A full account of degree requirements and procedures is contained in the Liberal Studies student handbook.
To earn the MA in Liberal Studies, a student must complete a total of 30 credits with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
A maximum of three credits taken at another university may be granted toward the credit requirement for the master's degree. Twenty-seven credits must be completed at The New School for Social Research.
Apart from the required courses, students can choose from a wide range of course offerings approved by the Committee on Liberal Studies to promote interdisciplinary expertise and an independent approach to learning. The faculty is particularly strong
in the four areas of study described below, but students are free to take any combination of approved courses they desire.
- Literature, the Arts, and Aesthetics
Students with an interest in word, image, and culture will find a broad array of courses in literature, cinema, visual art, gender and sexuality studies, and aesthetic theory. Some courses
focus on a particular writer, artist, or time period; others take an integrated approach to aesthetic movements or topics.
- Intellectual History and Modern Thought
Courses in this group enable students to develop competence and facility with the ideas that shape our history and our times. Some courses examine historical perspectives; others look closely
at the intellectual life of the modern period.
- Criticism and Publishing
The means by which thought and art are communicated with the public is constantly changing. Courses in this area address the history of means of communication and their current and emerging forms. These
courses offer not only practical instruction in current cultural media but a context within which to understand the shifting terrain of media forms.
- Media and Culture
The slow eclipse of traditional print and broadcast media raises questions about the nature of media in general and its influence on culture, politics, and daily life. Courses in this area cover both the classics
of media theory and pressing questions in contemporary media and culture.
Students can use elective courses toward completing one of the university’s graduate minors. These structured pathways of study immerse master's and doctoral students in disciplines outside their primary field and expose them to alternative modes of research and practice. Completed graduate minors are officially recorded on students' transcript.
A written thesis is an opportunity to explore and critically analyze a text or set of texts, period or contemporary, in a way that sheds fresh light on the subject and/or transcends established disciplinary boundaries.
A completed thesis is a significant body of work that can become the foundation for further research and writing, including a doctoral dissertation, or the first draft of a work intended for publication.
Recent thesis titles include:
- Franz Kafka and Hannah Arendt's Image of Totalitarianism
- Futurism, Fascism, and Henri Bergson's Philosophy of Time
- “And they even took pictures!” Photographs of the atomic bomb under the American occupation
- Anticommunism in Action: The American Jewish Committee Reacts to the Rosenberg Execution
- Women on Wall Street: Hypermasculinity in the Workplace Culture from the late 1950s to the 1990s
- Arthur Danto's Interpretation of Andy Warhol
- Constructing Taste: Forecasting Services and the Sociology of Fashion
Students begin working with their faculty advisors in their first year to develop ideas for a thesis. They decide on a topic in the first semester of their second year. In their final semester, students write the thesis and present it to the faculty for