When you choose to engage in doctoral work, you join a community dedicated to discovery and learning.
As a doctoral student, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in an area of scholarship; you will embark on a career of original research that will make you an expert in your chosen field. Your study and hard work will reward you as you prove mastery over your subject matter and demonstrate superior skills in research, analysis, and problem-solving, skills that are transferable to many professions. Your dedication will prepare you to become a leader, whether in academia or in a wide range of private- and public-sector professions off campus.
Earning a Ph.D. takes commitment and patience. It also holds out untold possibilities for personal and professional growth. The CUNY Graduate Center seeks to encourage all those possessed of able and resolute natures to make the choice to become experts. Recruiting and retaining students of the highest caliber is our first priority. Through close mentoring, careful instruction, research programs, opportunities for teaching, and financial assistance in various forms, we help our students stay on the road to the doctorate.
Graduate study is not for everyone. It is for those who can take the long view, and who can commit themselves to the patient acquisition and steady expansion of knowledge. But, as a recent CUNY Ph.D. said, "It's exciting to work at the frontier, with others who have made the same commitment to discovery." As they prepare themselves to lead, our doctoral students share in that pioneering excitement, drawing on a CUNY tradition of excellence and diversity, a distinguished and dedicated faculty, and the vitality lent a center of advanced study by its connection to the nation's greatest city.
“Open the doors to all—let the children of the rich and poor take seats together and know no distinction save that of industry, good conduct, and intellect.” These were the words of Townsend Harris, founder of the Free Academy, renamed the City College of New York, an institution of higher education established by referendum of the people of New York City in 1847. Over the next century the municipal college system expanded concomitant with the increasing demand for higher education, and in 1961 the New York State Legislature established the City University of New York (CUNY) to join together the existing independent municipal colleges.
The university has built on a long-established tradition of educational excellence to become today a multi-campus, coeducational institution of higher learning offering undergraduate and graduate education on all levels up through the doctorate. It is the largest publicly supported urban university in the United States, comprising eleven senior colleges, six community colleges, a graduate school, law school, school of journalism, school of professional studies, school of biomedical education, school of public health, school of social work, and an honors college.
Historically, the CUNY colleges have provided educational opportunities for a remarkably diverse body of qualified students. Many are immigrants or first-generation Americans, and many are among the first in their families to pursue higher education.
Founded in 1961, the Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the Graduate Center offers over thirty doctoral programs in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, as well as a number of health sciences doctorates and master's programs.
Many of its faculty members are among the world's leading scholars in their respective fields. The school enrolls approximately 4,500 students from throughout the United States, as well as from about eighty foreign countries, and has an alumni base of 10,000. The Graduate Center also houses more than thirty interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Its nationally unique consortium of 1,700 faculty members consists of a core faculty of 130 Graduate Center appointments supplemented by 1,600 additional faculty members drawn from throughout CUNY's eleven senior colleges and New York City's leading cultural and scientific institutions.
All doctoral programs are administered from the Graduate Center. However, due to the consortial nature of doctoral study at the Graduate Center, courses take place at the Graduate Center as well as at CUNY colleges. For the most part, courses in the social sciences, humanities, and mathematics convene at the Graduate Center, as do several courses in the sciences that require no laboratory work and courses for the clinical doctorates in public health and nursing science. Science courses requiring laboratory work convene on CUNY college campuses as do select courses for the doctorate in audiology and all courses for the doctorate in physical therapy. Courses for the M.A. in journalism take place at 219 West 40th Street in Manhattan.
Also affiliated with the Graduate Center are four University Center programs: the CUNY Baccalaureate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies through which undergraduates can earn bachelor's degrees by taking courses at any of the CUNY colleges; the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the associated Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies; the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which offers a master's degree in journalism; and Macaulay Honors College.
Many of the 10,000 students who have earned doctorates from the Graduate Center since 1965 are now among the leaders in our nation's teaching and research efforts, whether at universities, in the nonprofit sector, in business, or in government. By preparing a group of highly qualified professionals from diverse backgrounds to assume leadership roles in a variety of fields, the Graduate Center is filling an urgent need in the city, the state, and the nation.
