Undergraduate - collage

Grounding in Liberal Arts

All undergraduate programs include a strong liberal arts component, including courses in art and design history, theory, and criticism. These courses provide a context for studio practice. And because Parsons is part of a larger university with a tradition of cross-disciplinary inquiry, students can choose from a wide range of lecture courses and electives in humanities, social sciences, media studies, and business.

Parsons also offers a dual BA/BFA degree program in which students combine a BFA from Parsons with a BA from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.

First-Year Options

Parsons offers you flexibility in choosing a study path. As an entering student, you can choose to explore new areas of study, focus on a combination of disciplines, or start preparing for a specific career trajectory. The first-year curriculum provides an introduction to the tools, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills fundamental to all areas of art and design. It also offers an array of course options, so that you can determine the breadth and depth of your studies and follow your interests through course selection.

Beginning in fall 2013, all freshman students at Parsons will share a common first-year study experience, and all BFA candidates will have the same set of required coursework. So whether you focus on a single field or explore many areas as a freshman, it won’t affect your ability to choose your major. (Students pursuing BBA, BS, and dual degrees have a similar curriculum but also have requirements specific to their programs.)

Required Technology

As artists and designers, you will be working in an increasingly digital landscape. Our curriculum addresses this by making digital literacy a foundational component of first-year coursework, and we have introduced a laptop requirement to ensure that all students share a consistent learning experience as they develop this skill set. Incoming students will need a laptop that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • 2.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • 64-bit operating system: Mac OS X 10.7 or Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
  • 12- to 15-inch screen
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 750 GB hard drive at 7200 rpm
  • Graphics: GPU card with 1 GB of VRAM
  • Ethernet, wireless, and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Integrated HD webcam
  • Media card reader
  • Students will also be expected to install Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite software on their laptops. While we are in the process of finalizing the exact specifications acceptable for classroom use, we are committed to making all required software available to Parsons students at significant discounts.

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