New School News

Learning in Double Time: Dual-Degree Students Look Beyond the Bachelor’s

According to NSPE's Michelle Materre, many undergraduates are driven to enroll in dual-degree programs by "The New School's atmosphere of open discussion."

When Tamika Durham started her undergraduate studies at The New School for Public Engagement, a bachelor’s degree was never the end goal.

One of the first things I checked on when I enrolled was how my undergraduate work could apply toward a graduate degree,, says Durham, who is earning an MA in the Media Studies program. I returned to school knowing I’d be going on to graduate school, and that the dual-degree program was the right way to do it.,

Durham’s not alone: the New School currently offers 14 dual-degree programs to students across the university. These students started their undergraduate education at Eugene Lang College or The New School for Public Engagement and, by applying to the bachelor’s/master’s programs, were able to make progress toward earning an advanced degree. Through this accelerated process, dual-degree students can earn degrees from New School for Social Research departments including Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, Historical Studies, and Liberal Studies and from New School for Public Engagement programs like International Affairs, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Urban Policy and Management, and Media Studies.

The ability to mix graduate-level courses with undergraduate work offers dual-degree students an accessible way to expose [themselves] to an even higher level of learning,, in Durham’s words. And rather than spending 18 months in graduate school, by merging graduate and undergraduate course credits, dual-degree students can earn their master’s in under a year.

But according to Michelle Materre, assistant professor of media studies, many students regard time saved as only an ancillary benefit. A lot of students have their notions of classroom learning expanded by The New School’s atmosphere of open discussion,, says Materre. During their first undergrad semesters, their intellectual curiosity increases and they don’t want it to end with the bachelor’s degree, and that’s what makes the dual-degree program such a great option.,

Durham is one of many students who second that notion. There are so many new opportunities and new ways of thinking that have opened up for me as a result of combining my studies,, she says. As an example, she points to a graduate-level course on sound she recent took. I never really thought of sound as anything special. Now I understand there are two ways to listen to sound: what you’re hearing right now and what it’s calling up inside you.,

Two ways is better than one: Any dual-degree student would agree.

The deadline for fall 2012 admittance is March 15. Check out the dual-degree homepage for more information at

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