Degree Requirements

  • Liberal Arts: A Self-Designed Program

    The self-designed major in Liberal Arts leads to a BA or BS in Liberal Arts. This major requires completion of a minimum of 13 courses. Students choosing this option must also prepare a path statement. This path statement must be approved by the chair of Liberal Arts no later than the first semester of the junior year.

    Students are responsible for reading course descriptions when choosing classes for their self-designed major. If they choose a class that requires permission because of prerequisites and/or is a course at another college within The New School, such as Parsons, the College of Performing Arts, or any of the graduate programs, they must seek permission using the proper procedures. Requesting permission is not a guarantee of being granted permission.

    As of spring 2018, students pursuing this self-designed major can elect a minor from the university's offerings.  

    The path statement must include:

    1. Preliminary Questions (answering the following questions will clarify the reasons for choosing the Liberal Arts major):

    • What are you interested in studying?
    • What are your intellectual and/or personal reasons for choosing this path of study?
    • Which faculty members are most relevant to your path of study?

    2. Name of Proposed Path of Study

    3. Description

    • A detailed description of the path of study with a rationale, including an explanation of why it cannot be accomplished within an existing major

    4. Curriculum: a list of courses that support the path of study

    • Past Courses: include the subject codes, numbers, titles, instructors, and the semester the course was taken
    • Future Courses: include the subject codes, numbers, titles, instructors, and the semester the course will be taken

    5. Faculty Letter

    • A letter from a faculty advisor to the chair of Liberal Arts assessing the proposal's feasibility

    Students should be aware of the following selection criteria:

    • Is the proposal well constructed? Is the rationale for the major clearly and fully articulated?
    • Feasibility: Are courses available? Are they likely to be available? Are resources such as faculty advising and other institutional support adequate to sustain the project?
    • Assessment of faculty advisor’s letter

    Expectations of students completing the self-designed Liberal Arts major:

    • Students meet with the chair of Liberal Arts at least once each semester. During this meeting, the path statement is discussed and revised as needed.
    • Students communicate with instructors before a course begins in order to clarify the connections between the course readings and assignments and their path of study.
    • Senior year: Students complete a five-page reflection on their path of study (in addition to the senior capstone).

    Senior Capstone
    All Liberal Arts students are required to complete an independent senior work project.

    Requirements Worksheet

    Courses should be chosen carefully, in consultation with the chair of the program. Students are encouraged to download the Path of Study Proposal Worksheet (PDF) for Liberal Arts to track their progress. Students must earn a grade of C or higher in all courses taken in order to meet the requirements for the major in Liberal Arts.