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. Here you can earn credit for your prior life experience, internships, professional skills, 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.

    Why earn your bachelor's degree here? You'll be welcomed into an environment that values your individual experience and is structured to meet your needs. You can apply your intelligence and skills to project-based learning opportunities and receive the advice and support you need from professors every step of the way. In addition, by interacting with students who are entrepreneurs, community activists, artists, writers, designers, project managers, and multimedia producers, you'll learn as much from your peers as you do from your professors.

    To find out more about earning credit for life experience, contact an admission counselor at

    Prior Learning

    The New School believes that academics can begin before you enter the classroom. We value the experience and learning you have gained during your lifetime. Our students enroll with a range of college-level knowledge from jobs, internships, volunteer positions, noncredit classes, job training classes, military service, and independent study, as well as life experience, which our Prior Learning program accepts as credit toward a bachelor’s degree. We feel that the years students spend learning in and engaging with the world outside the classroom should accelerate the path to a degree.

    Self-Directed Learning

    Learn your way.

    Pursue what you love. Study without limits.

    You're passionate about learning and gaining the skills you need to make a difference in your career and the world. The New School recognizes that passion and offers adult students the unique opportunity to direct their own learning initiatives, pursue education outside the classroom, and earn credits toward their degree. By partnering with our faculty advisors, you can design projects to suit your career goals and interests and change directions as your goals and needs evolve.

    The Program

    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 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. After finishing the fundamentals course, you are ready to 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 with one another 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-BPATS.


    Earn credit for learning in the real world.

    Bring what you learn in the class to the office and vice versa. The New School's Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students Internship program allows students to earn non-liberal arts credit for work done with various companies and organizations. Structured like an academic course, the program allows students to pursue up to two department-approved positions to round out their field of study.

    All proposed internships are reviewed by the director of Academic Affairs-BPATS through an Internship Contract (PDF). To find out more about earning internship credits, contact your faculty advisor or the director of Academic Affairs-BPATS.

    Study Abroad

    Do more than earn your degree; experience the world.

    You made the decision to finish your degree. Let your studies take you places you never imagined.

    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.