Liberal Studies vs Global Liberal Studies

Confused about LS and GLS? You’re in the right place.

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They may share half of a name, but they are two different things. Confused yet? I understand, and I’m here to help. Liberal Studies is the name of one of NYU’s 10 undergraduate schools. Within Liberal Studies there are two different programs: Liberal Studies Core and Global Liberal Studies

Liberal Studies Core Program

Liberal Studies Core is a two-year program during your first and second years at NYU. During those two years, you will focus on the great works in a global context. This means you’ll read books like the Iliad and Sundiata and learn about the philosophies of Plato and Sun Tzu. These foundational classes give you the groundwork for analyzing today’s issues. Additionally, all of these classes will be small and seminar style, no bigger than 25 students, and will foster amazing relationships with faculty. 

Girl sitting at a desk, surrounded by bookshelves.

After your first two years, you and your adviser will work toward a seamless transition into one of NYU’s other schools. Throughout your time in LS Core, you will have ample opportunities to take classes in other disciplines, exploring other majors and programs to see what is the right fit for you and what you want to study for your two years after LS Core.

Global Liberal Studies

Global Liberal Studies is a four-year program, with about 100 students per grade. It is actually almost the same as Liberal Studies for the first year. However, in the first semester of your sophomore year, you will pick one of six concentrations. My concentration is politics, rights, and development. In the second half of your sophomore year, you will take classes within your concentration. 

And then in your junior year, you will study away! GLS students study for a full academic year at one of NYU’s study away sites. You will be fluent in another language, experience a new culture, and live in another country for a quarter of your time at NYU. Next year, I’ll be in Madrid, Spain! When you come back from your study away site for your junior year, you will write a thesis, synthesizing everything you’ve learned in your classes in New York City and while you studied away. 

Three buildings featured from global sites with upcoming anniversaries. From left to right they are: Paris, London, and Tel Aviv.

Both LS Core and GLS offer the option of spending your first year away: in Florence, London, Paris, New York City, or Washington, DC. If you are in GLS, you then have the option of spending another year away during junior year. If you are in LS Core, you could spend a semester away at a new location or go back to your first one. Or, you can stay in the greatest city in the world: NYC!

Feeling Better?

Whether you’re in LS Core or GLS, you’ll learn about the past in order to apply it to the future, and you’ll study things like history, philosophy, art, literature, global culture, language, and political theory. If you want to do that for four years, GLS could be for you. If you’re not sure what you want to study yet, but know that NYU is the place for you, LS Core could be a good fit.