Public Engagement

Experiential Learning

  • Rooted in the belief that learning can and should be active and take many forms, The New School's Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students makes experiential learning an integral part of your education. For new students, our advisors review your professional and personal background to determine if you are eligible to receive academic credit for prior learning. Once you have completed a few courses in the program, you can earn credit for internships, study abroad, and projects designed through self-directed learning such as professional engagements, artistic and performance pieces, and independent research and projects.

    Shape your education with faculty and advisors who will help you develop projects and courses of study to suit your professional and personal needs and goals. Intern at a nonprofit, lead a social justice initiative, design and implement a nutrition program for children, or study abroad for a semester. It's all possible in a community that thrives on catalyzing diverse experiences into personal achievement and social good.

    Self-Directed Learning

    The New School offers adult students the unique opportunity to direct their own learning initiatives, pursue education outside the classroom, and earn credits toward their degree. As a self-directed learning student, you can earn up to 12 credits for projects you design in partnership with our faculty and staff, and collaborate to complete it in a manner that best suits you.

    All students interested in self-directed learning begin by taking a fundamentals course, which outlines theories of individualized learning and offers the basic building blocks to structure and evaluate learning projects. Next, you design and implement projects working with the director of Academic Affairs, our core faculty advisors, faculty experts, and others in the field. Students are also encouraged to participate in a reflection seminar, where they can discuss the successes and challenges they encounter in their projects.

    To find out more about earning Self-Directed Learning credits, contact your faculty advisor or the director of Academic Affairs in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students.


    Students can earn non-liberal arts credits for internships arranged through the Program Office. To be eligible, a student must have completed at least 12 credits in residence at The New School and be in good academic standing. Students can register for up to two internships as part of the Bachelor's Program. Internships are set up as courses; they normally carry three credits and are completed in one academic term. Students must work 10-12 hours per week for 12-15 weeks to earn three credits.

    Application Process

    Any student interested in earning credits for an internship should discuss this option with their core faculty advisor. Completed applications must be received by the director of Academic Affairs at least one week before the start of the semester in which the internship will take place. If the proposed internship meets the requirements, the student will be given the Contract for Internship, to be completed by the student and the organization.

    The contract must be signed and returned along with a description of the intern's responsibilities provided by the organization or on-site supervisor on organization letterhead. This description must specify

    • The number of hours the intern is expected to work
    • The period of time covered by the internship
    • The name, title, mailing address, telephone number, and email address of the on-site supervisor

    The detailed job description and the completed contract form must be submitted for approval to the director of Academic Affairs, accompanied by the student's written explanation of the value of the internship to the course of study at The New School. These steps must be completed before or during the registration period of the academic term for which the internship is proposed. Students must not begin working at an internship before obtaining approval from the director of Academic Affairs.

    Once the paperwork has been received and final approval given, the registrar will be instructed to set up the internship as a course, and the student can register for the internship credits. Tuition for internships is charged per credit at the same rate as the student's other courses in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students. Internships are subject to the same add and drop deadlines as other courses.


    Upon completion of an internship, the student submits a written report (4-7 pages) to the director of Academic Affairs, describing the internship experience. The on-site supervisor must complete a brief evaluation form, provided by The New School, and return it separately to the director. Upon receipt of both the reports and evaluation, a grade of P (Pass; credits are awarded) or U (Unsatisfactory; no credit is awarded) will be reported.

    Study Abroad

    Do more than earn your degree; experience the world.

    Adult students are encouraged to build on the fortitude, social consciousness, and curiosity that led them to complete their degree by engaging in study abroad opportunities offered by The New School's Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students. We structure our study abroad programs to meet the needs of busy adult students, with opportunities in the winter and summer lasting only a few weeks. Students who desire a longer experience can also participate in other university-sponsored programs. Whether you spend a few weeks, a semester, or an academic year abroad, you will have the chance to study in different environments and cultural contexts by taking courses, working at internships, or pursuing volunteer projects.


    The New School offers our own courses abroad and partners with study abroad programs at other institutions. You can participate in a university-sponsored program or research and apply to one of the many programs available through IIE Passport,, or

    First Steps

    To gain the most from your study abroad experience and ensure school approval, consider your reasons for studying abroad, how the experience will fit into your overall education plan, and when and where you want to study. Then make an appointment with the director of Academic Affairs to discuss your desires and options.