Information On The Coronavirus

We continue to monitor and respond to the public health situation regarding COVID-19. As of March 26, most buildings on our New York campus will close until further notice. Non-essential staff should work remotely if possible. Check the Parsons Paris website for information about our Paris campus.

Learn more

  • Current Courses

      • 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

        Admissions 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 5th Avenue, room 711A
        New York, NY 10003

        Paul Kottman

        Senior Secretary
        Jeff Feld

        Student Advisor
        Weston Finfer

        Liberal Studies Student Handbook (PDF)


    • Courses in the Department of Liberal Studies survey modern society through groundbreaking thinkers and significant developments in the arts, social history, cultural theory, politics, and philosophy. Students will enhance their own ideas through nonfiction writing and criticism, improving the clarity of their thinking and analytical construction.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Spring 2020 courses include:

      • Labor and Dignity, GLIB 5134
        Inessa Medzhibovskaya, Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Literary Studies

        The aim of this course is to provide a humanistic and philosophical guide to thinking about the idea of work with dignity (migrant and undocumented labor, wage discrepancy, the minimum requirements established in societies for the provision of livelihood and its protection, unionization contracts, labor agreements, etc.). Our approach is to consider this theme through the lens of the historical and theoretical dimensions of an older and broader discourse, one that has been around for millennia: labor and dignity. We examine texts that illuminate the strengths and frailties of the concept and consider how it has struggled to maintain itself through history. Each week's coursework consists of individual case studies in which the problem of labor and dignity is represented, in scriptures, myths, literature, film, philosophy, theater, records of community life, media, and politics.

      • Trans Theory as Gender Theory, GLIB 5150
        McKenzie Wark, Professor of Culture and Media

        Trans people have a unique relation to gender in that they have experienced being two (or more) genders, whereas most cis people have only ever experienced one. So what if we took the accounts and theories of gender created by trans people as central to thinking about the concept of gender in general, rather than as a special case or subtopic of feminist or queer theory? We build on pioneering work in trans studies (Susan Stryker, Sandy Stone, Leslie Feinberg) as well as recent contributions (Paul Preciado, C. Riley Snorton) as ways of constructing new pathways into research on gender and sexuality, as alternatives to more standard accounts (Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler). It may turn out that certain aspects of transsexual experience and thought do not fit neatly in accepted conceptual frameworks. Besides examining theoretical texts, we look at examples of trans literature, art, and media that may challenge some existing theoretical categories and call for novel concepts.

      • Melancholy, GLIB 5200
        Eugene Thacker, Professor of Media Studies

        This seminar explores varied literary expressions of melancholy (from the medieval accedie to the early modern melancholia to cross-cultural concepts including ennui, Weltschmerz, saudade, hsüan, and yūgen) and its corresponding effects, bringing together perspectives from philosophy, literary studies, and the history of medicine. Undergraduate students must contact the instructor for permission to register.

      • Faith in Modern Literature: Supreme Fictions and Gods That Failed, GLIB 5310
        Melissa Monroe, Part-Time Assistant Professor

        Reports of the death of God may or may not be exaggerated, but issues of faith and doubt, both religious and secular, have figured prominently in modern literature, from Samuel Beckett’s God-forsaken seekers to Graham Greene’s tormented whiskey priests, from Flannery O’Connor’s “Christ-haunted South” to Michel Houellebecq's vision of secular contemporary France taken over by a conservative Islamic government. In this course, we look at works of modern fiction, poetry, and drama that address either Judeo-Christian belief or the secular creeds which have been proposed as replacements for conventional religion. We read brief selections from philosophers and theologians (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Buber, Jaspers, Maritain), but our principal focus is on literary authors such as Franz Kafka, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Albert Camus, James Baldwin, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Paul Celan, Anne Carson and Cynthia Ozick, as well as those named above. We consider not only the religious (or antireligious) views expressed in the work but also how the literary form of each text contributes to its meaning. Our discussion of style extends to student work; four essays are assigned over the course of the semester, and we look at effective examples of student writing. This class is open to undergraduates with permission from the instructor.

      • Gender and Its Discontents, GLIB 5406
        Chiara Bottici, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Pantea Farvid, Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology

        This is a required core course for the university-wide graduate certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies and is open to all graduate students who are interested in sexuality and gender studies. Our starting point is the acknowledgment that sex- and gender-based modes of social organization are pervasive and that their prominence and persistence are reflected in sex- and gender-conscious research across the humanities, the arts, the social sciences, design, and studies dedicated to social policies and innovative strategies for social intervention. We expand on this starting point through both an in-depth survey of influential theoretical approaches to sex and gender such as Marxist feminism, theories of sexual difference, queer studies, and postcolonial and decolonial feminism and consideration of to the significance of different approaches. Topics to be explored include equality and rights, exploitation and division of labor, the construction of gender, performativity, gender images, narrative, and identity.

      • Master’s Seminar in Critical and Creative Writing, GLIB 6301
        James E. Miller, Professor of Liberal Studies and Politics, and Melissa Monroe, Part-Time Assistant Professor

        An intensive workshop for students working on major writing projects such as an MA thesis, a piece of long-form journalism, or an integrated writing portfolio for professional use. The course is organized as an ongoing process of peer review supervised by the faculty. The aim is to create a collective setting that can help students improve their own writing and hone their critical skills through constructive engagement with others’ work.

      • Uncanny Appearances, GLIB 7000
        Jonathan Bach, Professor of Global Studies and Lana Lin, Associate Professor of Film Theory and Digital Cinema

        In 1919, Freud published a wide-ranging essay on the “uncanny,” which he describes as an aesthetic quality of feeling that is a special species of fear. Female genital organs, prostheses, automatons, doppelgängers, and haunted houses are among the phenomena that have been regarded as uncanny. Today new media techniques push the boundary of the uncanny into domains such as virtual reality, “fake news,” and data doubles. The uncanny is always bound up with uncertainty as to whether something is an original or a copy, animate or inanimate, alive or dead. It cuts across design, politics, culture, media, literature, and social theory. This course tracks the evolution of the uncanny as the concept proliferates across multiple disciplines, from psychoanalysis to sociocultural analysis, from aesthetics to design methodologies. We pay special attention to questions that fuse the practice of design with the big questions of the humanities: What distinguishes appropriation from innovation? Why do certain forms of reproduction and mimesis seem so perennially unsettling? How are our interactions with humans and nonhumans marked by a sense of the foreignness of the other, whether it emerges in the individual psyche, the built environment, or the nation-state? We follow these questions to speculate upon how the uncanny dwells in trauma, infiltrates politics, and reproduces contemporary forms of life. Participation in this seminar will help students identify uncanny trends in their fields and/or produce creative work that draws on the uncanny. (Instructor permission is required.)
  • 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.