Gallatin’s Master of Arts program offers each student an opportunity to explore his or her unique interests. Working closely with a faculty adviser, the student creates an individualized, interdisciplinary program shaped according to his or her own vision. With diverse goals, Gallatin students are often intellectual and professional pioneers, mapping new relationships among fields of knowledge. Students are encouraged to draw on the educational resources of NYU’s graduate and professional schools and of New York City.
Interdisciplinary and Individualized Study
The Gallatin School was created for the student whose academic interests cross the boundaries of traditional departments and who wishes to look at these interests through an interdisciplinary lens. With the guidance of a faculty adviser, students combine course offerings in two or more academic disciplines or professional areas to construct an individualized and integrated program of study. A student interested in arts management, for example, might take classes in the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS), the Stern School of Business and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Another student might build a concentration in community action through classes in the GSAS Department of Politics, the Silver School of Social Work and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. The hallmark of the Gallatin program is the student’s opportunity to tailor these choices to fit his or her distinct passions and goals.
Students are also encouraged to take advantage of learning opportunities outside traditional classroom work in the various graduate schools of New York University. They may pursue independent studies, individual projects that involve meeting one-on-one with professors; tutorials, small groups of students working closely with an instructor on a common topic, project or skill; internships, direct work experiences in businesses, government agencies or cultural institutions; and private lessons, for students in the arts who wish to study outside the University. Gallatin recognizes the importance of students’ different learning styles and the value of adjusting inquiry to each student’s particular interests. Gallatin also offers course equivalency credit for prior learning, where mastery of comparable material in actual NYU courses can be demonstrated.
The MA program at Gallatin culminates in the master’s thesis. This final product may take the form of an extended research paper, an artistic work or a professional project. In each of these formats, the student displays what he or she has learned through the program in a rigorous and creative piece of work.
A cornerstone of the Gallatin program is faculty advising. Because a program of individualized study requires faculty consultation and input, Gallatin offers several forms of advising. Each student is assigned a primary adviser, a faculty member with expertise in the student’s core area of inquiry. The administrative director and the faculty co-directors of the program also serve as general program advisers and are available to clarify the aims and policies of the MA program. Students may consult with the program directors at any point during their time at Gallatin. Additionally, students may seek advice from the Gallatin faculty member who reviews the thesis proposal or sits on the thesis committee.
The first step students should take when contemplating their program of study is to free themselves from the notion that Gallatin will tell them what to do. The essential spirit of the program lies in the word individualized: the student determines what he or she will learn and how this will be accomplished.
When graduate students begin their Gallatin program, they already have a sense of their educational goals. As they proceed through the program, these goals become further defined. What do they want to know when they finish the program? Working backward from there, what strategies will enable them to achieve that goal? Students need to ask themselves these questions each term. Answers evolve over time, gaining clarity and providing direction. Students must take the initiative to work through these issues, to make decisions and act on them and to revise them if necessary.
Students should search carefully for the best resources and opportunities. NYU is a complex university, with myriad courses and programs. Students are encouraged to find the ones that best meet their needs.
The search should not be limited to one school or department. Students should examine all the course listings and locate all the relevant classes, organize them into categories, weigh them by priority and then make choices. Independent studies, tutorials, internships and private lessons should be considered. Students should also consult regularly with their advisers and talk to their teachers and classmates. This process requires imagination, intelligence and resourcefulness. These are the qualities that students bring to Gallatin and that the program cultivates and celebrates.