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Gallatin School of Individualized Study

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Title: Gallatin School of Individualized Study  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of New York University alumni, New York University, Albert Gallatin, E. Frances White, New York University schools
Collection: Educational Institutions Established in 1972, Liberal Arts Colleges, New York University Schools
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Established 1972
Type Private
Affiliation New York University
Dean Susanne Wofford
Academic staff
42 Full Time[1]
100 Part Time[2]
Students 1,530 Undergraduates[3]
147 Graduates
Location New York, New York, U.S.

The Gallatin School of Individualized Study (commonly known as Gallatin) is a small interdisciplinary college within New York University. Gallatin aims to provide a "small college" feel, while being located within one of the largest private universities in the United States. Students design their own interdisciplinary program that meets their specific interests and career goals. Coursework can be undertaken at any of the schools that comprise NYU in addition to the school's own offerings.[4]


  • History 1
  • Academics 2
    • Curriculum 2.1
    • Advising 2.2
    • Colloquium 2.3
  • Student life 3
  • Notable people 4
    • Faculty 4.1
    • Notable alumni 4.2
    • Notable current students 4.3
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Founded in 1972 as the "University Without Walls", the school is named after Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson, and the founder of NYU. Gallatin believed that the place for a university was not in "the seclusion of cloistered halls but in the throbbing heart of a great city."

Herbert London was the school's first dean through 1992. The Gallatin building is situated within the Campus of New York University just east of Washington Square Park at 1 Washington Place.

The Gallatin School's facilities on the corner of Washington Place and Broadway underwent a redesign from 2007-2008. It was the first renovation project at NYU to achieve LEED certification. The project earned a LEED Gold certification for the renovation of five floors (approximately 32,000 square feet) of the existing building, including the construction of a theater, art gallery, classrooms, studios, and offices.[5]



Gallatin students develop a concentration, as opposed to a major, that is individualized to suit their interests and goals. A concentration can encompass multiple areas of study and often involves taking courses in various schools within NYU.

Rather than prescribing a specific set of courses (e.g., English 101, Western Civ), Gallatin employs a form of student-centered learning in which students are free to choose courses they are interested in but are expected to take responsibility for their own academic growth. There are, however, general requirements for graduation. Among these are:

  • Gallatin students are required to take 25% of their courses within Gallatin. Options include writing and arts workshops, interdisciplinary seminars reaching across the liberal arts, community learning, tutorials, internships, and independent studies.
  • Foundation courses, either the Liberal Arts Foundation (8 Humanities credits, 8 Social Science credits, 4 Mathematics or Science credits) or Historical and Cultural Foundation (4 Premodern credits, 4 Early Modern credits, and 4 Global Cultures credits). The two sets of foundation requirements may overlap and fulfill more than one requirement at once.[6]
  • First year requirements: Students take a First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar, a First-Year Writing Seminar, and a First-Year Research Seminar (numerous topics are available).
  • Second year requirements: The student writes their Intellectual Autobiography and Plan for Concentration (IAPC), an essay which charts their studies thus far and describes the plan for their continuation and refinement.
  • Third year requirements: The student writes their Rationale, an essay describing their planned course of study for their final year accompanied by a list of 20-25 books that will be discussed during the Colloquium (see below). The Rationale is reviewed and approved by two faculty members.
  • Fourth year/graduation requirement: The student must successfully pass their Colloquium, an intensive oral examination during which the student engages with a panel of three faculty for approximately two hours about their concentration and concomitant literature.[6]


Because Gallatin focuses intensely on students at the individual level, advising is a major component of the program. Each student is assigned two advisors: a class advisor who serves the needs of a full grade level (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors) and an academic advisor, who is more involved at the individual level with helping students shape their concentrations. The academic advisors help identify the interests of their advisees, approve class schedules, attend advisee Colloquiums, and serve as the primary source of advising. Academic advisors are usually faculty members at Gallatin who share similar interests with advisee students, but advisors can come from any of the schools within NYU across several disciplines. Students can request to change academic advisors.


