Purple NYU banner hanging from Liberal Studies building in Greenwich Village.


Liberal Studies is one of the biggest academic programs available at NYU, with around three thousand students enrolled. This program gives students the unique opportunity to complete curriculum requirements while also deep diving into courses that emphasize global learning.

While I was applying to NYU, however, I didn’t know much about the program. So, let’s take a look!

The Basics

With the Liberal Studies Core, your classes will be mostly in Liberal Studies while also completing requirements for NYU degree programs. You’ll gain the necessary context for whatever path you want to choose.

In your first year you’ll take courses in the following areas:

  1. Writing Sequence
  2. Arts and Cultures Sequence
  3. Global Works and Society Sequence

Also, first-year students usually take a course in the Natural Sciences.

In your sophomore year, you’ll continue courses in Arts and Cultures and Global Works and Society. You’ll also start taking Electives and, perhaps, another course in Natural Sciences, depending on where you’ll decide to complete your undergraduate degree.

Once you’re finished with the Liberal Studies Core, you will transition to a bachelor’s degree program.

Not to worry! Your adviser helps you figure out where you might want to finish out your junior and senior year almost as soon as you start at NYU. And you can always continue on in Liberal Studies to earn a bachelor’s degree in Global Liberal Studies.

So—how do you make the most of your time as a Liberal Studies student?

Research Your Professors

Firstly, this program is very interdisciplinary! Topics range from political theory, philosophy, and psychology to art history and literature.

Look for professors who best match your learning style and interests. The professor’s teaching style can make a huge difference in your experience of the course and subject matter.

Establish Effective Study Habits

Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult for any student. However, the Liberal Studies particularly emphasizes reading and writing. A lot of your classes will focus on extracting meaning from legendary works by authors such as Galileo, Machiavelli, and more.

When you figure out the best study habits for you, you’ll optimize your learning for a more enriched college experience.

Make Connections in Your Classes

It’s always beneficial to reach out to your classmates. Don’t be afraid to start a group chat or ask questions.

Once I got over my fear of rejection or being perceived negatively, my experience in class drastically improved. I looked forward to my classes, my grades were better, and I made several friends that I still speak with today.

Choosing a course of study can be difficult, but with the proper tools and tactics, adapting will be a breeze!

From the Philadelphia suburbs, Cecily Johnson is a junior studying Film and Television Production, Producing, and French. While on campus she is an Admissions Ambassador, the Treasurer for Tisch-affiliated club The Collective, and a Resident Assistant in a first-year residence hall. Though Cecily loves living a busy lifestyle, she’s often making efforts to slow down a bit as she enjoys taking walks, photography, weightlifting at 404, and trying new foods. In the future, she hopes to work in the media and entertainment field, ideally as a producer for television, and wants nothing more than to contribute to the creative sphere with her personal touch.