NYU was founded to be “metropolitan in character, democratic in spirit,” and responsive to the needs of the rapidly evolving New York City population. Today, these themes are still at the core of NYU, and have led the university to develop 10 distinct undergraduate schools and colleges in New York City, degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and global academic centers in 12 cities around the world. And the urban spirit of NYU is fundamental to the student experience: professors are experts in their fields and are tapped into local networks, and courses take advantage of the offerings and interact with the cultures of the city. This is especially true at the Tisch School of the Arts, where the faculty are working artists, and opportunities abound to perform, create, and experience the arts on campus and across the city.
Tisch offers many avenues for exploration to enhance your creative journey. Small classes located in both Manhattan and Brooklyn provide an inspiring backdrop for collaborative learning. Distinguished faculty members guide students through engaging studies from Drama to Dance and Dramatic Writing to Game Design. In effect, Tisch’s undergraduate majors will help you cultivate your creative voice. Tisch students collaborate on performances and projects as part of an immersive learning experience. And if you want to dig deeper, there are plenty of interdisciplinary, collaborative research opportunities to take advantage of.
The Undergraduate Experience
Whether your passion is performing on stage, writing for the screen, designing interactive experiences, or making a musical piece—you can find your path at NYU Tisch. Undergraduate study at Tisch is split into different departments:
- You can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in either Dance, Drama, or Collaborative Arts at the Institute of Performing Arts. Also, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Performance Studies. Primary courses develop dramatic acting skills, technique in ballet and contemporary dance, knowledge of feminist and queer theory, and more.
- The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television helps focus your artistic point of view in film and television mediums. As you work toward a BFA in Film and Television, you’ll learn to integrate theory, practice, history, and craft studies. Or, within Kanbar’s Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies, you can earn a BA in Cinema Studies. You’ll sharpen your critical skills through in-depth analyses of moving images. What’s more, you can also train across disciplines in playwriting, screenwriting, and episodic writing to earn a BFA in Dramatic Writing from the Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing.
- At the Institute of Emerging Media, you can earn your BFA in Game Design, Interactive Media Arts, or Photography and Imaging. Courses such as Animation: Methods of Motion, Art Direction for Games, and Contemporary Imaging Practice combine art and technology to equip students with transferrable professional skills. Within the institute, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music offers a BFA in Recorded Music, pairing artistic training with business-focused coursework. Students emerge prepared to be visionary creative entrepreneurs.
Cool Tisch Courses
Considering the wide range of course offerings at Tisch, here are a few highlights:
- The American Musical
- Arts Writing
- Audio for Digital Games
- BioDesigning the Future of Food
- The Business of Music: Industry Essentials
- Contemporary Trends in Board Game Design
- Creative Research in Dance
- The Directors Process
- Electronic Rituals, Oracles, and Fortune-Telling
- Ethics of Collaboration
- Introduction to Animation Techniques
- Political Theatre: Hip Hop, Identity and Resistance Remixed
- Sight and Sound Filmmaking
- Social History of Photography
- Stage Combat
Infusing Research Culture with Creativity
The Tisch Initiative for Creative Research (TCR), established in 2014, facilitates artistic and intellectual growth for students, faculty, and staff. With this in mind, TCR augments existing programs by encouraging and promoting curiosity through radical experimentation, collaboration, and thoughtful reflection.
TCR offers two research programs:
- Undergraduate Research Fund: This initiative funds undergraduate student-led, creative research projects that facilitate multi/interdisciplinary collaboration.
- HEAR US Awards: HEAR US (Honoring, Elevating, and Recapitalizing Underrepresented Stories) Awards celebrate and advance student projects that explore marginalized voices and stories. In particular, BIPOC stories are especially encouraged. TCR conducts the program through grants and mentorships, supporting projects at all stages of completion.
As shown above, these opportunities create space to shift the cultural conversation and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion. What’s more, often these opportunities enrich students’ work and cultural perspectives, while able to complement all undergraduate Tisch majors.
The Tisch faculty consists of scholars, artists, and creators who are distinguished and connected in their fields. For example, you might learn storytelling strategies from Professor Gay Abel-Bey—a distinguished director, script developer, and production manager who is also the academic director of the Film & Television program—or write with Drama professor Lauren Whitehead, who adapted Ta-Nehisi Coates’ award winning memoir, Between the World and Me, for the stage. Maybe you will study special effects makeup with accomplished artist Robert Benevides. Further, you could learn the ins and outs of the music industry with Jason King, the chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and a notable scholar, producer, and musician.
It’s no surprise Tisch has an abundance of noteworthy alumni. For example, Tony Award winning performer Ali Stroker graduated from Tisch in 2009. Widely-renowned conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas completed his Tisch BFA in Photography and Imaging in 1998. Mollye Asher, a critically acclaimed producer whose most recent work was on the Oscar-winning Nomadland, did both her undergraduate degree in Drama and graduate degree in Film at Tisch. And Tisch graduate Ismael Cruz Córdova has found success in TV from Sesame Street to The Good Wife. Most recently, Ismael landed a starring role in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
It’s clear that many Tisch alumni have benefited from the connections they’ve made during their education. “I had a fantastic experience and education at Tisch, and I have friendships that I made there that I still have to this day. And I’ve worked with many people I went to school with,” said Richie Jackson (’87 Drama). All things considered, you can form long-lasting relationships through the many opportunities presented at Tisch. Whether your classmates become lifelong friends or key to your professional network, you’ll find your community at Tisch.
More to Explore
If you’d like to learn more about the University, then Meet NYU is your source for information! Discover how rigorous training at Tisch Drama prepares students for the professional world. Get some tips on surviving your Tisch Drama artistic review, or read an explainer on the difference between the Drama and Performance Studies majors. Also, you can get some student advice on how to build your Film and Television portfolio, learn more about the Game Design major, take a look inside a special effects makeup demonstration, and more.