Subject Areas | Bachelor's Program for Adults & Transfers

Public Engagement

Subject Areas

  • Undergraduates in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students can choose from an exciting mix of innovative and traditional courses, many of which cross disciplinary boundaries.

    New courses are developed every year by members of the faculty. Most subjects include one or more foundation courses. Transfer students work with a faculty advisor to decide whether their prior education enables them to bypass foundation course(s).

  • General Education

    General education (Gen Ed) courses build core competencies that students need to succeed in college and continue with lifelong learning. These courses emphasize development of study habits, core knowledge, and basic research and writing skills. They are offered in a number of subjects and are open to all students. Students who enter the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students with fewer than 24 transfer credits will be required to take certain general education courses.

    View courses

    Anthropology and Sociology

    These related disciplines aim to elucidate the human condition in all corners of the globe. Anthropologists and sociologists study the range of dynamics that shape human diversity, linking the personal to the structural. They draw on a variety of analytical research methods, such as ethnography and demography, to fit the experiences of everyday life into the context of historical, economic, and political conditions. By examining 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.

    View courses

    Arts and Social Engagement

    The arts have been a mainstay of the curriculum at the New School throughout its history. As a center of modernism in the first half of the 20th century, the New School offered courses in choreographing dance, composing music, and photographing the city. Many events and courses developed criticism and theory of new artistic genres, tied artistic innovation to contemporary political and social issues, and promoted the arts as a means by which to research and contribute to society. The school connected the arts to the wider world. This pathway of courses continues the tradition, exploring the breadth of expression and modes of engagement that make the arts social. Courses interrogate who defines the arts, to what ends, for what purposes, and for how long. If imagination fuels the arts, this pathway of courses connects imagination and creativity to societal insight and action. These courses prepare students for advanced study or careers in arts education, creative arts therapy, arts management, urban studies, conflict mediation, journalism, and community organizing. 

    View courses

    Cultural Studies

    Cultural studies is a diverse interdisciplinary field introduced by British academics in 1964. It focuses on the political dynamics of contemporary culture and its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It combines anthropological and humanistic concepts of culture to produce a better understanding of how humans construct their daily lives. It aims to challenge and transform academic disciplines as conventionally understood and practiced. Emphasis is placed on the way messages relate to ideology, social class, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. The curriculum draws on courses in anthropology and sociology, literature, media and film studies, and philosophy and interdisciplinary courses in humanities and social sciences.

    View courses

    Digital Humanities Initiative

    Digital humanities emerged from “humanities computing,” practices developed by historians, literary scholars, philosophers, and other humanists in the 20th century that allowed them to grapple with large data sets, visualize knowledge, and use technology to solve typical humanities research problems. Digital humanities took this task to the next level: asking better questions, sometimes bigger questions, and using the power afforded by technology and design to answer those questions as best we can. Courses linked to this pathway may make you more familiar with technology and/or enhance your critical thinking about digital media more generally. Questions? Contact Claire Potter at

    View courses

    Environmental Studies

    This unique undergraduate major takes students beyond the study of natural ecology and resource conservation to explore urban ecosystems, sustainable design, and public policy. The New School has always been proactive in addressing social issues in New York City, and the university is fully committed to environmental responsibility. The thematic interdivisional program in environmental studies offers students opportunities to study and work at the intersection of society and nature in courses that capitalize on the expertise of faculty in several colleges of The New School.

    View courses

    Ethics, Power, and Justice

    Ethics, power, and justice are overlapping concepts that structure how we operate in the world — and try to change it. Since its inception, The New School has maintained that education furthers the development of justice and that it is necessary to critique and use power for the greater good. It acted on those ideals in the establishment of the University in Exile in 1933, which provided refuge for intellectuals who were being persecuted by the fascist regimes of Europe. But these ideals are often at odds with the realities of modern nation-state systems, global practices of production and consumption, and international politics. Studying ethics alongside power and justice allows us to consider the conditions necessary for the freedom of all members of the community. This pathway explores whether just societies are possible and, if so, how we might work toward them. It prepares students for a diverse range of careers in political activism, law, and government as well as graduate study in philosophy, politics, human rights, international affairs, and law.

    View courses

    Film and Media Studies

    In this program, students develop conceptual and practical skills that enable them to think critically and functionally about creative and commercial media — their evolution, their distribution and reception, and their social uses and usefulness. Students work with their advisors to create their own courses of study on the basis of their specific interests. Film studies courses cover the history, art, sociocultural context, and genres of cinema. Media studies courses cover the forms, social influence, distribution, and criticism of mediated communication in general.

    View courses

    Film and Media Production

    Courses in this program provide a balance of theory and practice, guiding students toward creating their own films, videos, and multimedia projects in various genres. Film and media studies courses (see above) are integrated with studio production workshops. New School facilities offer up-to-date hardware and software. Our faculty includes award-winning producers, directors, and designers of all kinds of film and media products. Note: The New School awards a Certificate in Film Production to students who complete a structured sequence of courses. Undergraduate degree students may be able to earn the certificate as part of their degree program through careful choice of electives.

