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PARSONS > Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE)

Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE)

Information and materials related to the development and deployment of the 2013 undergraduate curriculum.


A pivotal event in Parsons’ evolution will take place in Fall 2013, when the first year of a new, four-year undergraduate curriculum launches. The result of a thorough and carefully considered faculty-led review, the 2013 undergraduate curriculum brings into focus the defining characteristics of Parsons: its storied history as a pioneer in design education; its rigorous interrogation of the current state of art and design; its status as a large, comprehensive art and design school housed within a vibrant, research-driven university; and finally its place within the broader context of New York City, an immersive art and design laboratory and world of creative practice.

The faculty-led undergraduate review spanned six years, from 2004 to 2010. In a 2010 report marking its culmination, the following recommendations were made:

  • That the curricula of the many degree programs across Parsons be coordinated and delivered in 120 credits. The rebalancing of credits (from 134 to 120) will moderate student workload while maintaining Parsons’ high standards. Undergraduates will have more flexibility to explore co-curricular opportunities and take advantage of New York’s creative urban environment.
  • That a first-year experience be established that spans all degree programs. In the first-year curriculum, certain courses will be inflected toward majors, giving first-year students the option to explore multiple disciplines before declaring a major.
  • That the first-year experience’s curricular framework allow students to matriculate into any degree program without penalty, regardless of how broadly or narrowly they have explored their options in the first year.
  • That the degree programs continue to balance breadth with depth beyond the first-year experience. A student who wishes to pursue a discipline-intensive version of her or his degree can do so; similarly, students will be assured the option of cross-disciplinary approaches to their chosen majors.
  • That students be provided the option to pursue a minor.
  • That a learning portfolio be implemented to assess students’ capacity and knowledge throughout their four years.
  • That studio courses be more meaningfully integrated with the history, theory, and liberal arts courses offered through Parsons as well as through the other university divisions.

In the months leading up to the launch of the first year in 2013, and in the following years that will focus on developing the years 2–4 of the curriculum, we will provide increasing opportunities for engagement and input from the faculty, students, and staff at Parsons. We welcome your questions, participation, and feedback as we move forward in this endeavor.


The Parsons Committee for Undergraduate Education (CUE) was appointed in January 2011 to implement the recommendations made by the undergraduate review process. Consisting of the director of the first-year curriculum and a representative from each of Parsons’ schools, the committee functions as a collaborative team of faculty members:

Together they lead the development, management, and facilitation of the 120-credit curricular framework, in coordination with the Parsons and school curriculum committees, coordinators, academic leadership, and the faculty body at large.