• Required Courses

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    [email protected]

    Program Contact
    Rory O'Dea, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Design

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  • The School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT) provides a core curriculum for Parsons undergraduate students from their first to their senior year. The school also offers elective and University Lecture courses open to undergraduate students in all divisions of The New School.

  • First-Year Requirements

    First-year students are required to take three 3-credit ADHT courses: Objects as History, Integrative Seminar 1, and Integrative Seminar 2. The integrative seminars are designed to equip students with a range of tools and methods with which to respond to the world critically, teaching them to connect text and visual elements, investigate how cultural values can be transmitted through art and design, and communicate their discoveries and opinions clearly in writing. Each seminar is paired with a corresponding studio course that shares a common theme, and the connections formed between seminar and studio investigate writing as a form of making, and making as a form of thinking.  Objects as History traces world history through the social, cultural, technological, and religious functions of objects — from prehistory to the Industrial Revolution — that can be experienced directly in museum collections throughout New York City.

  • Upper-Level Core Courses

    After completing the first-year requirements, students are expected to take three additional ADHT courses.

    One course in the history of an art or design discipline, depending on the student’s major, is required. The following disciplinary history courses are offered through ADHT: History of Design: 1850–2000, History of Modern & Contemporary Art: Lecture, History of Architecture, History of Fashion, and History of Photography. Students should consult the curriculum of their program for the appropriate course.

    Students are also required to take one of four theory and methodology courses, as designated by their major program: Introduction to Architectural Theory, Introduction to Design Studies, Introduction to Fashion Studies, and  Introduction to Visual Culture

    In their junior or senior year, depending on their major, students are required to take Advanced Research Seminar, which provides a conceptual and practical inquiry into research in preparation for their capstone or thesis experience. Advanced Research Seminar approaches research as a resource of imaginative and critical inquiry for artists and designers, and each seminar is assigned a thematic inflection that aligns with the research approaches and critical discourses used within the different schools at Parsons: Visual Culture, Fashion, Constructed Environments, and Art and Design Practice. Enabling students to reflect critically on art and design practices in relation to materials, images, histories, and theories, the Advanced Research Seminar rigorously prepares students to position their practice in relation to the crucial cultural, social, and political concerns of the contemporary world.

  • English as a Second Language

    ESL classes develop students' ability to perform well in college-level courses conducted in standard American English. The English course placement test determines whether non-native English speaking students are required to take ESL courses and, if so, at what level. The test is given during the week before classes begin every fall and spring semester. All ESL classes instruct students in the writing of thesis-driven essays by addressing standard American English grammar, word usage, conventions of academic essays, and the various stages of the writing process. ESL courses also develop students' spoken English and their ability to comprehend both written and spoken English.

    We ensure that first-year students enrolled in ESL can complete their required courses in a timely fashion by offering the first-year integrative seminars with sections that address the language needs of ESL students. These sections, like all integrative seminars, will be paired with integrative studio courses.

    For more information on ESL courses, explore the ESL website or contact [email protected].

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