Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Programs

Doctoral Programs

Interdisciplinary curricula and concentrations or specializations are open to students enrolled in one of the existing doctoral programs offered at the Graduate Center. In addition to fulfilling the requirements of their doctoral program, students can choose to complete a specialization within one of these areas.

The Graduate Center offers a number of Interdisciplinary Concentrations. Some of these concentrations offer core courses, while others guide students in finding courses across different academic disciplines that fulfill the concentration requirements. When students finish the requirements for a concentration they are awarded a physical certificate but the interdisciplinary concentrations are not noted on their transcripts.  

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary concentration in Advanced Social Research. Students enrolled in doctoral programs in the social sciences, psychology, and philosophy may select, in consultation with the coordinator, any of the wide range of high-quality methodology courses available at the Graduate Center and elsewhere. The concentration thus expands the range of courses and training in advanced social research beyond the offerings of any single program. A yearly faculty-student proseminar in advanced social research provides a forum for both faculty and students to keep up with and learn about this fast-moving field. Topics include advanced statistics and data analysis, design, sampling, and epistemology. Concentration in such fields as experimental design, survey design and analysis, evaluation, and meta-analysis is an option.

Students are encouraged to participate in one of the ongoing research groups at the Graduate Center. Some research assistantships are available for qualified students. Internships in various research organizations in New York City also are possible. To participate in the Advanced Social Research Concentration, students are required to be matriculated in one of the Graduate Center’s doctoral programs.

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary concentration in Cognitive Science. Students enrolled in various graduate programs, particularly those in computer science, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, educational psychology, and speech and hearing sciences, may wish to select courses in this concentration.

The concentration provides students in these and related disciplines the opportunity to pursue study and research in the now burgeoning field of cognitive science. Topics central to the concentration will include human intelligence; visual perception; speech perception; mental representation; language acquisition, comprehension, and production; problem solving and reasoning; artificial intelligence; pattern recognition; animal cognition; and the nature of mind and consciousness.

Graduate students pursuing study in this concentration will draw up a program plan in consultation with faculty representatives from the several programs participating in the concentration. In addition to interdisciplinary courses specially designed for the concentration, students will have available many courses in each of the participating programs that will contribute to their training in cognitive science.

Students wishing to pursue interdisciplinary work in cognitive science should enroll in one of the existing Ph.D. programs and will be expected to meet the requirements of that program.

The interdisciplinary concentration in European Union Studies is designed to familiarize students pursuing doctorates in European history, European languages, political science, economics, business, and sociology with theories pertaining to current developments unfolding in Continental Europe and their likely impact on the rest of the world. The concentration encourages students to focus their disciplinary interests on a living experiment, unique in its conception and execution, and provides them with an opportunity to observe, assess, and evaluate one of the most extraordinary political events of the day.

The continuing process of European integration is exceptional in its voluntary reduction of national sovereignty among democracies, with the center of decision-making in a number of areas moving from the national to the supranational level. Additionally, widening and deepening of European integration is scheduled to progress to a European economic and monetary union throughout the next decade and to propel cohesion in common foreign and security policies. Further enlargement of the European Union (EU) remains a challenge, particularly in the area of cooperative legal matters, a task of monumental proportions.

Students who wish to pursue the concentration must be enrolled in a doctoral program at the Graduate Center and are expected to meet its requirements. The core courses in Political Science are P SC 86301 The Political Economy of the European Union: Past, Present, Future and P SC 86305 Interests, Institutions, and Public Policy in the European Union. Other courses can be selected from various courses offered in the history, political science, economics, and sociology programs or other relevant programs. Proficiency in one or more European languages other than English is strongly encouraged. Elective courses for the concentration afford students an opportunity to explore the European Union from different disciplinary perspectives.

From classical antiquity onward, the study of fashion has been consistently a subject of social commentary and has played a crucial role in the formation of personal, national, and transnational identities. Today it is emerging as a fertile field of research that reaches beyond national and cultural boundaries. Available to doctoral candidates in all disciplines, the Concentration in Fashion Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York is the culmination of many years of work in the field—lectures, experimental courses, and international conferences—and the Graduate Center offers a rich array of interdisciplinary courses that provide a broad understanding of the fashion system, both as an economic force and an industry, in relation to social and cultural history, the arts, theories of the body and gender, consumption, new technologies, and media and popular culture.

Goals of the Concentration

  • To produce scholars who are fully cognizant of the diverse and rich field of fashion studies and who are prepared to contribute via research and theory to developing this field.

