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New School guides and handbooks collection

Identifier: NS-05-07-01


This collection contains student, faculty, and staff handbooks from The New School and various divisions and departments within the university. These guides cover student life, degree requirements, information about living in New York City, among other topics. Faculty handbooks offer teaching guidelines and regulations, while materials created for international students provide information on adapting to life in the United States.


  • 1983 - 2018



3.9 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Content of Collection

The bulk of this collection is comprised of The New School student handbooks from the 1990s and 2000s, with a scattering of student handbooks for specific schools and departments from the 1980s-2000s. Also contained in the collection are orientation packets for incoming students, including orientation guides specifically intended for international students. Faculty and staff handbooks make up the smallest portion of the collection, with a few years of teaching guides, and miscellaneous administrative handbooks.

The collection is not comprehensive but offers a representational example of student, faculty, and staff guides from the 1980s to early 2010s. These materials can be useful for researching student and faculty life and the experiences of New School students and their instructors, when no other forms of documentation are available. Researchers should note, however, that the guides and handbooks are prescriptive, describing administrators' expectations for students--they do not present information from students' perspective.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact:

Historical Note

The New School for Social Research was founded in 1919 as an institution of higher education devoted to adult learning. As the school grew into a university, this original division was alternately known as the "Founding Division" or the "Adult Division." In 1943, the school was divided into two schools, the School of Politics, and the School of Liberal Arts and Philosophy. At this time, in response to the needs of returning veterans wishing to take advantage of the GI Bill, the school began a program called Senior Year at the New School. Geared toward adults who had previously completed some coursework, the program offered undergraduate credits for some courses and awarded bachelors' degrees. However, the majority of students continued to take non-credit courses.

Although The New School offered some undergraduate credits beginning in the 1940s, the first full-time day program was not established until 1972. Called the Freshman Year Program, it initially focused on college-level courses for high school students or recent high school graduates, who would then matriculate elsewhere. The program expanded as the Seminar College in 1977 and further grew in 1985 with a large donation and new name, Eugene Lang College.

In 1933, the New School for Social Research established the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. Also known as the "University in Exile," the division was founded in order to host German and other European scholars who left their countries of origin to escape political and racial persecution. The Board of Regents of the State of New York granted a provisional charter in 1934, allowing the Graduate Faculty to confer Master of Social Science and Doctor of Social Science degrees. This was the first time the New School for Social Research offered credits leading to a degree to students in any of its programs. In 2005, the Graduate Faculty changed its name to The New School for Social Research, reclaiming the founding name of the entire institution, which had been dropped eight years before.

In 1970, Parsons School of Design became affiliated with The New School. The American artist William Merritt Chase founded the school in 1896 as the Chase School of Art. It went through several name changes (New York School of Art, New York School of Fine and Applied Art), but was connected in the public's mind to the school's charismatic president, Frank Alvah Parsons. In 1942, the Board of Trustees officially renamed the school Parsons School of Design.

In 1997, the New School for Social Research was officially renamed New School University. The founding division, still devoted to adult education, was given the general name The New School, now comprising one of seven divisions of New School University. In 2005, the school underwent another series of name changes, which led to the overarching organization being called The New School, while the adult education program was named The New School for General Studies. This name was changed in 2011, when the adult education program was called The New School for Public Engagement and combined with the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, which until that time had been a separate division.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged by subject in 3 series. Arrangement within series is chronological. 1. Student handbooks, 1983-2013 2. Student orientation materials, 1994-2012 3. Faculty and staff handbooks, 1988-2008

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The New School Archives assembled this collection from multiple accessions of similar material.

Related Materials

The New School Archives also holds the Parsons School of Design handbooks and orientation collection (PC.05.05.01). This collection, also compiled by Archives staff, contains a more comprehensive record of Parsons School of Design-specific guides and orientation materials up to the year 2007. Guides and orientation materials received after 2007 from all academic divisions, including Parsons, have been added to the present collection. Additional orientation guides produced by the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in the 1980s will be found in the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research collection (NS.02.02.01)

Guide to the New School guides and handbooks collection
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
August 27, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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