History, Economics, Politics, Sociology—these fields formed the foundation of The New School’s first curriculum. Attempting to understand the difficult social problems surrounding them, New School faculty aimed to solve them by inspiring everyday citizens to attend a lecture, take a class, and get involved in changing the world.
Those goals remain at the heart of the curriculum still, although courses in the Social Sciences have expanded to include Psychology, Anthropology, and emerging disciplines such as Urban Studies. Our faculty members—many of whom are practitioners in addition to accomplished scholars—prepare students to take their place as learned citizens of the world by rigorous examination of contemporary issues, systems and theories of analysis, and the history and practices of engagement.
The commitment of faculty members at The New School is matched by the curiosity of their students. From the beginning, the school drew people to it for “no other purpose than to learn.” That common passion brings together non-credit, credit, and degree students with a range of ages, educational backgrounds, and expertise—all in pursuit of understanding and changing our world. Join us in making a difference.
–Gustav Peebles, Chair
Learn about the Social Sciences areas of study:
Visit the registration site for a list of current course offerings in the Social Sciences.
“The past, simply as past, does not exist,” the historian R.G. Collingwood claimed. History is an investigative quest that requires piecing together our knowledge of past events from traces of evidence and interpretations left behind. It entails identifying problems, searching for and interpreting difficult bodies of evidence, and conveying a synthetic story in a direct manner.
Politics, Economics, and the Law
Power, authority, sovereignty, legitimacy, justice: these concepts are the basis of politics and our courses explore how they have been thought about in theory and played out in practice. The study of politics considers our relation to one another through various norms, institutions, and practices of rule.
Psychology is the science of the mind, behavior, and human experience. The study of psychology provides students with broad knowledge in areas including human development, personality, psychopathology, social and organizational behavior, language and cognition, and neuroscience. Course offerings at The New School prepare students for graduate study in academic or applied psychology, or in psychology-related human service fields such as social work and counseling. If you are considering a career in Psychology, look for Directions: Futures in Psychology, a workshop designed to counsel and guide people considering new careers, offered every spring semester.
Anthropology and Sociology
Anthropologists and sociologists study the range of dynamics that shape humanity‘s diversity, linking personal intimacies to structural realities. This analytical perspective draws on a variety of research methods, from ethnographic to demographic, and sheds light on the experience of everyday life in the context of specific historical, economic, and political conditions. With an eye toward the relationship between dominant norms and ideologies and individual beliefs and behaviors, anthropologists and sociologists strive to understand what brings us together and what tears us apart.
The city is at once a material reality, a social world, and an artistic muse. Drawing on multiple disciplinary perspectives and tools, Urban Studies asks students to examine the institutional and material structures of cities as well as their imaginary, visual, and cultural dimensions. We use New York City as a laboratory of study; a site of immense resources such as museums, neighborhood organizations, archives, and events; an opportunity for community activism; and an experiential guide to theoretical concerns.