The Gallatin School of Individualized Study aims to provide students with a meaningful liberal arts education through individualized programs for study, emphasizing a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate learning.
They depart from traditional departmental distinctions, broadening the potential domain one’s degree can cover.
Rather than prescribing strict major requirements and mandating a number of specific prerequisite courses, they offer students the opportunity to follow a path to a degree similar to a choose-your-own-adventure novel.
At Gallatin, student-generated programs of study determine courses and disciplines to blend together to craft a unique concentration.
Due to the unconventional nature of Gallatin’s academics, the university attracts a diverse group of students.
Some come to Gallatin to explore a specific personal interest from many different perspectives; others come to Gallatin because they have too many disparate passions to choose only one as a major, as a more traditional college might require.
Another aspect of studying at NYU Gallatin that attracts applicants is that there are no set required courses.
To satisfy this requirement, you could take courses ranging from anthropology, art history, computer engineering, and more.
NYU Gallatin students can enroll in courses at the other four schools in the NYU system, offering all students access to the vast wealth of resources available.
Located in the heart of New York City’s charming Greenwich Village, Gallatin offers all the appeal of this quaint historical district only a stone’s throw away from all the hustle-and-bustle the city is known for.
Read on to learn more about NYU Gallatin, including its acceptance rate, famous alumni, admission requirements, etc.
NYU Gallatin Acceptance Rate
The acceptance rate at NYU Gallatin is around 30%.
NYU is considered to be a highly selective school, and that selectivity is increasing as time goes on. The school stated that their acceptance rate for the Class of 2025 was only 12.8%, less than half what it was as recently as 2013.
The national average acceptance rate for all four-year colleges and universities, on the other hand, is around 66%.
Of the more than 100,000 people who applied during this admission cycle, only about 6,700 were accepted to matriculate for the fall 2021 semester across all five of NYU’s campuses.
The class of 2025 has broken the university’s previous record for high median SAT scores of accepted applicants, with an impressive 1540 out of the possible 1600.
The average unweighted GPA for the incoming first-year class was 3.71. Additionally, over 20% of accepted students had earned a perfect 4.0.
On top of the high level of academic achievement this record-breaking class has exhibited, the group is also geographically diverse, with 102 countries and all 50 US states represented.
It is no surprise that admission into NYU is so selective, as the school is known for its prestige. According US News’ annual list of the best colleges and universities in the country, NYU is tied for #28.
Fortunately for students who are concerned that their academics are not strong enough to meet the more stringent criteria for NYU’s other schools, Gallatin’s acceptance rate of 30% is much more attainable than the single-digit rates for three other unspecified NYU undergraduate schools.
What Are the Majors and Courses of Study at NYU Gallatin?
At NYU Gallatin, there are no majors. Instead, students develop individualized programs for study centered around a concentration.
The concentration is a student-generated focus intended to serve the particular student’s professional and educational goals.
In crafting a personalized plan for their studies, students have great freedom to explore interdisciplinary studies, incorporate independent studies, pursue internships, and develop a dynamic conception of what their educational experiences will give them by the end of their time at Gallatin.
Gallatin students work with an adviser to create a concentration corresponding to a grounded, interdisciplinary, intellectually-driven curriculum.
Although Gallatin’s concentration system lets students pursue significantly individualized programs of study, there are still some requirements all Gallatin students must complete.
First-year students are required to take three seminar courses, including an interdisciplinary seminar, a writing seminar, and a research seminar. These seminars constitute the First-Year Program.
The interdisciplinary seminar consists of about 18 students, intended to familiarize students with the multidisciplinary philosophy for undergraduate students at Gallatin through small-group discussion rather than lecture.
During the first-year writing and research seminars, students develop the skills they will need to succeed in other classes down the road.
Past Gallatin students have designed degree concentrations including Mathematics and Economics for International Development, Multimedia Storytelling: Production and Performance, and many other unique interdisciplinary programs.
The initially proposed concentration students generate in their first year is expected to be refined and revised throughout their time at Gallatin.
By the end of their second year, students must complete an Intellectual Autobiography and Plan for Concentration, in which they must describe their academic experiences thus far, reflect on their studies, and put forth a plan for the continued development of their concentration.
In the penultimate semester of senior year, Gallatin students have to pass an oral examination called the Colloquium in order to qualify for graduation. The Colloquium consists of a long discussion between the student, their adviser, and two other faculty members.
