The New School was founded in New York City nearly a century ago by a small group of prominent American intellectuals and educators, among them Charles Beard, John Dewey, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen. Frustrated by the intellectual timidity of traditional colleges, they envisioned a new kind of academic institution where faculty and students would be free to address honestly and directly the problems facing societies in the 20th century. In 1919, they created a school of advanced adult education to bring creative scholars together with citizens interested in improving their understanding of the key issues of the day through active questioning, debate, and discussion. The founders named their new school The New School for Social Research.
Over the years, The New School for Social Research, now formally named The New School, grew into an urban university with seven colleges. The university is enriched by the diversity of its students, who represent a wide range of ages, social backgrounds, aspirations, perspectives, interests, and talents.
The courses offered by The New School at first reflected the founders' interest in the emerging social sciences, international affairs, history, and philosophy. Faculty members and visiting scholars included Harold Lasky, Franz Boas, and John Maynard Keynes. Soon, the school added courses in drama and literature, followed by classes in writing, performing arts, fine arts, foreign languages, media studies, and information processing.
Some of the finest minds of the 20th century developed pioneering courses at The New School. In 1948, W.E.B. DuBois taught the first course in African-American history and culture ever taught at a university. Around the same time, Margaret Mead taught courses in anthropology and Karen Horney and Erich Fromm introduced their new approaches to psychoanalysis. The New School's groundbreaking courses attracted students from around the world, including the young Shimon Peres. In 1962, Gerda Lerner offered the first university-level course in women's history.
The New School also became known internationally for courses in the creative arts taught by some of the 20th century's most innovative artists. Among them were Martha Graham, Frank Lloyd Wright, Aaron Copland, and W.H. Auden. The New School was the first American university to teach the history of film and one of the first to offer college-level courses in photography and jazz.
As the timeline above reveals, The New School has evolved continuously through the years in response to changes in the marketplace of ideas, career opportunities, and human curiosity. Formed in 1919 to challenge the intellectual and artistic status quo, this institution continues to redefine higher education almost a century later.
Each of The New School's colleges occupies a special place in the history of higher education.
Parsons is one of the preeminent colleges of art and design in the world. Founded as the Chase School of Art in 1896 by artist William Merritt Chase and his circle, Parsons was renamed in 1941 for its longtime president, Frank Alvah Parsons, who dedicated
his career to integrating visual art and industrial design. Parsons became part of The New School in 1970. The first institution in the United States to award university degrees in fashion design, interior design, and lighting design, Parsons has earned an international reputation as
a school at the vanguard of design education. Students in its undergraduate and graduate degree programs hold themselves to exceptional standards of creativity and scholarship, developing their skills and building knowledge in laboratories, workshops, and seminars.
Nonmatriculated students of all ages can participate in certificate and general art and design education programs for design professionals and anyone with an interest in art and design.
Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts is The New School's four-year liberal arts college for traditional-age undergraduates. What began as the experimental Freshman Year Program in 1972 transitioned into the Seminar College in 1975 and became a college of the university in 1985. This bold experiment in undergraduate education is named in honor of educational philanthropist and New School trustee Eugene M. Lang. Students at Lang enjoy small seminar-style classes taught by a faculty of prominent scholars, many of them also affiliated with The New School for Social Research. Lang offers the kind of intimate education characteristic of a small college in the country, but as part of a progressive urban university in the center of a major metropolitan area, it offers students unsurpassed opportunities for civic engagement, internships, cultural enrichment, and exposure to new ideas.
The College of Performing Arts was formed in 2015 to bring our renowned schools of drama, jazz, and classical music together. The college provides opportunities for performing arts undergraduate and graduate students to work across disciplines, test the outermost limits of their artistry, and collaborate with students throughout the university. Our brand-new world-class Performing Arts building offers state-of-the-art practice rooms, sound booths, ensemble classrooms, adjustable performance spaces, and percussion classrooms.
Founded in 1916 by David Mannes and Clara Damrosch, Mannes became part of The New School in 1989. The college provides professional training for some of the most talented student musicians in the world. It is among the most prestigious schools of classical music in the United States. A comprehensive curriculum, a faculty of world-class artists, and
the resources of a progressive university support students in the quest for virtuosity in vocal and instrumental music, conducting, composition, and theory. Like the students they teach, Mannes faculty members come from every corner of the world. They include performers and
conductors from prominent orchestras, ensembles, and opera companies and renowned solo performers, composers, and scholars from every field of classical music. Mannes offers undergraduate and graduate music degrees, professional diplomas, and community continuing and pre-college education.
The New School has been a center of innovation in theater since Erwin Piscator founded the Dramatic Workshop here in the 1940s. His students included Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau, Harry Belafonte, Elaine Stritch, and Tennessee Williams, to name a few. That tradition of excellence in theater education continues at The New School today. The graduate program in dramatic arts
was introduced in 1994 to prepare talented individuals for careers as actors, playwrights, or directors. A new undergraduate program in dramatic arts is welcoming its first class in fall 2013. The New York City setting offers abundant opportunities for students to learn through observation and make professional connections through a career network broader than that of any other drama school in
Established in 1986, the School of Jazz at The New School offers talented undergraduates an opportunity to train with professional artists from New York's peerless jazz community. The New School employs a teaching model based on the tradition of the artist as mentor. Students study and perform with some of the world's most accomplished musicians and are immersed in the history, milieu, and latest developments of jazz, blues, pop, and all the evolving genres of contemporary music. Learning takes place in the classroom and studio and also in ensemble playing, tutorials, public performances, and master classes with legendary performers. Students develop their musical talents to meet the high standards of professionalism exemplified by the faculty.
In 1933, The New School gave a home to the University in Exile, a refuge for German scholars fleeing persecution by the Nazis. In 1934, The New School incorporated this community as a graduate school of political and social science. In recognition of this graduate faculty's unparalleled contribution to
social scientific discourse, the college retains the name of The New School for Social Research. Its faculty and students address many of the most important political, cultural, and economic concerns of the day, upholding the highest standards of scholarly inquiry and the college's international reputation. Its students find many opportunities to cross disciplinary boundaries and collaborate with other social scientists,
humanists, designers, and policy analysts among their peers and in other colleges of the university.
The Schools of Public Engagement embody the values that motivated the university's founders in 1919. The college was formed in 2011 through the integration of The New School for General Studies, home of the founders' adult and continuing education programs, and Milano The New School for Management and Urban
Policy (now the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy), which was established in 1975 as a graduate school of public administration and nonprofit management. The Schools of Public Engagement are a unique academic enterprise. Their degree and certificate programs and continuing
education courses connect theory to practice, support innovation in culture and communication, and encourage democratic citizenship through lifelong education. The Schools of Public Engagement offer undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certificates as well
as hundreds of open-enrollment continuing education courses for adults in Greenwich Village and online.
Visit the home page of each college for information about degrees offered and areas of study.
Parsons School of Design
The New School for Social Research
Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts
Schools of Public Engagement
Mannes School of Music
School of Drama
School of Jazz