Through its extensive array of public programs, the Graduate Center has become a vibrant hub of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life. These offerings are wide-ranging and include lectures, conferences, book talks, art exhibitions, concerts, dance, and theatrical events.
Our faculty, students, and alumni are regular recipients of important honors and awards. Some recent examples include the MacArthur "Genius" Award, the National Humanities Medal, the President’s National Medal of Science (the nation’s highest scientific honor), the Wolf Prize in Mathematics, the Grawemeyer Award, the Baccalaureate College Professor of the Year Award, two George Jean Nathan Awards for Dramatic Criticism, three Pulitzer Prizes, two Bancroft Prizes, the Lincoln Prize, an Academy Award, and six Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Science and Technology. They have also won Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, ASCAP Awards, and Grammy Awards. Moreover, faculty members have achieved high honors with membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, our faculty actively pursue their research interests, and, over the past five years, they have won hundreds of research grants and fellowships from, among others, the Fulbright Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.
New York City's Graduate Center
When you choose to engage in study at the Graduate Center, you necessarily choose New York City. Whether or not your field of study leads you directly to urban research (many of our scholars do take this path), your graduate school experience will be shaped by the metropolis—its challenges, its complexities, and its opportunities. Our metropolitan setting often leads to socially committed scholarship; the public-minded scholar has a long history at the Graduate Center.
Among the riches that New York offers are countless learned societies, professional journals and organizations, research libraries, and other specialized resources of great interest to the advanced scholar. The city is also the capital of communications, finance, biomedical research, and other sectors that can provide CUNY's experts-in-training with additional internship and research opportunities as well as employment possibilities in a real-world context.
Your hard work may lead you to the forefront of metropolitan life in such activities as interning at the United Nations, combing the archives at the Manhattan Theatre Club, curating at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or consulting with the Department of Transportation. And in your studies, you will profit from the many opportunities and challenges offered in all five boroughs of this great city.
As you study and research, you will have within easy reach for rest and relaxation New York's public parks, its sports events and vast choice of restaurants, and its rich selection of cultural events: concerts, theatre, museum exhibitions, art gallery exhibitions, and movies.
365 Fifth Avenue
Our campus is a nine-story landmark diagonally opposite the Empire State Building. Formerly the B. Altman department store, the interior has been reconstructed to meet the overall needs of the Graduate Center and the particular needs of each doctoral program, research center, and administrative office. The campus features enhanced library facilities, seminar rooms, an expanded dining commons, and state-of-the-art computing facilities which give every student access to the web. There is also a cultural and conference complex that includes an auditorium, recital hall, art gallery, and black box theatre. These facilities are available for exhibitions, lecture series, concerts, poetry readings, and other educational activities and events, many of which are open to the general public.
The Graduate Center enjoys the many advantages of a Midtown location. Among these are centrality, train, bus, and subway accessibility, and proximity to the collections of the New York Public Library, including those of the Science, Industry, and Business Library, which is also located in the former B. Altman building. Other neighbors include the residents and cultural organizations of Murray Hill, a quiet historic district stretching to the northeast, and the Morgan Library and Museum.
Dining at 365 Fifth Avenue
A skylit dining facility affords commanding views of the Empire State Building and provides a gathering place for faculty, students, staff, and guests. A café, 365 Express, located in the lobby of the Graduate Center, provides convenient service and a social hub.
Spaces for Students at 365 Fifth Avenue
The campus provides office space for the Doctoral Students’ Council, clubs, and other student organizations. Two attractive lounges serve all students, one intended for quiet study, the other for socializing. In addition, there are lounges and study areas for each academic program.
The Mina Rees Library will serve as the premier information resource of The CUNY Graduate Center, in an environment of free and open inquiry and with a commitment to excellence, by providing library users with an ongoing, creative, technologically advanced library program that supports and enhances education, scholarship and service of the highest caliber.
The Mina Rees Library is an integral and vital part of The Graduate Center. It supports the academic programs offered at The Graduate Center by providing resources needed for dissertation research, course work and preparation for qualifying exams.
While the Library is neither designed nor maintained as a research library, the library aims to facilitate access to its print and electronic collections and to those of seventeen other CUNY Libraries, the Research Libraries of the New York Public Library, and other scholarly collections. This access is provided through a variety of services delivered on site, through the library’s web site and in arrangement with other research institutions.
