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Degree Requirements

Gallatin Graduate Degree Requirements

Students are bound by the degree requirements in effect during the first semester in which they matriculate at Gallatin. The requirements listed below are effective for students matriculating in Summer 2013 and later. Students who matriculated in Spring 2013 or earlier should consult the Degree Requirements For Students Who Started in Spring 2013 and Earlier.

A more extensive explanation of each degree requirement can be found below the chart.

For more in-depth information about the Gallatin Curriculum (including descriptions of the core courses), please visit this page.


Degree Requirements for Gallatin MA Program

Total Required Units40 units
maximum permitted*
Graduate Core
Distributed as follows:

14 units

4 units
4 units
2 units
2 units
2 units


Courses offered by Gallatin or other NYU schools, or Gallatin individualized projects (see limitations below)

26 units

Master’s Thesis

Approved thesis proposal and successful completion and defense of a research, artistic, or project thesis


Academic Good Standing

A final minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0


Residency Requirement

Must be earned at NYU while enrolled in Gallatin

28 units

Classroom Unit Requirement


14 units
minimum required (excluding graduate core)

Individualized Projects:

Independent Studies, Tutorials, Internships, and Private Lessons (maximum of 6 units in Private Lessons)

12 units
maximum permitted (not required)

Transfer Credit/Course Equivalency Credits                                          


12 units
maximum accepted (not required)
Time Limit for Completion of the Master’s Degree
6 years

*Students should not exceed the required number of units for the degree, but occasionally students struggle to make their total units add up to exactly 40. If necessary, the student can petition to exceed the 40 unit maximum. Anyone with questions should reach out to the Administrative Director of the MA Program. 

Please also note that no undergraduate courses will be counted for credit toward the master’s degree.


Understanding Your Degree Requirements

  • Total Required Units
    To be eligible for the Master of Arts degree, students must complete 40 units within six years of matriculating in Gallatin. Students may not exceed the required number of units for the degree and all courses must be taken at the graduate level.

  • Graduate Core
    All students are required to take five Gallatin core courses:
    • Gallatin Proseminar
    • one additional Gallatin graduate elective
    • Thesis Proposal Seminar
    • Master’s Thesis I
    • Master’s Thesis II
  • Electives
    Students complete 26 units in elective courses offered by Gallatin or other NYU schools, or Gallatin individualized projects. Gallatin students may take courses throughout the graduate degree-granting programs of NYU. It should be noted that some courses have prerequisites, and others may be limited to students in their respective departments. Graduate students will not receive credit for undergraduate course work, with the exception of certain courses in the department of Undergraduate Film and Television. For information about taking electives across NYU please visit this page

  • Master’s Thesis
    The culmination of the student’s work at Gallatin is the master’s thesis. To fulfill this requirement, students must have an approved thesis proposal and must complete and successfully defend a research, artistic, or project thesis.  

  • Academic Good Standing
    Graduate students are considered to be in academic good standing when their current and cumulative grade point averages are above 3.0 (B average) and if they have not accumulated an excessive number of incomplete grades. Students should also maintain satisfactory progress toward their degree by completing, with satisfactory grades, more than half of the courses and units for which they register in any semester. Students newly admitted are presumed to be in academic good standing, unless they were admitted on a probationary status.

    Students whose grade point average or accumulation of incomplete grades suggests potential problems may receive an informal letter cautioning them about their situation and advising them to speak with their adviser; this notification does not appear on the students’ academic record. Students who are not in good standing may be placed on academic probation. To learn more about probation, please consult our graduate academic policies and procedures page via this link.
  • Residency Requirement
    A minimum of 28 units must be earned at NYU while the student is enrolled in the Gallatin School.

  • Classroom Unit Requirement
    Classroom learning is an essential component of the program, giving graduate students the opportunity for intellectual exchange with their peers. All Gallatin graduate students are required to earn a minimum of 14 units in classroom courses. The Graduate Core courses do not count towards the classroom unit requirement as they form a separate requirement. Transfer credit and a portion of course equivalency credit generally count toward this requirement. Individualized projects (independent studies, tutorials, internships and private lessons) do not count toward this requirement.


Options and Limitations

  • Individualized Projects
    At Gallatin, students have the option to pursue individualized projects, which are learning experiences that are not available in the traditional classroom. The types of individualized projects include independent studies, tutorials, internships and private lessons. A maximum of 12 units may be earned in individualized projects. Master’s Thesis I and Master’s Thesis II, which are required independent studies, are not counted toward these 12 units. If a student chooses to complete the Additional Gallatin Graduate Course requirement through independent study, these units will count toward the 12-unit maximum for individualized projects. Students are permitted to earn a maximum of 6 units in private lessons.

  • Transfer and Course Equivalency Credits
    To recognize prior professional or academic accomplishments, Gallatin may grant up to a combined total of 12 transfer and course equivalency units. These units must be related to the student’s area of concentration. Graduate students may earn course equivalency credit for professional experiences they have had before matriculating in Gallatin. Students may apply for a maximum of 12 course equivalency units (in combination with transfer units). Students must submit an extensive portfolio soon after they have completed 12 units in the M.A. program and before they have completed 20 units. Course equivalency units are applied half to the classroom requirement and half to the individualized projects option. The process of receiving credit begins with the compilation of an extensive portfolio documenting the student’s learning experiences prior to matriculation at Gallatin and ends with a rigorous evaluation process by NYU faculty. Students must demonstrate through the portfolio that they have mastered the material they would have learned in comparable NYU courses. To begin the process of applying for course equivalency units, students should consult the director of external programs about the rules and regulations governing the course equivalency process. See Course Equivalency for more information regarding policies, procedures and guidelines.

  • Time Limit
    The master’s degree must be completed within six years. If there are unusual circumstances warranting a formal extension, the student may request one from the Gallatin Faculty Committee on Advisement and Policies. Degree requirements may be completed in no fewer than three semesters. 


Additional M.A. Program Information

  • Changes in Degree Requirements
    Degree requirements in the Gallatin School are subject to change. Students should bear in mind that they are bound by the degree requirements in effect during the first semester in which they matriculate at Gallatin. Degree requirements for students transferring from a school or college within the University are those that are in effect when they first matriculate at Gallatin. Students who are readmitted must fulfill the degree requirements that are in effect when they are readmitted. Students who entered Gallatin before the current term should consult the relevant bulletin.

  • Prerequisites
    Gallatin students are required to meet the prerequisites for any courses they take in other schools of the University. These units may not necessarily be accepted as contributing to the 40-unit graduation requirement.

  • Grades
    The Gallatin School will accept the lowest passing grade determined by each NYU graduate school. Students must abide by the policies of each school for the completion of course work.

  • Thesis Advisement
    Students who do not complete the thesis and defend it successfully during the semester in which they register for Master’s Thesis II are required to register for Thesis Advisement each fall and spring until the thesis has been completed and defended. Students who plan to graduate in September must also register for Thesis Advisement during the summer prior to their graduation. Units earned through Thesis Advisement are not included in the 40-unit requirement for the master’s degree.