Students walking up stairs in the NYU Stern building.

NYU is a liberal arts institution. With 10 undergraduate colleges, there are so many academic opportunities to explore. And NYU encourages all students to do so!

At NYU, there are five core pillars:

  • Expository Writing
  • First-Year Seminars
  • Foreign Language Study
  • Foundations of Contemporary Culture
  • Foundations of Scientific Inquiry

Depending on your school and major, however, you may not have these specific requirements. For example, as a student at the Tandon School of Engineering, I am not required to take a language course. But this does not mean you are not able to if you want to! Let’s uncover the different ways to explore academics at NYU.


Electives are one of the more straightforward ways to explore outside of your major at NYU. No matter your school or program, you will have a set amount of elective credits you are required to take. The awesome thing about this is that you are able to exit your program or school to do so! I mentioned earlier that I am a Tandon student, where there is no language requirement. But I wanted to learn Mandarin so I discussed this with my adviser. Through the use of my free electives, I took four semesters of Chinese courses at the College of Arts and Science.

I also encourage you to find courses that may not be in your home school but complement your major well. As an Integrated Design and Media major, I decided to take courses in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. There, I learned more about media theory, which I can apply to the more technical aspects of media and design at Tandon.


At NYU, you can also pursue a cross-school minor! There are many different options to choose from across our different schools. Some students even decide to pursue multiple! I am currently pursuing a cross-school minor in Producing through the Tisch School of the Arts. This has been a fantastic experience for me because I want to apply my media knowledge to working in the television industry. At Tisch some of my favorite classes I’ve taken include TV Programming and Concepts and TV Nation: Inside and Out of the Box.


The exterior of the Tisch School of the Arts.
Photo courtesy of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Secondary Majors

NYU also allows students to pick up a secondary major. The biggest rule regarding this is that the second major must be in the College of Arts and Science (CAS). For example, you cannot double-major at our Stern School of Business and our Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. You can, however, double-major at Stern and CAS or Steinhardt and CAS.

Students outside an NYU academic building.
Pro tip: Students can meet with a cross-school adviser at NYU’s Academic Resource Center to learn more information about the requirements of their minor program!

Whether you want to double-major, pick up a minor, or take electives across all schools, NYU not only allows you but encourages you to push yourself to learn more than what your degree requires. It’s a great way to learn more about yourself and to complement your degree!

Katrina Morgan is a senior majoring in Integrated Design and Media with a minor in Producing. Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Katrina is passionate about all things pop culture so she loves the exciting entertainment atmosphere New York City has to offer. In addition, she loves traveling and language learning. On campus, Katrina works as an Admissions Ambassador for NYU Undergraduate Admissions. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.