Helpful Information for XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement Applicants
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April 1: Priority deadline date, fall
June 1: Final deadline date, fall*
*Late applications for fall will be accepted on a rolling basis until August 1
December 1: Spring 2019
November 1: Spring 2020
All application materials must be received by 5 p.m. eastern time on the deadline date. If an application deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal U.S. holiday, then the next business day will be the deadline date.
What is XE?
XE offers a rigorous program with a unique curriculum that combines innovative, socially engaged and outward-looking scholarship with the strengths of established modes of academic inquiry. For more than two decades, XE in its previous forms, the Draper Program and Center for Experimental Humanities, has been an excellent fit for students whose scholarly interests are most fruitfully explored outside the boundaries of conventionally organized academic disciplines, who wish to take ownership of their education, and who are interested in the nexus of creativity and criticality.
At the core of XE are intensive seminars that interrogate a diverse range of themes including creative writing, journalism and publishing, gender and sexuality, digital humanities, philosophy, urban studies, art history and curatorial practices, critical theory, postcolonial and radical theory, intellectual history, activism, and public history. These courses are designed to teach practical research methodologies, help students develop a dynamic writing style, immerse them in multi-platform, experimental projects, and prepare them for further graduate study, career professionalization, and rewarding cultural and intellectual trajectories.
What do students do once they finish the XE degree?
Around half of our alumni have continued their education in competitive doctoral programs in New York and around the country; some are now tenured faculty. An equal number have used their training in XE to launch or advance successful careers as writers, editors, and cultural critics; arts organizers and administrators; elementary, high school, and college teachers; civic activists and human rights consultants; and policy analysts in government and in the private sector, to name only a few fields. A XE education provides graduates with the platform for a wide range of career opportunities, giving our alums the freedom to follow paths in life they find most engaging and meaningful.
How flexible is the XE degree program?
XE offers unparalleled flexibility to students to construct their own degrees. Half of a XE student’s courses can be taken at programs and departments across New York University, allowing students to expand the scope of their research or dig more deeply into a given topic. Students are also provided freedom in choosing the form of their capstone project. While students can complete a traditional written thesis, they are encouraged to develop exhibitions, make films, write books, experiment with digital media, and incubate collaborative projects.
Who teaches in XE?
XE faculty–who include curators, social justice activists, prize-winning creative writers and journalists, leaders in the field of the digital humanities, and even Academy Award nominees–are handpicked for their commitment to engaged pedagogy. Our faculty are invested in conversations both inside and outside of the academy, and as such they offer students opportunities to engage with some of the most important and emergent fields within social and cultural life in New York. Faculty work closely with students to help them articulate areas of interest, to improve research, communication, and presentation skills, and guide them through coursework and their final project. You can view all current faculty biographies here.
When may I start my studies?
Students are admitted to the Program in the fall and spring. The deadline for fall admission is April 1 (priority) and June 1 (final); for spring admission, December 1. Admissions meetings take place frequently so if a candidate submits an application well ahead of the deadlines, notification is often made in advance.
If I choose to do a creative project, what are the guidelines for the accompanying paper?
This is intended to be a 10-15 page (2,500 word) paper (minimum) plus accompanying bibliography. The purpose of this reflective paper is to introduce, historicize, and contexualize your creative project. It will provide background on the subject of your work, your methodology, and any precursors, models, or inspirations for the project. A rigorously-researched academic paper, it is meant to be an integral part of your master's project, which will situate your work and prime the reader to receive it.
How long does it take to complete the XE master's degree?
Students may study full-time or part-time. The average time to degree is about two years, but the Graduate School allows up to five years from the first semester of enrollment.
Is there funding and how much does the XE master's degree cost?
The Graduate School offers XE Students a Draper Scholarship, which reduces tuition by 30 percent. It will be applied to coursework that meets the program's requirements and is taken within the first six semesters of enrollment, including summers. Please note that this financial aid award is for tuition points only; it does not include registration fees or health insurance.
XE's tuition is determined by the Graduate School of Arts & Science, and is based on the number of points a student takes each semester. Details of the GSAS tuition rate can be found here.
Is there financial aid? Are there teaching or research assistantships?
XE-specific aid is offered in the form of the tuition scholarship described in the above answer. Teaching and research assistantships are not available through the Program.
Students who obtain awards from recognized funding sources outside of NYU (e.g., foundations, private institutions, government agencies) can apply for additional awards toward tuition through the Graduate School's Tuition Incentive Program (TIP). Details about TIP eligibility criteria can be found here.
Since XE is part of NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Science, all applicants must apply to the program via GSAS' general online application.
What are the basic requirements of the XE application?
All students applying to XE must submit the following materials with their general GSAS application:
- Official Academic transcripts from the applicant's undergraduate institution, as well as any other colleges at which he/she completed coursework.
- Three letters of recommendation
- A resume or Curriculum Vitae
- A XE-specific statement of purpose
- A writing sample
Please note: In addition to the materials above, all applicants must submit an application fee.
The above information can also be found on GSAS' downloadable "Application Requirements and Deadlines".pdf at the NYU GSAS Application Resource Center.
GRE and TOEFL or IELTS
The GRE general test is not required. Either the TOEFL or the IELTS is required of all applicants who are not native English speakers or who do not have a bachelor's or master's degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English. See test score requirements.
What should be in my statement of purpose?
In a concisely written statement, please describe your past and present work as it relates to your intended field of study, your educational objectives, and your career goals. In addition, please include your intellectual and professional reasons for choosing your field of study and why your studies/research can best be done at the XE/Graduate School of Arts and Science at NYU. The statement should not exceed two double-spaced pages.
What should be in my writing sample?
If you have a good sense of your area(s) of interest, you are encouraged to submit a writing sample that speaks to or reflects your area(s) of interest. It should be 10-15 double-spaced pages in length. Alternatively, you may submit work (creative/professional) in other media that you feel gives the most telling evidence of your accomplishments and interests. To do so, you will be asked to use a URL to point to your work. You will find more specific instructions in the application.
Whom should I ask for recommendation letters? What sort of recommendation letters are most effective/useful?
Academic recommendations from professors or advisors with whom an applicant has studied are most useful to the admissions committee and are preferred. If you are unable to obtain three letters from professors or academic advisors, try to get as many as you can. (We suggest that when approaching faculty about recommendations, you provide as much information as possible about yourself—a recent transcript, CV, and/or copies of academic papers are very useful, as well as information about your plans for future study.)
If you are unable to provide letters from three academic references, professional references from people who can discuss your abilities as a researcher or writer are acceptable. Character references from friends, family, or religious advisors are less useful to our admissions committee.
For more information about submitting letters of recommendation, please see GSAS' "Letters of Recommendation FAQs" .pdf, under "Frequently Asked Questions," here.
I've submitted my application--when will I receive my admissions decision?
Our admissions committee does its best to return admissions decisions to applicants within a month of receiving their completed applications. If you are facing a specific deadline and would like us to expedite your application's review, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org after you have submitted your application and our admissions committee will do its best to honor your request.
May I meet with someone at XE?
If you are interested in scheduling a meeting to discuss your potential course of study, the program, or the application process in more detail, please contact the program directly at email@example.com.