    View courses

    Food Studies

    Courses in the Food Studies program draw on a range of disciplines to explore the connections between the production, distribution, and consumption of food and politics, history, culture, and the natural environment. Our faculty of historians, policy activists, entrepreneurs, and scientists provide the theoretical and practical tools students need to engage in what has become a global conversation about food and to promote quality and safety in local food chains. The New School's location in New York City, an urban center where public interest in food and support for local products, green markets, and sustainability is widespread, offers an environment well suited to this area of study. Note: This program now includes a culinary arts component, offered in collaboration with the International Culinary Institute in New York City.

    View courses

    Foreign Languages

    Acquaintance with a language other than one's own has been and remains a hallmark of a liberal education. The New School has been successfully teaching foreign languages for decades to people who travel abroad, who conduct business in other countries, who engage with New York City's many immigrant communities, who wish to appreciate literature and film in the original languages, or whose scholarly pursuits mandate facility with other languages. The New School offers courses in many languages. Undergraduate degree students have their own foreign languages curriculum and can also take courses offered in the Schools of Public Engagement's continuing education program. Most modern language instructors are native speakers, and all courses are designed to introduce students to a language in its cultural context. Active communication is emphasized in the classroom.

    View courses

    Gender and Sexuality Studies

    Gender and sexuality are critical lenses for the study of the way characteristics of the human body and its desires are reflected in every aspect of life, from private feelings about the self to the most public activities. How do bodies come to take a position along the spectrum of male to female, sometimes demanding new terminology altogether? How do feminist, queer, and other forms of critical theory help us understand the material, cultural, and legal consequences of naming bodies, political entities, and even plants, through gendered terminology? Our courses in gender and sexuality studies are designed to support students in gaining an understanding of the larger histories of feminism, gay and queer political movements, postcolonial studies, and trans theory that have produced the field. Students who pursue this area of study will learn to demonstrate basic knowledge of debates in the field. They will develop the ability to think critically about the intersections of gender with race, class, and sexuality, as well as how these categories construct one another. They will develop an awareness and knowledge of social justice movements historically associated with critical gender and sexuality studies and the ability to write and think critically about what they have learned.

    View courses

    Global Studies

    As globalization transforms the world, it restructures the relationships between states, societies, communities, and individuals, creating new challenges that cannot be met by nations or markets alone — including climate change, nuclear proliferation, human trafficking, international trade regulations, poverty and hunger, the effects of new communication technology, and mass migrations. Global Studies is a thematic interdivisional program that emphasizes possibilities for social transformation and innovative responses to contemporary global problems — economic, political, and social. Students learn to think across disciplines and move between the local and the global, not losing sight of the realities of the human lives at the center of our investigations.

    View courses


    "The past, simply as past, does not exist," wrote the historian R.G. Collingwood. History is a quest. It requires piecing together knowledge of the past from bits of evidence and interpretations left behind. Courses on this subject are about identifying problems, looking for and evaluating bodies of evidence, and telling a synthetic story in a direct manner. Neither social theorists nor lyric poets, historians borrow from both to create a compelling vision of a vanished reality. History is a base for our knowledge of the world and a guide to participation in it. The New School offers interesting and unusual courses that range across geography and era and explore both broad and narrow topics.

    View courses

    Jewish Culture

    What does it mean to be a Jew? The New School's innovative curriculum in Jewish Culture explores the histories and forms of Jewish cultural life through a structured experience in the liberal arts that considers Jews and Judaism as rich case studies for questioning the meaning of concepts like nation, state, religion, ethnicity, exile, and diaspora; for grasping how modernity was born of antiquity; and for understanding how texts can transform the world. For more information about the Jewish Culture curriculum, contact the director, Val Vinokur, at

    View courses


    Students develop the skills of reporting, editing, and story pitching that will help them flourish in the profession. Writing workshops cover a wide range of forms within the genre, including not only basic reportage but profiles, photo stories, first-person essays, reviews, and opinion pieces. The rapidly developing world of online journalism and social media is not neglected. In all courses, there is an attempt to balance the artistic with the pragmatic. Our faculty includes accomplished critics, columnists, documentary filmmakers, essayists, and photojournalists.

    View courses

    Literature, Culture, and Democracy

    Democracy is the aspiration to know one another and act together. But how do we come to know one another — or indeed know ourselves? Through words. Through their discovery and loss and rediscovery, their articulation and confusion, echo and revision, through the repetition and the shock of words. Before and after texting, there is text. Before and after the demand for novelty, there are novels. The word "poetry" comes from the Greek "poiesis" — a "making" that reconciles ideas and people with the world and thereby preserves and transforms it. Literature is "the public thing privately imagined" (Cynthia Ozick), which means reading and writing are ways for us to be our most authentic selves among others. 

