About The New School

In 1919, a few great minds imagined a school that would never settle for the status quo, one that would rethink the purpose of higher learning. The New School was the result. Today it is a progressive university housing five extraordinary schools and colleges. It is a place where scholars, artists, and designers find the support they need to unleash their intellect and creativity so that they can courageously challenge convention. We dissolve walls between disciplines to create a community in which journalists collaborate with designers, architects with social researchers, artists with activists. Our academic centers in New York City, Paris, Shanghai, and Mumbai offer over 10,000 students more than 135 undergraduate and graduate degree programs uniquely designed to prepare them to make a more just, beautiful, and better-designed world.


The New School was founded in New York City nearly a century ago by a small group of prominent American intellectuals and educators, among them Charles Beard, John Dewey, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen. Frustrated by the intellectual timidity of traditional colleges, they envisioned a new kind of academic institution where faculty and students would be free to address honestly and directly the problems facing societies in the 20th century. In 1919, they created a school of advanced adult education to bring creative scholars together with citizens interested in improving their understanding of the key issues of the day through active questioning, debate, and discussion. The founders named their new school The New School for Social Research.

Over the years, The New School for Social Research, now formally named The New School, grew into an urban university with seven colleges. The university is enriched by the diversity of its students, who represent a wide range of ages, social backgrounds, aspirations, perspectives, interests, and talents.

The courses offered by The New School at first reflected the founders’ interest in the emerging social sciences, international affairs, history, and philosophy. Faculty members and visiting scholars included Harold Lasky, Franz Boas, and John Maynard Keynes. Soon, the school added courses in drama and literature, followed by classes in writing, performing arts, fine arts, foreign languages, media studies, and information processing.

Some of the finest minds of the 20th century developed pioneering courses at The New School. In 1948, W.E.B. DuBois taught the first course in African-American history and culture ever taught at a university. Around the same time, Margaret Mead taught courses in anthropology and Karen Horney and Erich Fromm introduced their new approaches to psychoanalysis. The New School’s groundbreaking courses attracted students from around the world, including young Shimon Peres. In 1962, Gerda Lerner offered the first university-level course in women’s history.

The New School also became known internationally for courses in the creative arts taught by some of the 20th century’s most innovative artists. Among them were Martha Graham, Frank Lloyd Wright, Aaron Copland, and W.H. Auden. The New School was the first American university to teach the history of film and one of the first to offer college-level courses in photography and jazz.

The New School has evolved continuously through the years in response to changes in the marketplace of ideas, career opportunities, and human curiosity. Formed in 1919 to challenge the intellectual and artistic status quo, this institution continues to redefine higher education almost a century later.


Parsons School of Design is the only major design school embedded within a comprehensive university, The New School. At Parsons, artists, designers, and scholars learn to devise design-led approaches to complex contemporary problems – from sustainability to social and economic inequalities to globalization in creative industries. The New School’s enlightened approach to design education results in a passionate commitment to improving all aspects of society through inquiry, radical ideas, iterative experimentation, and creative collaboration within Parsons and throughout the university. Students pursue degrees at Parsons’ home campus in New York City and at Parsons Paris. They also gain international experience taking courses online, with partner universities worldwide, or at one of The New School’s global academic centers in Paris, and Mumbai.

Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts is where scholarly rigor meets intellectual freedom. This small, progressive liberal arts college is designed for fiercely independent scholars. Students map out their own curriculum. They immerse themselves in primary texts rather than large lectures, work closely with involved faculty, and are part of a community committed to social justice. Lang students ask the big questions, challenge assumptions, and increase their potential by studying disciplines across the entire university.

The New School for Social Research (NSSR) is an internationally renowned graduate school where scholars, practitioners, and innovators guide students to understand the world around them in intellectually intense, heterodox ways. Rigorous programs break with traditional modes of thinking. Students build new knowledge through research, become critical and creative scholars, and learn to grapple with the tensions of contemporary society.

These schools and programs are designed for the intellectually curious and creative, at all stages of life and career, who are passionate about social justice around the world. We inspire students to challenge what others take for granted. Innovative graduate and undergraduate programs in media, creative writing, languages/TESOL, international affairs, policy, and management integrate real-world practice with cutting-edge theory.

College of Performing Arts is a progressive artistic center housed within The New School, in one of the world’s greatest performing arts cities, NYC. We nurture each individual artist in order to cultivate fearless risk takers who value real-world relevance, pursue excellence, and embrace collaboration. Celebrated faculty mentors guide students to take their place as artistic leaders who can make a positive difference in the world today. Musicians, composers, actors, directors, writers, and performers of all kinds pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees at three renowned schools: Mannes School of Music, the School of Jazz, and the School of Drama. Unlike small stand-alone conservatories, The New School offers performing arts students the valuable opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary studies throughout a comprehensive university.