• Student Life

    Historical Studies

  • Historical studies lays the foundation for all social inquiry and for informed debate on the politics and culture of our time. Bridging the humanities with the social sciences, our innovative program trains students in conceptual rigor, archival research, critical analysis, and historical writing. Our strong links to other New School for Social Research departments and to centers and programs across The New School provide our students with unparalleled opportunities for engagement with critical social theory and in interdisciplinary collaboration.

    Founded in the mid-1980s by Charles Tilly, Louise Tilly, Aristide Zolberg, and Ira Katznelson, the Committee for Historical Studies continues to build upon its original premise: that history is a field of inquiry critical to all human understanding. We remain committed to developing theoretically informed and critical approaches to historical questions.

    Our course offerings cover a wide range of historical periods and world regions, with particular strength in the large-scale transformations of the modern era. Areas of faculty expertise include the history of capitalism, history of politics, history of violence, gender history, history of psychoanalysis, history of social movements, and history and theory. Our diverse approaches draw on the insights of critical social theory. Committed faculty mentors work with students to cultivate their abilities as scholars, as educators, and as writers who can communicate to a wide audience. We offer an MA degree as well as a specialized minor for NSSR PhD students only.

    Outside of our department, students pursuing a degree in Historical Studies take part in the intellectual life of NSSR's many centers, including the Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies, and the Zolberg Center on Migration and Mobility. Students contribute to our online publication, Public Seminar, and engage with New York City's peerless array of scholarly and cultural institutions.

    Our alumni pursue doctoral study at The New School for Social Research and other top universities or put their training to use successfully in a wide range of non-academic careers.

  • Curriculum

    Historical Studies is available as the MA degree only. Students who complete the requirements for the MA in Historical Studies and wish to earn a PhD degree can apply for admission to NSSR's PhD in Politics or Sociology with a minor in Historical Studies.

  • Featured Courses

    Historical Studies explores what happened in the past, with the goal of interrupting our present and building a better future.  Our courses focus on the major transformations of the modern era, which we explore through varied theoretical perspectives and analytic approaches. Our students work closely with faculty to develop their own research.

  • Take The Next Step

Submit your application


To apply to any of our undergraduate programs (except the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs) complete and submit the Common App online.

Undergraduate Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.


To apply to any of our Master's, Doctoral, Professional Studies Diploma, and Graduate Certificate programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.