• At the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, students can create unique academic concentrations by combining interdisciplinary subjects. The program offers academic flexibility and freedom.
  • I created my concentration by studying journalism as an art form, integrating journalism with art studies.

As an anxious person, I worried about college and my career plans. Initially unsure of my desired field of study and how to proceed, I also questioned whether a traditional program would make me happy. Discovering the Gallatin School of Individualized Study was the turning point in my academic journey.

What Is Gallatin?

Gallatin is the NYU school where students can create their own concentrations through an interdisciplinary study. This just means that students combine different subjects and topics across disciplines. 

These individualized concentrations are not substitutes for double majors; they are their own thing. Students can create their academic journey from the ground up (which is honestly super fun)!

The author wandering around The MET in New York City.
This is me at The MET!

Creating My Concentration

Initially coming into college, I wanted to study journalism and English, but I quickly realized I wanted to study more. I was originally admitted to the Liberal Studies Core, which introduced me to different disciplines while studying away.

I study journalism as an art form, appreciating its close connection to the arts. Journalism is my medium for storytelling and truth seeking, while art expresses the artist’s truth. This perspective allows me to explore diverse narratives and individuals.

In my concentration, I report on art and learn to analyze it through a journalistic lens. The individualistic nature of art makes reporting on it both enjoyable and a genuine passion of mine.

Gallatin was the ideal school for me because my concentration wouldn’t fit within traditional majors or double majors. I wanted to delve deeper than the standard courses and pursue my interests in a more specific manner.

A group of students stand in front of an orange wall decorated with the painted letters “WSN.” WSN (Washington Square News) is NYU’s independent student newspaper.
Washington Square News is NYU’s independent student newspaper.

What Types of Courses Does a Gallatin Student Take?

For my specific concentration, I’m taking courses across different disciplines. For example, I’m taking College of Arts and Science courses in the journalism, art history, and classics departments. Yet, you will also find me at the Tisch School of the Arts studying performance art as well! However, these course decisions can change and adapt. I am always in constant contact with an academic adviser, who knows my concentration deeply and can guide me in course selection. If I need extra help, specifically about credits, I talk with my class adviser, since that’s what she specializes in.

Although I’ve only been at Gallatin for a few weeks, I already have several favorite classes that contribute to my concentration. This semester, I’m enrolled in a Tisch class titled Politics of Portraiture, where we analyze fine art and create art reflecting the evolution of portraiture. Additionally, in Photographing Peace, a Gallatin course, I explore the distinction between war and peace photography in journalism. Lastly, in another Gallatin course, Oral History, Cultural Identity, and the Arts, I study the significance of oral histories and create art inspired by them.

I still have so much time to take other types of courses that will help me continue to form my concentration. I’m hoping to take a studio art course at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. I also am hoping to delve more into Gallatin-specific courses like the arts workshops and my senior colloquium.

An archaeological site in Greece.
An archaeological site from my time in Greece.

My Gallatin Career Ahead

In my first semester at Gallatin, I’m incredibly pleased with my degree plans and courses. I relish the freedom to pursue classes that genuinely interest me and feel confident in my transition. After writing this article, I’ll be working on my Intellectual Autobiography and Plan for Concentration essay. It’s the second time I’ll formalize my concentration, which feels surreal.

Gallatin appeals to specific students, so it’s OK if it doesn’t fit everyone. But, for those it does fit, embrace the flexibility and changes in your academic journey. You’re no longer confined to a box—spread your wings and explore.

Molly Koch (they/them) is a sophomore in Liberal Studies but is planning on transitioning into the Gallatin School of Individualized Study ton study a combination of journalism, art history, and classics with a minor in archeology. Originally from Maryland, Molly came to NYU as a first generation college student aspiring to earn their degree in the city that never sleeps. When they are not working on campus as an Admissions Ambassador, Molly can be found working chapter-by-chapter on their novel or running down the West Side highway. They are an Opinion Editor for Washington Square News, a member of NYU’s Torch Chapter, National Residence Hall Honorary and a peer mentor for Project Outreach.