To prepare for the Colloquium, students must compile a List of Works consisting of 20-25 works of literature that somehow connect to their studies, as well as a Rationale, a short paper explaining that connection.
NYU Gallatin Alumni
A degree from NYU Gallatin has been a common starting point for many successful careers. The school’s list of illustrious alumni includes a number of CEOs, best-selling authors, award-winning actors, directors, and more.
Many NYU Gallatin alumni have become successful Hollywood actors. Timothée Chalamet, Dakota Fanning, Anne Hathaway, Rooney Mara, and Cole and Dylan Sprouse are among Gallatin alumni most people have probably seen on screen.
John Ridley, a ‘87 Gallatin graduate, went on to win an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. His work includes the critically-acclaimed ABC series American Crime.
Gallatin has also produced several alumni who have gone on to become successful in the business world, such as Robert Kalin, co-founder of Etsy.
One was Jordan Anderson, who is the executive chef and co-founder of Sami & Susu, a Mediterranean restaurant in New York City.
The other was Blake Slatkin, producer and writer who has penned at least three top 10 hits. Slatkin has written and produced for big-name artists such as Justin Bieber and Lil Nas X.
These two are joining a list of two dozen other NYU Gallatin alumni to make the list since 2014.
The impressive, long list of notable Gallatin alumni even includes royalty: Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Denmark graduated from the school in 2019.
For current students seeking the wisdom and expertise of alumni, Gallatin hosts Alumni Working Groups in many different areas of interest. These groups connect with students to offer guidance, assist with networking, help find available professional resources, and engage with other alumni.
Requirements to Get Into NYU Gallatin
Much like their highly individualized approach to degree programs, the admission requirements at NYU Gallatin are not formulaic, cut-and-dry specifications.
Instead, the university looks to admit a diverse, exciting class of individuals with a wide range of varying ideals, aspirations, and experiences. Furthermore, they do not have a limit on how many students they will admit each year.
NYU Gallatin also boasts one of the most flexible policies regarding standardized test score submission of any university. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school decided to consider standardized test score submission as an elective supplement to one’s application rather than a requirement for admission.
Students who are not native or primary English speakers are required to pass an English language proficiency test to ensure that they will thrive in a rigorous, demanding intellectual environment.
However, there is no minimum score requirement even on the English language test. Instead, Gallatin simply offers guidelines for the scores they expect competitive applicants to earn.
Like all of NYU’s campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, or Shanghai, Gallatin requires that prospective students complete the Common Application.
There is an $80 application fee, but fee waivers are available for students who cannot cover this cost. The deadline to apply to enroll in the fall is January 5, although early decision applications can be submitted as early as November 1.
Applicants must submit records of all previous college courses, if any, they have received credit for.
After submitting the common application, prospective students are also asked to submit a Self Reported Academic Record, consisting of the grades they received in high school exactly as they appear on one’s transcript.
Is NYU Gallatin Worth It?
For students who feel that they would benefit from the lack of specific required courses, the great freedom in the ability to design a personalized concentration, and the interdisciplinary, holistic education philosophy that NYU Gallatin offers, it is certainly worth looking into this university.
As discussed earlier, Gallatin is a great fit for students looking to pursue a highly-specific passion and do not expect to find a traditional major program that accords with their niche interest.
NYU Gallatin may also be the perfect place for students who do not have one singular area of study they would like to pursue, but would instead like to explore and synthesize subjects or ideas from many different disciplines.
Of course, the individual freedom NYU Gallatin gives its students in crafting a concentration does not ensure that that concentration, although unique and well-designed, will be attractive to potential employers.
While traditional degree programs show employers that a student has a relatively clear set of skills or knowledge within a particular domain, a Gallatin degree places responsibility on the student to ensure that their concentration will have practical value for whatever career path they intend to pursue.
For this reason, students who are likely to feel that their time at NYU Gallatin was worth it are likely to be those who are self-motivated, driven to work toward a concentration that will work for them later on.
Another factor to consider is that a degree from NYU Gallatin is a degree from a well-revered, highly-ranked, prestigious university. Even if a student’s concentration does not directly correspond to a particular professional field, NYU’s good reputation will speak volumes to employers.
As far as employment statistics go, the data says that an NYU degree is certainly worth it. 90% of the class of 2020 was either employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Further, 86.2% of that 90% were working, and an additional 1.7% were working and in graduate school.
Taking these employment statistics and the unique academic experience they offer all together, it is safe to say that NYU Gallatin is worth it.