Information Technology (IT) is the division of the Graduate Center (GC) responsible for voice, video, and data systems and services. The mission of this unit is to promote, facilitate, and support the effective use of technology in the learning process, in instruction and research, and in processing and accessing institutional information.
IT services and resources provided to students include network accounts and email accounts, remote access to GC computing resources, web file services, Help Desk support and assistance, the GC Blackboard environment for online learning (accessible via the CUNY portal), and the GC Banner student web. IT provides and maintains a sizable collection of Windows, Mac, and Linux computing platforms, as well as network printers and desktop scanners, in the library, in the Ph.D. program suites, and in a variety of other student spaces. IT also provides PC- and Mac-equipped classrooms, a specialized Mac Lab, and technology-equipped classrooms and conference spaces. Wireless access is available throughout the building, including the library, dining commons, Ph.D. suites, conference spaces, and many other locales. Network connections for student laptops are available in the library.
The GC desktop computers are configured with an extensive software suite to support a breadth of student activities; many of these software titles are also available to students remotely from both PC and Mac platforms. GC network accounts also provide access to a host of online library databases. A broad collection of workshops and training activities devoted to various technology topics are conducted on an ongoing basis for students. The GC IT website houses a great deal of information, including a comprehensive knowledge base for users of GC systems.
Telephony services for students include toll-free dialing into the GC, access to outgoing fax machines, and a shared network space for receiving incoming faxes. Audio-visual services include classroom, meeting, and auditoria spaces equipped with data projectors and LCD panels, sound systems, and related technologies, as well as a dedicated videoconferencing facility. Audio-visual equipment available for student checkout from the Help Desk includes digital still cameras, digital video cameras, and audio recorders; students can also check out Mac laptops from the Help Desk.
IT maintains parallel computing clusters to support computationally intensive research and for instructional use; access to the New York State Grid and the Open Science Grid is also available to provide researchers access to an additional advanced technological infrastructure for high-performance computing.
Other activities include support for the student affairs office, which accommodates students with disabilities through a variety of adaptive technology and related services. Students interested in such services are encouraged to contact Student Affairs.
We urge all students to take fullest advantage of technology resources in pursuit of their graduate studies and activities; we are pleased to serve your needs! Student input regarding IT resources and services is sought via a variety of avenues, including the Doctoral Students’ Council and the Student Technology Fee Committee; many of the resources noted above are supported by the Student Technology Fee. Students are reminded that all GC information technology resources, including equipment and computer accounts, may only be used by GC students, staff, or faculty for purposes pertaining to research, instruction, or administration, and that all users are subject to the CUNY Policy on Acceptable Use of Computer Resources.
Your Fellow Doctoral Students at the Graduate Center
Should you decide to take the road of doctoral study at the Graduate Center, you will join some 4,500 others, all of them competitively selected from a large pool of qualified applicants. This student body, in the heart of New York City, has a remarkable range of backgrounds and interests. Evenly divided between men and women, it is one of the most diverse student bodies found in any American graduate institution, whether classified by age, ethnic background, or socioeconomic profile. Some arrive after years of professional experience, others are freshly minted graduates of public and private colleges throughout the United States and about eighty foreign countries.
Student diversity is encouraged to open up the top levels of academia to students from ethnically varied backgrounds. In particular, Educational Opportunity and Diversity Programs (OEODP) offers social, academic, and financial support to historically underrepresented students. The office recruits locally, regionally, and nationally, consults with the Executive Officer and admissions committee of each doctoral program, and confers with the Financial Aid Office in efforts designed to increase access to doctoral studies at CUNY for students from underserved populations. If you would like more information on the Graduate Center's diversity programs, contact OEODP at 1.212.817.7540 (voice); 1.212.817.1630 (fax); email: email@example.com; or visit our website.
