Students in the undergraduate programs of The New School for Public Engagement 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 (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 an undergraduate program of NSPE with fewer than 24 transfer credits will be required to take certain general education courses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This curriculum raises questions about how gender identity and the gender
divide are formed and maintained and how they are resisted and
undermined. To study gender involves assessing the significance of sexuality in the context of a particular time and place; representations of the body; the categories of public and private; the distribution of wealth and patterns of labor and health; the representations of male and female in literature, art, and popular culture; the creation of norms for public life and the state; and the production and circulation of knowledge. Courses are drawn from a wide range of disciplines, including the social sciences, psychology, the arts, literature, philosophy, and media 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.
"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.
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.
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.
According to Salman Rushdie, literature is a place to discover "the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit." The literature curriculum of The New School reflects this understanding. It is diverse and cross-cultural, covering historical periods and genres of world literature. The goal in every course is for students to read and write critically.
This program offers instruction in business and 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 business courses can give you a step up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The New School has been a vital forum for writing since 1931, when Gorham Munson, a member of the Stieglitz circle, on impulse initiated a workshop in creative writing. Our creative writing instructors are all published writers and experienced teachers, and many of our undergraduate students go on to publish or enter graduate writing programs. The extensive curriculum of the program uses the workshop method to teach fundamentals of composition and poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and special topics like writing for children. Instead of lecturing at length, our writer-teachers provide guidance by focusing on student manuscripts in a rigorous but supportive environment.
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
Liberal Arts (BA/BS)
Environmental Studies (BA/BS)
Global Studies (BA)
Musical Theater (BFA)
Urban Studies (BA)
Food Studies Program
Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy
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