Washington Square Park in the wintertime.

Each year January brings with it the opportunity to reset, recommit to our goals, and reconsider our needs as we look forward to the new year. And for students at NYU, it also brings with it one of two options: either a three-week break from classes or January Term. This intensive (and often exhilarating) opportunity immerses students in a course that manages to fill an entire semester’s worth of learning into three weeks. 

For students who enroll in January Term (J Term) courses at NYU, the academic benefits are obvious. For one thing, it’s a great way to get ahead or catch up in a degree program while solely focused on one class. That is, without the distraction of a standard semester’s additional three- or four-course load. Students can choose from more than 100 courses, study away options across degree-granting campuses in New York City, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, and class options at our 12 study away sites.

In addition, J Term offers international opportunities that integrate travel, field trips to local sites, and experiential learning opportunities. All things considered, January Term is a great option for students on a tight graduation scheduleor who simply want to add another interesting experience to their college journey. 

Students exploring SoHo during a neighborhood tour.

January in the City

There are more than 100 courses during January Term. Students who enroll for a J Term course at the New York City campus select from a wide array of options. You can take everything from studio art to computer science. Many J Term courses are project-based or use experiential learning techniques to immerse students in their subject matter. Additionally, students can do fieldwork in museums, institutions, and cultural centers of the city. And although January isn’t widely considered an ideal month in the city from a meteorological standpoint, it’s actually a time when New York City is uniquely alive. January is peak season for performing arts industries and museums. It’s a time when the city, typically emptied of holiday tourists, contains ample opportunities for locals to take advantage of its rich cultural offerings. 

January Term courses at NYU are not just for current NYU students. In fact, visiting students from universities who want to bank course credits while experiencing life in the city can also take J Term courses. Class credits are transferable to most universities, so visiting students can expect a rigorous and stimulating in-class experience, alongside an exciting city adventure that won’t set them back in their graduation timeline. 


People sitting and relaxing in a public square with the Shanghai skyline in the distance.

Earn Course Credits Abroad

For students interested in traveling abroad, many NYU colleges offer J Term courses structured around international fieldwork experiences. For example, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, offers opportunities like studying international nutrition in Cuba, researching dance education in Uganda, or experiencing global music management in London. Additionally, Tandon School of Engineering students can travel to Buenos Aires to take the course Argentina, Identity, and City Building. There, they examine how identity has shaped the development of urban and cultural environments.

At NYU Los Angeles, Tisch School of the Arts students can immerse themselves in the entertainment business with the course Tisch Goes Hollywood. And students at NYU Shanghai select from a variety of J Term courses. From classes regarding computer programming to courses that examine art and social environments, there is much to choose from. In short, January Term in NYU’s global network covers a range of academic disciplines and cultural experiences. 

A student speaking in class while mid-gesture.

Use Your January Wisely

Whether academic of personal, January is always a great time to regroup and focus on what’s important to you and your goals.

Maybe your priority is getting ahead in your degree program? Taking an elective somewhere new and exciting around the world? Exploring New York City in the winter? Concentrating on one course with intense study?

Think about it—January Term might be right for you!