  • To provide doctoral students with an understanding of the analytical and research tools needed to navigate and articulate the study of fashion in all its multifaceted manifestations.

  • To provide a focus on New York and the impact fashion has had in shaping the city’s identity and in making it one of the most prominent global capitals of fashion, while also demonstrating how the rapid pace of cultural diffusion now is expanding the field beyond national and cultural boundaries.


  • Matriculation as a doctoral student at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York

  • Two Interdisciplinary Studies Core Courses: Fashion Studies I:  Fashion, Power and Space; Fashion Studies II: The Fabric of Cultures. Fashion, Identity, Globalization

  • Two electives chosen from the broad spectrum of courses provided by the concentration's course listing, one in the arts or humanities and the other in the social sciences.

Food is central to our existence, but the social and cultural study of food is a relative newcomer to the academy. It is only recently that the connections between food and public health have been in the national spotlight and the study of the food system, historically the domain of agriculture and nutrition programs, has become a pressing interdisciplinary endeavor incorporating health, environmental, political, social, cultural, and historical approaches. This concentration provides an intellectual home for the interdisciplinary study of food at the Graduate Center by exposing enrolled doctoral students to foundational work in the field and then encouraging them to pursue their interests in food studies within their own departments.

To complete the concentration, students must take four courses: Food, Culture, and Society, an interdisciplinary course which functions as a proseminar and introduction to the field; two courses from any department or discipline which have food as their primary theme; and the Food Studies writing capstone, in which students will work on a dissertation chapter and/or article for publication that has any area or issue in food studies as its theme. For advanced students, the requirement of this last course will be waived and another substantive course substituted.

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary concentration in Language and Literacy. The concentration draws upon the faculty and resources from Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Linguistics, and Speech and Hearing Sciences. Students enrolled in these or other doctoral programs may elect to take courses in this area. The Language and Literacy concentration is intended to provide students with greater depth in the study of language processing, communication, and development that involves both spoken language and written language in social and cultural contexts. This domain includes the course of language development through the life span, including speaking, reading, comprehending print and speech, writing, and spelling. Courses focus on how beginners of all ages acquire reading, writing, and spelling skills and on the impact of instruction on learning. Also considered are normal as well as atypical language acquisition, including disabilities such as dyslexia and alexia, and the relationship between brain structures and language as well as the breakdown of spoken and written language skills in brain-damaged adults. Courses explore the role of native language literacy in acquiring reading and writing skills in a second or subsequent language and focus on theory and research on the nature and role of diverse social situations and cultural knowledge on the development of literacy and language. Use of written and spoken language in various settings is considered (e.g., parents and homes during the preschool years; teachers and classrooms during the school years; work settings during the adult years). Connections between literacy and mathematical skills are of interest. Various types of instructional interventions, media, and their effects are studied, and the role of language and literacy as instruments of access and power is also considered. Courses related to dialects, bilingualism, and second language acquisition focus on linguistic structures underlying spoken and written language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and orthography. Training in the conduct of research includes a variety of methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative.

Students who pursue this concentration will benefit in several ways. By extending their graduate work to include courses in four different Ph.D. programs, students will acquire a greater diversity of perspectives and hence an edge in tackling issues involving language and literacy. Students will be better prepared to conduct research that addresses the social needs of New York City where literacy learning is a major problem at all educational levels and in many programs, including the elementary grades, programs for reading-disabled students, adult education programs for students with limited literacy skills, and programs to teach English to foreign students. Having a background in language and literacy that supplements students’ preparation in any of the four Ph.D. programs contributing to this concentration should also enhance their employability.

Graduate students who wish to pursue the Language and Literacy concentration will design a program in consultation with a faculty member participating in this concentration from the student’s home doctoral program. In planning dissertations focused on language and literacy, students are encouraged to tap the resources of various programs.

Latin American and Caribbean Studies is a growing U.S. field that offers students the opportunity to explore, from different academic perspectives, the societies and cultures in a vast and richly varied area of strategic importance for world affairs. Faculty and students from the doctoral programs in Anthropology, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages, History, Political Science, and Sociology join with the work of the Certificate Program in Film Studies and the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies to study the historical, literary, political, economic, social, and cultural legacies of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In facing the challenge of coordinating interdisciplinary academic endeavors to make the best use of institutional resources and give a solid foundation in the methods and scope of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the Graduate Center coordinates a series of activities, lectures, and interdisciplinary seminars to enhance the exchange of ideas and experiences, as well as to help students obtain skills in research, teaching, preparing grant applications, and job seeking. It helps students use additional New York area resources, such as the Americas Society, the Colonial Latin American Review, the Inter-American Cultural Studies Network, the Hispanic Society, the Instituto Cervantes, and the Spanish Institute.

