Thinking Outside the Semester: Summer Courses and Beyond

Unconventional class formats help students accrue credits and expand their worldview

A student browsing used books in London

NYU’s network of global locations and extensive range of academic programs offer students endless possibilities for where and how they can study. When you take summer courses during Summer Session or winter courses during January Term (J-Term), you earn credit toward your degree—and broaden your mind-set—beyond the confines of the regular college semester schedule.

Focus on Fieldwork at NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi offers J-Term and summer courses, many of which incorporate international fieldwork. Students have come face-to-face with gorillas in the Ugandan jungle while exploring the animals’ status as an endangered species. During a visit to Nepal, they studied the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake while learning how to report on natural disasters. Andres Lopez, a Biology major, took a course called Diversity that started in Abu Dhabi and then traveled to Kenya for nine days. “It was an amazing experience,” he says. “First, we looked at the evolution of animal species, examining genetic diversity and how different populations evolve. Then we looked at how the perception of intelligence and race has changed over time. Talking about ethnic and racial diversity in a class with 12 students who’ve grown up in 12 different countries and experienced racial discrimination in vastly different ways opened up completely new realms for discussion.”

A student videographer is filming with a camera

Go Global with the College of Arts and Science

The College of Arts and Science in New York City hosts 10 six-week summer study programs that create immersive global learning experiences. In addition to site-specific summer courses, field trips and excursions to museums, nature reserves, and theatres bring classroom learning to life. Learn about Greek history, politics, and art in Athens. Or, head to London to study British literature, art, and architecture. Improve your Spanish while learning about Spanish history, art, and architecture in Madrid. When in Dublin, students can take summer courses in Irish literature, Irish history, and elementary Irish language at Trinity College, a center of Irish intellectual life. During a summer in Ghana, students taking a journalism course spend nearly every day reporting. While filming, photographing, and writing about political and social issues in the capital city of Accra, they experience what life is like as an international reporter.

A group of students sitting together outside NYU Shanghai.

Challenge Yourself at NYU Shanghai

At NYU Shanghai, students improve their Chinese in six- or nine-week language immersion programs. Not only do they gain language skills, they also bring nuance to their learning through exploration of Shanghai and beyond. In addition to helping students learn about Chinese culture and history, weekend trips and tours of Shanghai’s neighborhoods are a chance for students to practice their Chinese with locals. In addition, courses in subjects from business and computer science to humanities and global China studies are offered for those who want to use the summer to complete an elective or take credits toward their major.

NYU students have hundreds
of courses to choose from during Summer Session and J-Term, some of which include travel. Here are
just a few.

New York City Campus

  • Caribbean Counterpoint (includes travel to Cuba and Jamaica)
  • Contemporary Photography
  • Emerging Models and Markets for Music (includes travel to Brazil)
  • Intro to Game Studies
  • Valuing Urban Design and Sustainability (includes travel to Shanghai)
  • Writers in Paris (includes travel to Paris)

Abu Dhabi Campus

  • Children, Youth, and Sustainable Development of the World’s Cities (includes fieldwork in India)
  • Colloquial Arabic
  • Extinction (includes fieldwork in Uganda)
  • Language of Business
  • Reporting Disasters Before They Happen to Save Lives (includes a field visit to Nepal)

Shanghai Campus

  • Business Analytics
  • Contemporary Art in Shanghai: Exploring Art Spaces in the City
  • Experiments in Food Science
  • Psychology of Human Sexuality
  • US-China Relations