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Each graduate student works closely with a faculty adviser to design a curriculum that integrates course work throughout the University with the Gallatin graduate core courses and individualized project options.

The MA program begins with the proseminar, a graduate core course that is taken in the first or second semester of enrollment (must be taken before completing 12 units). The majority of the curriculum will then consist of course work taken at the various NYU graduate schools and can also include options such as Gallatin elective courses, independent study, tutorials, internships, and private lessons.

The graduate program culminates with the MA thesis. Students begin the thesis process by writing the thesis proposal in the Thesis Proposal Seminar, which must be successfully fulfilled before completing 24 units. Students then continue working on the thesis in Master's Thesis I and Master's Thesis II, which are independent studies overseen by the adviser.