In order to qualify for graduation, all students in the Gallatin undergraduate program must successfully complete a final oral examination called the Colloquium. The Colloquium is an intellectual conversation among four people: the student, the student's adviser, and two other members of the faculty about a selection of books representing several academic disciplines and historical periods. The Colloquium provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their Gallatin concentration and to synthesize various experiences studying books, taking courses, doing independent studies and internships into an integrated discussion about several books and themes. In preparing for the Colloquium, each student creates a book list of twenty to twenty-five works and writes a brief paper known as the Rationale which describes the themes the student plans to discuss in the Colloquium.

Student life

There are a variety of student-run organizations at Gallatin that span a vast array of interests for both undergraduate and graduate students of the school:

  • Dancers Choreographers Alliance (DCA) provides student choreographers with the opportunity to create their work with fellow student dancers. Through this, dancers have the chance to be part of the creative process and showcase their abilities. DCA also allows other members of the performance community to participate in roles such as musicians, composers, and artistic managers.
  • Gallatin Arts Festival (GAF) is a week-long community-wide celebration of the unique artistry and interdisciplinary scholarship of NYU’s Gallatin School. The festival features over 50 students presenting work in the visual and performing arts.
  • Gallatin Cookies and Coloring, named best Gallatin club of the 2014-2015 academic year, invites students to eat cookies and color coloring books. The club provides an un-structured forum for students to discuss their academics and lives in general while getting a chance to relax and destress during the week. Under the current leadership, the club has hosted special events such as body painting and the appreciation of mid-70s feminist coloring books.
  • Gallatin Theatre Troupe (GTT) exists as a collective of students interested in writing, directing, managing, and acting in theatre. Accomplishments include creating a one-act play festival and producing a variety of theatrical productions. Additionally, the GTT serves as a place to discuss theatre and attend shows. GTT is completely student-run and welcomes students to get involved!
  • Students of Color & Allies (SOCA) serves as a support and networking group that connects students of ALL colors from within Gallatin for social outings, intellectual activities, and academic workshops that address common interests. SOCA now organizes events aimed at enhancing the Gallatin experience for students of color.
  • The Gallatin Review publishes the poetry, prose, essays, and visual art of students and faculty. Its format is very open and is determined by a group of students who collaborate to design the layout and select submissions. Come discuss the work of fellow students, or just submit your own.
  • The Gallatin Research Journal (GRJ) is a student-run publication devoted to showcasing the excellence achieved by Gallatin students in the arena of academic non-fiction work. It is the goal at the GRJ to strengthen the connections between individuals and ideas in Gallatin by affording students from all fields of academic interest the opportunity to have their work published in a single platform. The GRJ thus establishes itself as an interdisciplinary periodical that embraces the structure of Gallatin's individualized curriculum.
  • The mission of the Journal of Global Affairs is to create, produce, and publish a scholarly undergraduate journal that showcases articles and artwork pertaining to all aspects of global affairs. JGA provides a forum for undergraduate students at NYU to publish their work in a scholarly journal. Secondly, this journal stimulates general interest in and increased awareness of global affairs that affect the world in which we live.
  • Gallatin Business Club (GBC) aims to educate the Gallatin community on the topic of business by providing resources, such as seminars, speakers, and group discussion on a variety of business topics. This club is for students interested in the corporate world, whether or not it is a part of their concentration. The club is an outlet for students to discuss current events in business and provides networking opportunities through speakers in a variety of fields.
  • NADI: Middle Eastern Studies Society endeavors to create a robust and cohesive intellectual community for students of the Middle East at Gallatin by means of extra-curricular programming and an annual journal. Moreover, Nadi seeks to provide a nexus for Gallatin students to share information about Middle Eastern Studies courses, study abroad programs and internships.
  • Gallatin Math And Science Society makes it easy for people focusing on science to find other Gallatin students on similar paths. The Gallatin format was not designed for math and science. Building this community allows students to advise each other on the best ways to make Gallatin work for them. G-MASS is also working to integrating for science-based events into the Gallatin calendar.

Notable people


Notable alumni

Notable current students

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen


  1. ^ List of Full Time Faculty Members
  2. ^ List of Part Time Faculty Members
  3. ^ Gallatin "Facts & Figures"
  4. ^ Lily Altivina (February 7, 2012). "Creating Your Own Major, From ‘Keeping It Real’ to ‘Grand Romantic Gestures’". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b

External links

  • Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • New York University
  • Gallatin Student Activities
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