ESL and Design Certificate Curriculum | The New School


  • Placement Testing

    All students entering the ESL + Design program take a test to determine their English course placement. Those who are waiting for admission to Parsons School of Design may have to take ESL classes for one, two, or three semesters, depending on their level of English proficiency, to qualify for admission to Parsons. BFA programs require completion of ESL Level Six for admission. Associate's degree (AAS) programs require completion of Level Five for admission.

    ESL Courses

    ESL courses are offered in fall, spring, and summer terms. The full-time curriculum involves 18 hours in class per week for 12 weeks in the fall and spring and 10 weeks in the summer.

    • Students at ESL Levels Three and Four take four ESL skills courses per semester until they reach level 5 or 6.
    • When students test at the highest levels (Five and Six), they can take Design and Language Studio, described below, instead of an ESL Listening and Speaking course.

    Parsons Studio Course

    In the Design and Language Studio course, students work on their English language skills in the context of art and design practice. They work collaboratively on urban-themed design exercises and conduct field research in New York City. They explore art and design disciplines through independent and group projects. They gain experience speaking English by participating in class discussions and by collaborations. They develop their English writing skills by writing about their projects and by building art and design vocabulary vital for creative practice.

    Credit Option for the Studio Course

    Design and Language Studio can be taken either as a noncredit course, like the ESL courses, or for 3 undergraduate credits. If taken for credit and if a passing grade is assigned, the course can be used to fulfill the Laboratory I requirement of the Parsons Foundation curriculum after admission to a Parsons BFA program.