The Graduate Center community is enriched by the presence of over 900 students from about eighty foreign countries. These students in turn benefit from study at a distinguished American university in the midst of one of the world’s most international cities. The International Students Office provides information and assistance to students from outside the United States. This office issues Certificates of Eligibility for student immigration status and advises students regarding immigration regulations for F and J immigration status. Admissions candidates must submit completed Eligibility Forms and financial support documentation (see the downloadable packet for international students on the website). Prospective international students may contact the Office of International Students for information or assistance: 1.212.817.7490 (voice); 1.212.817.1626 (fax); email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students with Disabilities
The Graduate Center serves the needs of a growing number of students with disabilities. Student disability services are provided through Student Affairs. It is the policy of the Graduate Center to provide auxiliary aids and services and to make appropriate academic accommodations needed by students with disabilities. Among the services available at the Graduate Center are adaptive equipment and computer software, readers, sign-language interpreters, note takers, scribes, and other auxiliary aids and services as needed. For information and advance planning, contact Student Affairs – 504/ADA Coordinator for persons with disabilities: 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7301, New York, NY 10016-4309; 1.212.817.7400 (voice); email: email@example.com. Inquiries from applicants and prospective applicants are encouraged and will be kept confidential upon request.
Beginning with the Fall 2011 semester, the Graduate Center will offer affordable housing to doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and members of the faculty. The eight-story complex, located at 165 East 118th Street, will provide easy access to bus and subway lines and a quick commute to the Graduate Center. For more information, visit the housing website.
Child Development and Learning Center
This facility provides high-quality and inexpensive care for children of students. The program is licensed by the New York City Department of Health and is staffed with certified early childhood educators. The daily hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday. The center observes the Graduate Center calendar, but a June program is also available. Enrollment is limited.
All students are strongly advised to have some form of health and accident coverage, as medical costs in the United States are high. International students still living overseas are urged to arrange for insurance in their home countries to provide coverage in the United States, at least until an alternative plan can be arranged. The University furnishes information to help students choose an insurance plan either to continue coverage or provide new coverage. Limited health services are available to all registered students through the Wellness Center, located at the Graduate Center. Doctoral students who are employed as Graduate Assistants and adjunct instructors are eligible for low-cost health insurance through the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) if they meet the eligibility criteria. Please check check for NYSHIP guidelines.
The Wellness Center provides Student Health and Student Counseling Services. Student Health Services is staffed by a nurse practitioner licensed to provide free diagnosis of simple conditions, episodic treatment, screenings, referrals, and general health and wellness programs. Students are seen by appointment. The Student Counseling Service, through its staff of licensed psychologists and psychological interns, provides free-of-charge counseling and short-term psychotherapy, crisis intervention, and referral service. The center also provides workshops and group activities and has a library containing recorded and printed information on health concerns.
(See also: Recent Doctoral Dissertations and Alumni Placement)
The Time Commitment
The amount of time required to complete the doctorate can vary widely—depending on your level of preparation at the time of enrollment, the nature of your dissertation project, work commitments, and other demands on your time. However, you must complete all requirements for the degree within eight years after matriculation.
The Three Stages of Doctoral Work
Like its students, each doctoral program is unique. Still, all CUNY doctoral programs divide the road to the Ph.D. into three stages: course work, qualifying exams, and candidacy.
Course work. Typically graduate study begins with two to three years of course work to meet the basic requirements of your chosen discipline. You will also fulfill proficiency requirements in essential research skills such as foreign languages, statistics, or computing. Generally, at least sixty credits of approved graduate work, including the course requirements in the field of specialization, are required for the doctorate.
Qualifying exams. At some point during course work—after the completion of forty-five credits in most programs—you must pass a first qualifying examination. The exam varies in form from program to program. You are also required to pass a second examination, usually upon completion of the course requirements.
Candidacy. Once you have successfully completed course work, examinations, and any special requirements, you are certified as a candidate for the doctorate. You then enter the last stage of doctoral study, the completion of a dissertation embodying original research and its defense in an oral final examination.
Whenever possible, candidates whose objective is college teaching will be given the opportunity to gain classroom experience. There are over 225,000 undergraduate students throughout the City University system, and often Graduate Center doctoral students find part-time positions teaching at one or more of the CUNY colleges. In addition, fellowships are available that provide opportunities to teach.
Other Training Opportunities
As a doctoral candidate you will have an opportunity to join professional organizations, submit papers for publication in professional journals, and attend professional conferences. Once you reach a certain level of doctoral study, you may also be invited to work with doctoral faculty on individual research projects or in one of the research centers and institutes at the Graduate Center.
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309