Masters Program

Masters Program


The Graduate Center’s Master’s program in Liberal Studies allows students to specialize in the history of New York City, making it the only such program available. Two introductory core courses prepare students in this interdisciplinary specialization to take doctoral-level courses with Graduate Center faculty, which includes many eminent scholars, artists, and critics focused on the City. Students are therefore exposed to consideration of New York’s past, its populations, and its productions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

MALS 70100 Narratives of NYC: Literature and the Visual Arts, 3 credits

This course will explore critically significant representations of New York — its people, places, history, and complex identity formations — as the city is revealed, or rather manufactured, in varieties of narrative forms. Particular attention will be given to evaluating the manner in which literature interrelates with film and other visual media and how each venue reflects cultural and historical ideologies. For example, what makes a text a “New York” narrative? Do literary and visual narratives mirror the city’s psyche, or serve to analyze it in penetrating ways? Course activities may include visits to the Gotham Center, the Museum of New York, and other cultural venues.

MALS 70200 Metropolis: A Political, Historical, and Sociological Profile of NYC, 3 credits

This interdisciplinary course will explore New York City’s rise and role as the nation’s metropolis, examining several key themes in the city’s development. In particular, we will look at Gotham as a center of work, culture and residency as well as at the diverse populations that have called the city home through its four-decade history. We will examine New York City from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science.

Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and the Humanities at The Graduate Center. For related coursework in New York Studies, students may look to offerings in the doctoral programs in AnthropologyHistoryPolitical ScienceSociology, and Urban Education.

About the Degree

MALS students take four classes within the program — “Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies,” two core courses in their chosen concentration, and the thesis/capstone project — and choose their remaining electives from among courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.

This master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:

  • A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies] (3 credits).

  • Two required core courses to introduce students to New York Studies [MALS 70100 and MALS 70200] (6 credits).

  • 18 credits from courses of the student's choice that are relevant to the student’s concentration or studies

  • A master's thesis/capstone project [MALS 79000] (3 credits).

For more information, contact ELIZABETH MACAULAY-LEWIS, Acting Executive Officer of the Liberal Studies MA.