    View courses

    Management, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship

    This program offers instruction in management practices for small business and nonprofit organizations. Whether your interest is in acquiring or polishing skills for your current job, positioning yourself for a new career, opening your own business, or supporting a nonprofit or arts institution, New School Management and Entrepreneurship courses can give you a step up.

    View courses

    Philosophy and Religion

    These courses challenge students to think critically about ideas that are central to our understanding of the world and our place in it. Courses cover a variety of traditions and schools of thought. Some are historical, some focus on individual thinkers and practices, and others are organized thematically around particular philosophical and religious issues. Connections with other disciplines, such as history, politics, social theory, psychology, cultural studies, and literature, are explored.

    View courses

    Politics and Economics

    Ideas about power, legitimacy, and justice are central to both of these disciplines. Our courses examine issues of democracy, citizenship, and civic engagement; human rights; collective violence; wealth and poverty, nationally and globally; and the conjoining of politics and economics historically and today. Courses in this curriculum help students understand the nature of power in the world and how it can be used more effectively and responsively and with greater accountability.

    View courses


    Psychology is the science of the mind, behavior, and human experience. The study of psychology explores subjects including human development, personality and psychopathology, social and organizational behavior, language and cognition, and neuroscience. The New School curriculum is designed to prepare students for graduate study in academic and applied psychology and in human service fields such as social work, counseling, and forensic psychology.

    View courses

    Race and Ethnicity Studies

    Racial and ethnic identities are primary categories for understanding ourselves and the world we live in. In 1948, The New School was proud to host one of the first courses on race and African-American culture offered by a university, taught by sociologist and activist W.E.B. DuBois. The courses in our curriculum today build on that legacy and our commitment as a faculty to understanding critical race and ethnic studies as foundational to a contemporary liberal arts education. In our interdisciplinary curriculum, students grapple with contemporary debates within critical race and ethnic studies, including the role of science, social science, the law, and the humanities in defining human difference over time. They develop the ability to think critically about race and ethnicity as categories that intersect with other forms of identity, such as gender, sexuality, class, and nationality. They develop the capacity to express critical thinking about race and gender through one or more of the following categories: research and creative writing, visual art, media, and performance. Students who pursue this area of study not only examine the representations and histories of human difference but also think through the ways in which identity establishes itself as a logical framework for understanding the self and others.

    View courses

    Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy

    The Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy is an innovative undergraduate creative writing program inspired by the special connection between writing and democracy posited by George Orwell. Close attention to language — vigilance and sophistication in the use and appreciation of words — is both vital preparation for a career as a writer, whether poet, novelist, or nonfiction writer, and a prerequisite for active, informed citizenship. Acceptance to the program is selective. A partial tuition waiver is offered.

    View courses


    This curriculum includes a number of topical courses for students of film and media studies and film production, but the core is a structured sequence of workshops leading to a Certificate in Screenwriting. The core curriculum guides students step-by-step through the entire process of writing a script for a full-length narrative film, including story, characters, themes, action, visuals, and dialogue. Undergraduate degree students can take individual topical courses and may be able to complete the certificate program as part of their degree requirements.

    View courses

    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

    This is a structured program of study leading to a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. It has been designed in response to the growing demand in the United States and abroad for native speakers of English trained to teach the language. The program is designed for college graduates, but undergraduate degree students may be able to earn the certificate as part of their degree program by choosing electives carefully.

    View courses

    Urban Studies

    The city is at once a material reality, a social world, and an artistic muse. Drawing on a number of disciplinary perspectives and tools, the Urban Studies curriculum leads students to examine the institutional and material structures of cities and their imaginary, visual, and cultural dimensions. We use New York City as a laboratory of study. The city offers an immense array of resources, such as museums, neighborhood organizations, archives, and events; opportunities for community activism; and an experiential guide to theoretical concepts. Courses are drawn from the various disciplines.

    View courses


    Since 1931, The New School has supported, engendered, and shaped American literature. Today, the Writing Program at The New School offers writing courses for undergraduate students at all levels — in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, dramatic writing, and writing for children as well as special topics such as writing for New York City magazines and the graphic novel.

    The Writing faculty is composed of renowned writers who are no less accomplished as teachers. Rather than lecturing at length, our practitioner-teachers provide guidance by focusing on students' manuscripts in a rigorous but supportive environment. Liberal arts majors in the School of Undergraduate Studies can design an individual program of study with a creative writing emphasis. Graduates often go on to graduate programs (some stay and study right here in The New School's own prestigious MFA in Creative Writing). Others go on to successful careers in writing, journalism, teaching, publishing (print and online), entertainment media, international affairs, cultural studies, and media.

    To apply, request information, or create a custom brochure, visit Admission. Experienced writers with a portfolio can apply to the Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy.

    View courses

  • The New School has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1960. For more information, visit Accreditation and State Regulatory Authorizations. Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West, Philadelphia, PA 19104. 216.284.5000