Subject Areas | Bachelor's Program for Adults & Transfers
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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.

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    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.

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    The Arts: History, Theory, and Criticism

    This interdisciplinary subject encompasses courses in art and architecture, visual studies, and music. It offers broad historical, critical, and theoretical perspectives in these areas of study. The curriculum emphasizes the development of a strong visual and/or musical vocabulary, familiarity with genres and methods of analysis, and an understanding of the complex social and political contexts within which art is created.

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    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 how to choreograph dance, compose music, and photograph 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 this 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, 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. For further information, please contact Julia Foulkes, Chair, at ASE@newschool.edu.

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    Creative Arts and Health

    This is a structured curriculum leading to a Certificate in Creative Arts and Health. Undergraduate students may be able to complete the certificate program as part of their degree requirements or take individual courses without enrolling for the certificate. Creative arts and health courses are both didactic and experiential and reflect the latest developments in psychology and mind-body healing. The program prepares students to work in human services by integrating the modalities of music, drama, dance/movement, and visual arts into therapeutic and social work practices. It culminates in intensive fieldwork, available in diverse settings.

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    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.

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    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 divisions of The New School.

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    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 is necessary to critique and utilize power for a greater good. It enacted those ideals in the establishment of the University in Exile in 1933, which provided harbor for intellectuals that were being persecuted in 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 mutual 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.For further information, please contact Terri Gordon, Chair, at EPJ@newschool.edu

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    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 based on 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 New School for 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.

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    Gender and Sexuality Studies

    This area of study presents a wide-ranging array of debates and research methodologies for understanding how bodies come to be defined as male or female. Scientific language often works to naturalize connections between genetic make up and appropriate roles within the social world. The study of gender and sexuality in our program—with its attentiveness to the larger history of feminism, gay and queer political movements, postcolonial studies, and trans theory—challenges commonly held beliefs about the essential nature of men and women and moves beyond a binary, male/female approach to understanding the social world. Students who pursue this area of study will explore the social construction of cultural norms and identities through the lens of gender and sexuality. The courses in this area promote an increased literacy in the politics of social representation. As such, students who pursue this interdisciplinary concentration will be well prepared for advanced graduate study and various careers in both commercial and non-profit media.For more information, please contact Ricardo Montez, Chair, at GSX@newschool.edu

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    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.

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    History

    "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, era, and a range of broad and narrow topics.

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    Jewish Cultural Studies

    What does it mean to be a Jew? Is there a difference between Jewish culture and the religion of Judaism? How have Jewish cultural traditions influenced the city of New York, the country, and the world at large? The New School's innovative Jewish Cultural Studies curriculum explores the histories and forms of Jewish cultural life, with a focus on the rise of secularism in Jewish communities and the contributions of Jewish thinkers to secular intellectual traditions in the broader culture.

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    Journalism

    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.

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    Literary and Cultural Studies

    The New School has attracted some of the most important literary and cultural figures of the 20th and 21st century. The pathway of courses in this area provides students with critical research and writing tools to understand – and to engage – the role played by the verbal arts in shaping and interrogating culture and society. Our view of "literature" includes all uses of language, speech, poetry, storytelling, scripted performance, narrative, and writing. Courses provide a grounding in both English language works and literature in translation, alongside theoretical approaches to culture and society drawn from humanistic inquiry (history and philosophy) and the modern social sciences (psychology, anthropology, and sociology). Topics include oral tradition and performance, genres in context, the politics of stories, and aesthetic theory. Students are encouraged to supplement these courses with electives in writing, languages, and media studies. Our students pursue careers in education, publishing, and writing and research in cultural institutions, government, and non-profits as well as creative industries, or continue their studies in graduate and professional schools. For more information, please contact Carolyn Berman, Chair, at LCS@newschool.edu.

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    Management 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.

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    Media and Film Business

    The communication and entertainment industries have been profoundly affected in recent decades by new technologies and new production and distribution models. This specialized curriculum is designed to enable aspiring professionals to navigate these turbulent waters.

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    Performing Arts and Movement

    The Performing Arts and Movement curriculum offers courses ranging from Introduction to Acting to The Neutral Mask: From Movement to Acting and The Alexander Technique (a movement practice considered essential for actors). Courses are designed for beginning and intermediate-level students of theater arts and allow students to learn in a supportive, noncompetitive atmosphere. The faculty consists of a talented group of professional actors, directors, teachers, and lecturers, all of whom bring experience and a range of aesthetic perspectives to their courses.

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    Philosophy and Religion

    These courses challenge students to think critically about ideas that are central to our understanding of the world and our place within it. Courses cover a variety of traditions and schools of thought. Some are historical, some focus on individual thinkers and 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.

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    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.

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    Psychology

    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.

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    Race and Ethnicity

    Since its inception, the New School has been at the forefront of intellectual debates concerning the study and representations of social groups. W.E.B. DuBois famously taught one of the first courses on race and African-American culture offered by a university. The courses in this curriculum represent the New School's legacy of progressive approaches to the study of diversity. Biology, social sciences, psychology, art history, and literature have worked together historically to manufacture knowledge of human bodies. From census polls to marketing campaigns, racial and ethnic identities act as primary categories for organizing our world. Students who pursue this area of study will examine not only the representations and histories of human difference, they will also think through the ways in which something like identity establishes itself as a logical framework for understanding the self and others. Students who pursue this area of study will develop a broad set of critical skills, including methods for analyzing how print and visual media work to promote shared beliefs about human difference. Whether pursuing careers in the private or public sector, students who focus on race and ethnicity studies can mobilize their education toward a wide-variety of professional opportunities. These might include jobs in social media, public advocacy, advertising, and public relations. For more information, please contact Ricardo Montez, Chair, at RES@newschool.edu.

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    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.

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    Screenwriting

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Visual Arts

    The New School's founders sought to establish a "dynamic center of modern culture in which adults could learn to appreciate new art forms, or even become artists themselves." Evidence of the university's dedication to fine art can be found in the collection on permanent exhibit in the halls of New School buildings. A variety of studio courses are available as electives for undergraduate students.

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    Writing

    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 comprised of esteemed 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 right here at 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 admissions. Experienced writers with a portfolio can apply for the Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy.

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  • The New School has been regionally 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

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