pedagogical techniques and classroom skills. Students from many other doctoral programs at Cornell are closely involved in the Program in Medieval Studies, and they contribute to a lively and varied community of medievalists that spans Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences.
The Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity combines a superb liberal arts education in Cornell's College of Arts & Sciences with cutting-edge programs and courses for undergraduates at Cornell Tech, Cornell's new graduate campus in New York City on Roosevelt Island.
Its goal is to cultivate innovative and creative leaders across a broad spectrum of fields—leaders who are both tech-savvy and steeped in humanistic values. The Milstein Program builds upon the College of Arts & Sciences' long tradition of encouraging students to pursue the disciplines they love most—even if they might initially seem to be worlds apart.
The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics engages in cutting-edge research, training and teaching to solve basic questions in the life sciences and to apply biological knowledge to critical medical, agricultural and environmental problems. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists, teachers and communicators by providing research mentorship and classroom instruction in biochemistry, bioinformatics, cell biology, genetics and molecular biology and by initiating and participating in collaborative research across the Cornell campuses.
The explosion of genome-scale data over the last decade offers unprecedented opportunities to understand fundamental principles of biology and to apply biological knowledge to critical medical, agricultural and environmental problems. Every day, faculty in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) engage in cutting-edge research, training and teaching to advance scientific discovery and answer basic questions in the life sciences. MBG faculty and students continuously deliver the highest standard of research because of their demonstrated excellence in linking genomes to gene and protein function in the context of cells, tissues, organisms, and the environment.
Our goal is to inspire and train the next generation of scientists, teachers and communicators by providing research mentorship and classroom instruction in biochemistry, bioinformatics, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology and related disciplines and by initiating and participating in collaborative research across the Cornell campuses.
The Department of Music at Cornell provides opportunities for the study, creation, and performance of music under the guidance of a distinguished faculty within the broader framework of a B.A. degree in the College of Arts & Sciences, or as part of a degree in another college. In addition to the music major, a minor in music is offered. The Department of Music is renowned for research and scholarship in music, represented by three graduate programs: musicology (Ph.D.), composition (D.M.A), and critical keyboard studies (D.M.A).
Our recently redesigned music major enables undergraduate students to explore music covering diverse historical periods, styles and geographical areas. Students can study subjects ranging from 18th-century and 21st-century performance practices to Asian music, jazz, rock and composition. Hundreds of students participate in large performing ensembles such as orchestras, wind ensembles, gamelan, jazz ensembles, the Glee Club and Chorus, as well as chamber ensembles of all kinds. Our world-class facilities include the Sidney Cox Library, Bailey Performance Hall and the Electroacoustic Music Center.
The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers courses in the archaeology, history, languages and cultures of the Middle East, a region which has influenced the development of civilization and continues to play a vital role in today's world. Covering the ancient through modern periods, classes emphasize interdisciplinary analysis of the written and material records of the entire region. Some examples of Near Eastern studies include: Egyptian Civilization, Biblical Studies, Islamic Studies, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
The department excels in ancient and modern language instruction, especially Akkadian, Arabic, Biblical and modern Hebrew, Persian, Sumerian, and Turkish. Cornell’s world-class library has several collections dedicated to Near Eastern research—the Middle East and Islamic Studies Collection, the Jewish Studies Collection, among others—and students may partake of a wide range of Near Eastern lectures, colloquia, conferences, film screenings, concerts, dinners, and other events on campus.