Students who wish to pursue interdisciplinary courses in Latin American and Caribbean Studies should enroll in one of the Graduate Center’s doctoral programs and fulfill that program’s requirements while creating an interdisciplinary specialization.

For further information, interested students should contact

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary concentration in Lesbian/Gay/Queer Studies, a rapidly growing, multi-disciplinary enterprise whose goal is the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered peoples and their histories and cultures, as well as the study of sexuality and its role in the deployment of cultural and social power. Lesbian and Gay Studies is a system of inquiry that examines the roles of same-sex desire across and among cultures and histories. Queer Studies views sexuality not as a stable category of identification or as merely a series of physical acts, but sees desire itself as a cultural construction that is central to the institutionalization and normalization of certain practices and discourses that organize social relations and hierarchies. Together, the two constitute a field whose best work often weaves together both types of analysis.

The concentration offers a core course, Introduction to Lesbian/Gay/Queer Studies.  As an interdisciplinary concentration, Lesbian/Gay/Queer Studies insists on a pluralistic, multicultural, and comparative approach in its negotiation within national, racial, ethnic, religious, economic, gender, and age-defined communities. More than a response to this demographic imperative, this field actively seeks to collapse fields of inquiry, to reveal contradictions and confrontations within and among disciplines, and to suggest a new model for academic study within the university. Its development has paralleled the fields of women’s studies and race studies, emerging as a separate area of inquiry in the 1980s, although much work was being done by individual scholars prior to that time. The various names of already institutionalized programs in the field—“Sexuality Studies,” “Queer Studies,” and “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Studies”—reflect the plurality of the field’s methodological approaches.

The field traverses the arts, humanities, and the social sciences—including literary theory, film theory, cultural and social history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, theatre, economics—as well as the natural sciences—biology, epidemiology, immunology, genetics. Its antecedents can be traced back to the emergence of “sexology” as a legitimate field of academic investigation and scholarship in the nineteenth century. Sexology coincided with the institution of many now-traditional scientific and humanistic disciplines within the academy. The rationalization of knowledge into discrete disciplines corresponded with the construction of “the homosexual” within these newly emerging discourses as a crime, an illness, a person, and a problem to be solved. In Lesbian/Gay/Queer Studies, heterosexuality and homosexuality are viewed as identities and social statuses, as categories of knowledge, and as languages that frame what we understand as bodies; as such, the domain of inquiry transcends traditional disciplinary constructs and demands new forms of scholastic endeavors.

Students are required to matriculate in one of the Graduate Center’s established doctoral programs.

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary concentration in the Psychology of Political Behavior. The concentration draws on doctoral programs in Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Psychology (subprograms in Clinical, Industrial and Organizational, and Social-Personality Psychology), and Sociology.

The concentration is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the role that psychological factors and processes play in the shaping of political life and behavior. Reflecting the diversity of its faculty, the concentration has no single theoretical or methodological orientation. Participating faculty are trained in anthropology, clinical psychology, history, political science, psychiatry, social psychology, and sociology. Most faculty have training in more than one field. Methodologically, the faculty is also diverse, using research tools that include intensive interviews, survey research, small-group experimentation, field observation, and systematic use of primary-source materials.

Students who wish to pursue graduate work in this area must enroll in one of the Graduate Center’s doctoral programs and are expected to meet the requirements of that program. Within that framework, the concentration has a two-stage sequence of course work.

The core course for the concentration is P SC 75000 Psychodynamics and Politics, offered by the M.A./Ph.D. Program in Political Science and the IDS program. Thereafter, students may take a variety of courses offered by participating faculty within their respective disciplines. The course offerings fall within five broad areas in the psychology of political behavior: (1) political behavior (including political leadership, social movements/mass behavior, and political decision making), (2) psycho-historical studies of political figures and movements, (3) social and psychological theory (Freud, Erikson, Adorno), (4) social psychology and politics (intergroup relations, conflict analysis, and attitude/belief systems), and (5) political psychology and policy analysis. This last area is designed to allow students to apply the theories and models of political psychology to real-world social and political issues (e.g., conflict resolution, improving decision making, nuclear issues).

The concentration supports a number of activities including conferences and a political psychology colloquium, in addition to research work with individual faculty members. Through its association with the Center for Violence and Human Survival, it offers a variety of lectures, symposia, and research opportunities concerning political psychology and policy issues related to social and political violence.

