New York Studies

This specialization is a 30-credit program for students wishing to pursue an interest in the history of New York City and its cultures.  Two introductory 3-credit core courses, Narratives of NYC: Literature and the Visual Arts, and Metropolis: A Political, Historical, and Sociological Profile of NYC, prepare students in this interdisciplinary specialization to take doctoral-level courses with Graduate Center faculty, which includes many eminent scholars, artists, and critics whose work is focused on New York City. Depending on their interests and expertise, students will consider New York City’s past, its populations, and its productions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Students will benefit from the presence at The Graduate Center of the Gotham Center for New York History. The program benefits, as well, from proximity to the city’s cultural and historical attractions: among them, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museo del Barrio, and the Museum of Natural History.

Degree Requirements

MALS students take four classes within the program — Seminar in Interdisciplinary 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: Seminar in Interdisciplinary 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
  • master's thesis/capstone project [MALS 79000] (3 credits).

Core Courses

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-century history.  We will examine New York City from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science.

Elective Courses

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 Anthropology, HistoryPolitical ScienceSociology, and Urban Education.

Library Resources

Visit the GC Mina Rees Library's New York Studies Research Guide.
Students' contact for New York Studies research is reference librarian Alycia Sellie.

Associated faculty

Other faculty, who have taught core courses or electives for this concentration or supervised theses and capstones, include Tanya Agathocleous (English).

New York Studies Concentration Faculty

Elizabeth Macaulay

Elizabeth Macaulay

Associate Professor and Executive Officer

  • Liberal Studies

Associate Professor

  • Middle Eastern Studies

Associate Professor

  • Digital Humanities

Associate Professor

  • Classics