• Student Life

    Liberal Studies

  • Contact Us

    General Admission Contact
    The New School for Social Research
    Office of Admission
    79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
    New York, NY 10003
    212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411

    Admission Liaison
    Samuel Yelton

    Committee on Liberal Studies
    6 East 16th Street, room 711A
    New York, NY 10003
    Tel: 212.229.2747 x3026
    Fax: 212.229.5473 

    Mailing Address
    79 Fifth Avenue, room 711A
    New York, NY 10003

    Paul Kottman


    Student Advisor
    Quinn Mason

    Liberal Studies Student Handbook

  • Admission

  • Through an open curriculum and transdisciplinary approach, the master's program in Liberal Studies gives students the intellectual foundation for understanding the powerful ideas and forms of expression that create the backbone of the modern world. Based in the center of New York City, world-class faculty and committed students achieve an in-depth understanding of our global community and our broader place within it.

    Through the Liberal Studies program, you will critically explore and intensively examine the core issues of our time. The MA in Liberal Studies offers practical writing tools and guided in-depth study in cross-disciplinary courses taught by renowned faculty, who emphasize rigorous critical inquiry and thoughtful expression.

    The program's core courses will ground you in the history of ideas and in the practice of sustained writing, while you develop an intellectual peer community. From there you can branch out, taking advantage of the rich offerings and distinguished faculty of The New School. Work with both a faculty advisor and a student advisor to create a robust pathway tailored to your individual needs and academic ambitions. We offer a rich selection of courses with world-class professors who can extend your command of critical theory, the history of ideas, aesthetics, philosophy, politics, anthropology, media theory — wherever your curiosity takes you. Courses are available in both the daytime and the evening, to fit into even the busiest schedule.

    At the heart of the program are two core courses. The first — The Making of the Modern World — considers the origins and fate of modern societies as understood by key thinkers who have explained and championed modern social developments, as well as those who have harbored grave anxieties about the shape of modern life. We cover significant currents in the arts, social history, cultural theory, literature, politics, and philosophy. Our second core course — the Master's Critical Writing Seminar — helps students work on nonfiction writing and criticism, so that they can better express their own views with clarity and force. Students often use this course to write the required MA thesis, exploring a topic of their choice in depth and producing a substantive and polished work of prose.

    As a graduate student, you will have access to a broad array of programs, including ones presented by the Liberal Studies Student Association (LSSA) and the Institute for Philosophy and the New Humanities (IPNH). The hub for activities and interests of Liberal Studies students, the LSSA aims to create community among students, host events and provide platforms for them to advance and share their work, and promote student interests within the department and NSSR at large. The first LSSA event, Afro and Indigenous Futures: On Living Land, took place in spring 2021; watch the video here

    The IPNH hosts intensive one-week seminars; its fall 2021 seminar, Objectivity in the Humanities, will feature Jill Lepore, Lorraine Daston, and other prominent guest speakers. 

  • Curriculum

    The Department of Liberal Studies offers a Master of Arts (MA) degree program.

  • Featured Courses

    Liberal Studies combines the New School's tradition of critical and socially engaged inquiry with an interdisciplinary approach to problems in culture. We offer concentration and elective courses areas including critical media theory, criticism in literature and art, aesthetics, and gender.

  • Scholars and Work

    Explore work that helps shape and understand the world in which we live:

  • 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.