The political psychology community in the New York City area is a rich and diverse resource for the concentration. Through its consortium arrangement, students at the Graduate Center may take related courses at other universities within the New York City area. The concentration also maintains close relationships with a number of analytic institutes and clinical psychology programs, which sponsor various events of interest to students in the concentration. Fellowships and research assistantships are available through the respective doctoral programs that contribute to the concentration.

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary concentration in Public Policy and Urban Studies. Students enrolled in any one of seven doctoral programs—Anthropology, Economics, Environmental Psychology, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology—may select interdisciplinary work in public policy or urban studies as an area of concentration. The work in public policy involves students in the analysis of basic questions and approaches concerning the direction and governance of contemporary metropolitan areas. It prepares students to work in public agencies and private organizations focusing on policy development and innovation; to work in city, state, and federal agencies; to work with neighborhoods, cities, and regions; to staff administrative and legislative bodies; and to work as journalists, writers, and research scholars.

Each graduate student interested in pursuing this field should draw up a program plan with his/her adviser. The plan must be approved by the Executive Officer of the programs participating in the student’s comprehensive exams.

Courses on the policy process, policy analysis, public administration, comparative public policy, and national political institutions are provided in political science to students from the seven programs. Course offerings in environmental psychology, urban anthropology, urban history, urban economics, and urban sociology may also be included in a student’s curriculum under this program. Opportunities for applied study of demographic change, economic development, health services, housing, education, environmental planning, and criminal justice in New York City are available under supervision of faculty in the seven programs.

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary concentration in Twentieth-Century Studies, with an emphasis on the humanities. Participating students take two core courses designed for the concentration and select additional courses in twentieth-century areas from the doctoral programs at the Graduate Center. A dissertation workshop for students in the concentration is also offered on a regular basis.

The concentration’s core courses introduce students to theoretical concepts common to work in twentieth-century study across a range of humanistic disciplines; they examine the way these terms provide a language for understanding the twentieth century as a historical period and a field of inquiry; and they explore in-depth interdisciplinary approaches to a variety of twentieth-century topics. The courses selected for the concentration emphasize the application of theory and contemporary critical thinking to twentieth-century subject matter. The goal of the concentration is to create a space and intellectual community for students and faculty from different disciplines who wish to investigate the multiple domains and narratives of modern studies. Students interested in pursuing studies in the interdisciplinary concentration in Twentieth-Century Studies must be enrolled in one of the participating doctoral programs.

The Graduate Center offers an interdisciplinary graduate concentration in Urban Health and Society studies. The concentration draws on doctoral programs in anthropology, economics, educational psychology, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. The courses offered in this concentration are designed to provide historical, theoretical, and critical perspectives on urban health and society. The concentration’s multi- and interdisciplinary approach will enable students to bring a new outlook to their own research, apply their disciplines’ training to the resolution of health problems, and understand more fully the implications of the work done in their disciplines on health policy and related social issues.

Students in this concentration will be encouraged to link academic concerns and research to “real-world” issues. The emphasis will be on relating theory and research findings to applied health policy issues. The use of the term health and society, rather than illness and society, reflects the basic orientation of the program. Program participants are concerned with all of the following issues: shifting the focus from cure alone to education and prevention, the multicultural beliefs and practices that foster well-being, the role of community members as consumers of health care and active participants in health decision-making, the financing of health care and its just distribution, and a multi-etiological mode of disease processes that includes psychosocial, bio-behavioral, cultural, economic, political, and historical factors. Students who wish to pursue the interdisciplinary concentration in Urban Health and Society should be enrolled in one of the relevant doctoral programs and will be expected to meet the requirements of that program. Students can create a specialization in urban health and society under the guidance of the Interdisciplinary Studies Advisory Committee and specialists within their own doctoral program.

Undergraduate Programs

CUNY BA is the University-wide, individualized degree. It’s an exciting, versatile, rewarding degree route for highly-motivated, self-directed students whose academic goals transcend traditional majors. Students create their own degree plans working directly with faculty mentors and academic advisors. The program is housed, operated, and accredited under the auspices of the CUNY Graduate Center, which authorizes the degree on behalf of the University.


The Pipeline Program is a CUNY-wide initiative designed to provide educational and financial support to CUNY undergraduates from groups currently underrepresented in our nation's universities who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in preparation for college-level teaching and advanced research.

Visit the Pipeline Program