Theories of Urban Practice
Theories of Urban Practice (MA) Application Instructions
The MA Theories of Urban Practice program seeks students who are critical, creative, and curious. Critical students are willing to challenge the status quo, including fundamental assumptions about how cities are designed and built. Creative students have the capacity to explore a wide range of ideas and experiment with unconventional strategies and practices. Curious students have a genuine desire to open their minds and learn about different ways of thinking and different types of urban practice all over the world.
Applicants who wish to be considered for a Dean's Scholarship should submit a complete application packet by January 1. After January 1, applications will be considered on a rolling basis, as will merit scholarship awards.
Spring term admission is not offered for this program.
You can download these instructions (PDF).
SlideRoom Submission Instructions
- In addition to submitting the online application, Parsons requires that you submit a portfolio through SlideRoom.
- Finalize your portfolio at the same time you submit your application. This will help prevent any delays with reviewing your application, as we must receive all required materials before we can place your application under review.
- Once you have submitted all required portfolio materials in SlideRoom, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save it for your records and enter it on the online application when requested.
Parsons graduate programs use a self-managed application process: You apply online and then mail any supplemental application materials, preferably in a single packet, to the Office of Admission. Include a Materials Cover Sheet, which can be downloaded from the Supplemental Forms section of the online application or found at www.newschool.edu/admission/coversheet/parsons-grad.
Applicants must submit the following items to the Office of Admission:
- Application: Complete the online application.
- Application Fee: Payment of a $50 nonrefundable application fee is required. A credit card is required to submit the online application. A $10 SlideRoom fee is also required.
Unofficial Transcripts: Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application.
The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School. Transcripts uploaded with the online application are considered unofficial.
- All transcript uploads must be accompanied by a key, legend, or the back copy of the transcript.
- Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must have grades or marks and contain a copy of diploma if the degree has been conferred.
- Make sure your name appears on the transcript/record. Scans must be clear and legible.
- Do not mail materials that have been uploaded with the online application or any other materials unless requested by the admission office.
- If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Upload Transcript Issue” and give a detailed description of the issue and attach the document in question.
Official Transcripts: Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts/mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the U.S.) to The New School. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career.
Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. New students will not be permitted to register for their second semester of study until all official transcripts (including degree awarding transcripts) have been received by the Office of Graduate Admission. Transcripts uploaded with the online application do not satisfy this requirement.
By Mail: Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal, and must be in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university’s registrar or records office. Applicants can either send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to The New School. See “Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials” for our mailing address.
Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors. The New School’s approved vendors in order of preference are
We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. Note: All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.
- Parchment Exchange
- Naviance by Hobsons
- SCRIP-SAFE International
- National Student Clearinghouse
International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who would like to transfer academic credits earned at non-U.S. institutions are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES), our preferred provider, or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript.
If using WES, visit www.wes.org for instructions and to begin the application process. The “Required Documents” section will explain what to send. If you request your report online, search for “New School Parsons” when selecting our institution. WES will send your completed evaluation directly to The New School.
If using another NACES provider, follow instructions for that provider. Mailed evaluations and translations should be sent to the mailing address provided for supporting materials. Applicants forwarding these sealed documents should include an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
- Résumé: Submit a brief résumé or curriculum vitae summarizing your academic qualifications, work experience, volunteer and community work, travel, exhibitions, public speaking, and any other experience relevant to your field of study, including dates and positions held. Please also note any special language or computer skills that you have.
- Statement of Interest and Intentions: Please submit a two-part essay, as part of a single Word document. Your submission should not exceed five pages total.
Part One: Autobiographical Statement (250-500 word limit).
In a short autobiographical statement, tell us about yourself. You can write about your education, your family, your talents and passions, particular intellectual influences, people you have met, work you’ve done that has shaped the person you have become, or about significant places or events in your life, especially as it relates to your field of study. In addition, use this portion of the essay to explain any strengths or weaknesses you may have (examples: low GPA, lack of experience, significant interruption in work or studies, unique skills and achievements as they relate to the program, or any other information you want to share). Your writing should be informative and reflect your own voice.
Part Two: Academic Statement of Interests (500-750 word limit).
Please describe the academic and intellectual interests, progress, and achievements that have contributed to your decision to apply for graduate study in this field. You should include a thoughtful description of your tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, the kind of research questions you intend to pursue, your professional goals, and how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. In addition, include a self-assessment of your work as a scholar, pointing strengths and weaknesses. If you have not enrolled as a student in the past five years, please address anticipated opportunities and challenges in pursuing the degree, and future career expectations upon completion of the program.
- Recommendations: You are required to submit two letters of recommendation from faculty or people with whom you have worked professionally. Recommenders may submit recommendations online, and instructions are included with the online application. If preferred, the recommendation form may instead be sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete personal information, save the form, and forward to recommender for completion and submission. Applicants may also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
- TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE: If English is not your native language, submit results of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or PTE (Pearson Test of English). The minimum scores required for acceptance to this program are TOEFL 92 (internet-based exam), IELTS 7.0, PTE 63.
The TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement may be waived for applicants who have earned a 4-year degree from a U.S. College or University, or for citizens of the following countries whose native language is also English: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, or Common Wealth Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago).
Students required to take these tests can obtain further information from the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE websites.
Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School's English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 to waive the TOEFL requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
- Portfolio or Writing Sample: The Theories of Urban Practice program welcomes activists, designers, researchers, professionals, and academics to apply. Applicants are given an option between submitting a visual portfolio or a writing sample to convey their talents and interests, especially in terms of creativity and/or critical thinking. Applicants may also submit both a portfolio and a writing sample.
Option A: Portfolio
The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Submit no more than 20 items that reflect your creativity and strengths. Examples may include pages from sketchbooks, design projects (e.g., architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, city planning, graphic design, or product design), or visual images that reflect hobbies or professional training (e.g., photographs, paintings, sculpture, posters, digital art, film, or models). Be prepared to provide descriptions for each item.
Option B: Writing Sample
The writing sample can be an academic paper, professional report, blog entry, nonfiction essay, piece of fiction, or combination of writing samples that you feel reflect your strengths as a critical thinker and writer for this program. Please submit as a single document no longer than 30 pages in length. Please note that the sample must be included with your online application.
- Interview: Students may be invited for an interview in person or by phone.