The Gallatin Philosophy and Curriculum

The Gallatin School of Individualized Study is guided by a philosophy that prizes self-directed learning though active student participation in the development of an interdisciplinary, individualized course of study. Our deeply engaged faculty and advisers guide students in their academic explorations and cultivate an environment conducive to intellectual exploration across traditional academic disciplines.

What does this mean? What is a concentration? And interdisciplinarity? What types of classes does Gallatin offer? Glad you asked!

What is a concentration?

A concentration, which takes the place of a traditional major in Gallatin’s undergraduate curriculum, is a rigrorous program of study organized around a theme, a problem, an activity, a period of history, an area of the world, or a central idea or question. As a Gallatin student, you will work with your adviser(s) and other faculty members to develop an integrated, interdisciplinary, individualized concentration reflecting your academic interests and professional goals. This concentration will evolve–and continue evolving–through coursework, experiential learning, and independent projects. You need not have a fully articulated idea of what your concentration will be at this particular moment; as you prepare for your first semester, aim to explore a variety of interests and look to acquire a range of skills and keep in mind that sometimes it is the unexpected connection that brings a concentration together. That is all to say: keep an open mind, be flexible, and try new things!

What is interdisciplinary study?

As you develop your concentration, you will learn,  with support from your adviser(s), to look for productive and illuminating intersections between academic disciplines. To that end, you will have the opportunity to complement Gallatin courses in writing, significant texts, the history of ideas, the arts, and interdisciplinary studies, with offerings from departments and programs across NYU. You can learn more about NYU Academic Departments and Programs where you will be able to take classes here.

What is individualized study?

Creativity, flexibility, and rigor characterize academics at Gallatin. As a Gallatin student, you will have the chance to design a program of study that suits your unique interests and goals, while building a strong foundation in the liberal arts in consultation with your adviser(s). In Gallatin’s small classes, including the interdisciplinary seminars that ground the program, you will be encouraged to continually explore and rethink the connections between the areas of study that compel you. One important point to keep in mind now and going forward: though you are setting out to develop your own course of study, you need not–and ought not–do so alone: consultation with your adviser(s), as well as conversations with faculty and your peers, both in and out of the classroom, are an indispensable aspect of putting together an individualized concentration.

What classes make up the Gallatin curriculum?

Once you have completed the First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar and the First-Year Writing Seminar, you will be able to further explore Gallatin’s Interdisciplinary Seminar (IDSEM) offerings, as well as Advanced Writing Courses (WRTNG-UG), which include options in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, advocacy and activism, comedy, criticism, and documentary.

Other curricular offerings at Gallatin include arts workshops (ARTS-UG), global programs, travel courses (TRAV-UG),  independent studies, tutorials, internships, and private lessons.

The Arts Program

The Gallatin interdisciplinary Arts Program, grounded in and inspired by the artist-scholar/scholar-artist model, enables students to design programs that combine academic and creative work in the arts. The arts curriculum includes the many arts workshops  offered each semester in the performing, literary, and visual arts. You may enrolls in arts workshop courses at any time.

Global Programs and Travel Courses

Gallatin students may take advantage of several forms of global learning. Whether you study abroad for a semester (which you may choose to do after you complete your first semester) or a summer at an NYU site, study as an exchange student at an international university, or take a Gallatin summer or winter travel course, you will return to Washington Square with expanded academic and cultural horizons.

Individualized Projects and Experiential Learning

After the first semester, Gallatin students have the chance to develop and realize their own individualized projects, which also count toward the undergraduate core requirement. Individualized projects include credit-bearing independent studies and tutorials, which enable students to work one-on-one with a professor or in small groups of two to five students examining shared readings overseen by a faculty member. Gallatin students are also able to receive credit, after the first semester, for embarking on internships, which will help them gain hands-on professional experience to illuminate the concentration; private lessons, which allow students to receive credit for study at performing or visual arts studios across the city. By studying with professional, New York City-based artist/teachers, students are offered the opportunity to develop and perfect their craft.