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Core Courses

Gallatin Graduate Curriculum - Core Courses

All Gallatin graduate students* are required to take the following core courses:

Below you will find more information about each of our core requirements. You can jump to any particular course description by using the links above. 

*Students who matriculated in Spring 2013 or earlier should consult the Degree Requirements For Students Who Started in Spring 2013 and Earlier.


Proseminar (4 units)

Each fall and spring semester, Gallatin offers several different Proseminars that focus on theory and methods in the arts, the humanities or the social sciences.  The Proseminar introduces students to key concepts and thinkers and emphasizes the reading of classic and contemporary works of theory in the arts, humanities, or the social sciences. Students should choose the Proseminar that aligns most closely with their proposed concentration for the program, keeping in mind that they have the option to take an additional Proseminar to fulfill the additional Gallatin graduate course requirement.

This course performs a number of functions:

  1. It introduces students to the nature of individualized and interdisciplinary studies by engaging them in work on a broad theme or problem. Students learn how different kinds of scholars approach a common problem: how they ask questions, gather relevant information, conduct analysis and reach conclusions.
  2. The Proseminar helps students think through their own programs of study by broadening their conception of the knowledge and skills they will need to pursue their plans and by encouraging them to clarify their own educational goals.
  3. Finally, the Proseminar engages students in some of the academic processes—research, analytic thinking, scholarly communication—that they will need throughout their graduate studies.

The specific course descriptions may vary from semester to semester, but each class will raise issues of approach and method that every student needs to consider. The aim of the Proseminar, then, is to enlarge the student’s scholarship and interdisciplinary inquiry and to suggest ways that the University’s resources can be used to attain the student’s goals.

Offered in the fall and spring semesters.

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Additional Gallatin Graduate Course (4 units)

In addition to the Proseminar and Gallatin thesis courses (Thesis Proposal Seminar, Master’s Thesis I, and Master’s Thesis II), students must take another four units in graduate courses offered by Gallatin.

This requirement serves several functions: to engage students more fully with the Gallatin community; to give them an opportunity to encounter and integrate wide-ranging theoretical, historical, and methodological insights; and to strengthen their academic and interdisciplinary skills. Students have considerable leeway in choosing how to satisfy this requirement, thus manifesting the individualized character of the program.

Students fulfill this requirement by completing one of the following preexisting Gallatin courses:

  1. a graduate elective course;
  2. a second Proseminar;
  3. an independent study or tutorial (internships and private lessons will not fulfill this requirement);
  4. a graduate-level class offered by a Gallatin instructor at, or in conjunction with, another NYU department or program.

Offered in the fall and spring semesters.

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Thesis Proposal Seminar (2 units)

This course is taken after the student has completed a Proseminar and generally during the second semester of full-time study, or after completing 12 units.

As the first step in the sequence leading to the thesis, the Thesis Proposal Seminar meets regularly during the semester and moves students toward the completion of an acceptable thesis proposal.

Students learn about the structure and content of the thesis proposal as they:

  1. consider ways of integrating their work and articulating a core problem;
  2. discuss the conventions of scholarly discourse, documentation, and argumentation; and
  3. formulate a plan for the thesis.

Multiple sections of this course are offered every Spring. The course combines classroom instruction with special events (e.g., guest lectures, library visits, human subjects research instruction). The class also takes advantage of student research affinity groups formed before and during the students’ enrollment. For more information on the proposal itself, please consult this page, which details the three kinds of thesis propsosals. 

To fulfill the thesis proposal requirement, students must receive a grade of "P" from their instructor and submit an adviser approved draft of the thesis proposal to the program via Thesis Proposal Submission form. Students who complete Thesis Proposal Seminar in the spring term are required to submit the thesis proposal to Gallatin by June 15.

Offered only in the spring semester. 

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Master's Thesis I (2 units)

This course is generally taken in the third semester of full-time study, or after completing 24 units. The faculty adviser supervises and grades Master's Thesis I. 

  • Prerequisite: Thesis Proposal Seminar
  • To register for this course students must include it on their Plan of Study and submit an MA Thesis I Registration Form.
  • To pass this course, students must demonstrate significant progress toward completing the thesis and participate in the Raw Forum event.  

In Master’s Thesis I, students will complete the basic research for and begin drafting the thesis. The course, which is a two unit course supervised by the student’s adviser, will entail independent work, supported by the writing resources of the MA Program.

Students enrolled in MA Thesis I must:

  1. attend a meeting (registered students will be emailed information about place and time at the beginning of the semester) with the MA Program faculty and staff to discuss the overall goals of the course;
  2. immerse themselves in the relevant scholarly discourses and literatures and begin drafting the thesis and, in the case of artistic theses, developing the artwork and accompanying research essay; 
  3. meet with their advisers, on a regular basis, to consult on the content, logic, organization and methods for the thesis; 
  4. draw on the resources of the MA Program (e.g. individual consultations, organized peer writing groups, themed writing workshops) led by Gallatin M.A. program staff; 
  5. and at the end of the semester, present their work in progress by participating in the bi-annual Raw Forum, organized by Gallatin and attended by faculty and peers. 

For more details, please see the additional information about Master’s Thesis I on the Gallatin course website.

Offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

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MA Thesis II (2 units)

This course is generally taken in the final semester of study.  The faculty adviser supervises Master's Thesis II.  The Gallatin MA program submits grades for students in Master's Thesis II. 

  • Prerequisite: Master's Thesis I
  • To register for this course, students must include it on their Plan of Study and submit a MA Thesis II Registration form
  • To pass this class, which is supervised by the student’s adviser, the student must submit and defend the thesis.*

In the first months of the semester, the student continues to work in collaboration with the adviser to complete the thesis paper or, in the case of an artistic thesis, the artwork and accompanying research essays. All students are further expected to:

  1. attend one meeting at the start of the semester (registered students will be emailed information about place and time at the beginning of the semester) with MA Program faculty and staff to discuss the overall goals of the course. 
  2. draw on the resources of the MA Program (individual consultations with writing specialists, peer writing groups, themed writing workshops) during the writing process. 

As prescribed by the online thesis and defense calendar, students must receive approval for all work from their adviser far enough in advance of the defense so that the other panelists will have at least four weeks to read and inspect the submission. For more details, please see the additional information about Master's Thesis II on the Gallatin course website and refer back to the thesis and defense calendar as well your registration forms.

Offered in the fall, spring and summer.

* Students who are not able to defend their thesis while registered for MA Thesis II will receive a grade of incomplete for the course.  That grade will be changed once they successfully defend their thesis.  If you need additional time to complete your thesis following MA Thesis II, you should register for Thesis Advisement. 

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