Liberal Arts Colleges and Schools in New York City

Oct 10, 2020

New York City Colleges and Schools with Liberal Arts Programs

Shaped by centuries of immigration and cultural movements, New York City draws liberal arts students from all over the world. Areas of study can include the arts and humanities, business, communications and the social sciences. Read about the program options at our three featured schools, as well as an overview that compares acceptance rates and cost of attendance, among other factors. This resource also includes a paragraph about additional educational options for liberal arts students in New York City.

  • A little less than two miles away from New York City's downtown, the Eugene Lang College at The New School awards undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts, including those in unusual fields, such as urban studies.
  • Marymount Manhattan College, located on the Upper East Side and about six-and-a-half miles from downtown New York City, also offers bachelor's degrees in the liberal arts.
  • While Manhattan College is located 15 miles uptown in Riverdale, it does provide students with a liberal arts education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Comparison of Schools

Use the following table to find information about our three featured liberal arts schools, including tuition and financial aid for undergraduates. Check out the acceptance rates before you apply, and see how many first-time students decide to return the following year.

The New School Marymount Manhattan College Manhattan College
School Type 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; private, not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2019)* 10,432 1,892 4,117
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2019-2020)* $50,994 $35,628 $44,560
% of Beginning Full-Time Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2018-2019)* 91% 98% 99%
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2019)* 57% 80% 74%
Retention Rate for First-Time Students (2018-2019)* 82% full-time;
97% part-time
69% full-time;
58% part-time
81% full-time
6-Year Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students who began Fall 2013)* 70% (14% transfer rate) 53% (32% transfer rate) 71%

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics - College Navigator

The New School

Students seeking a liberal arts education can attend Eugene Lang College at The New School for Liberal Arts. The college offers a variety of interdisciplinary liberal arts degrees at the undergraduate level.

Undergraduate Degrees in the Liberal Arts

Eugene Lang College offers a liberal arts degree and 28 other academic degree programs, such as economics, history and the arts. The liberal arts program is individualized according to the student's interests and calls for interdisciplinary work on a theme or research question. As an alternative, liberal arts majors can choose a guided program in Jewish, gender or religious studies, ethnicity and race, social inquiry or a foreign language. Additional program features include internship opportunities in New York City or study abroad in Paris, Rome and Amsterdam; short-term programs in ten countries are offered during academic breaks.

Students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and may choose to pursue up to two majors and two minors within the program. Joint-degree programs, available through the Eugene Lang College and either Parsons New School for Design or The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, can lead to a B.A./Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Students may also pursue a joint bachelor's degree from Eugene Lang College and a master's degree from the graduate school of their interest.

Marymount Manhattan College

Marymount Manhattan College offers undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts. The mission of Marymount Manhattan College is to emphasize the foundation of a liberal arts education and encourage students to recognize connections between classroom and life experiences.

Undergraduate Degrees in the Liberal Arts

Undergraduate students at Marymount Manhattan College can choose from 30 majors and more than 40 minors offered through the following divisions: business, art and art history, communication and media arts, dance, sciences, humanities and social sciences, and theater arts. All liberal arts students receive a core education in the various liberal arts disciplines. Marymount Manhattan College also requires students to take advanced courses that emphasize ethical, cultural, natural science, international and American perspectives. Study abroad opportunities include independent and travel study, foreign exchanges and consortia programs which can take place over an academic year, semester or summer.

Manhattan College

Manhattan College is a Lasallian Catholic liberal arts college with high rankings from the U.S. News & World Report (#15 Best Regional Colleges in the North in 2019). It offers undergraduate and graduate liberal arts degree options in various fields.

Undergraduate Degrees in the Liberal Arts

Undergraduate programs available through the School of Liberal Arts at Manhattan College are offered in, among other areas, English, communication, digital media arts, film studies, history and sociology. All undergraduate degrees require 120 credits of coursework, but specific requirements vary depending on the program. For example, the degree program in psychology requires 33 credits within the major for a BS and 30 for a BA, while the BA in Economics requires 39 credits in the major. Students have opportunities to study abroad for a summer, January break, semester or academic year.

Graduate Degrees in the Liberal Arts

Manhattan College offers Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs in various areas of education, engineering and business. Students can also earn an M.S. in Organizational Leadership through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Coursework depends on the department and area of study; some specialized education programs may focus on counseling, special education and bilingual education. Engineering programs are available in the following areas: chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental and mechanical engineering.

Other School Options

There are several other liberal arts colleges in New York City. Barnard College is a women's-only liberal arts college that is affiliated with Columbia University. Students can also attend The King's College, the Hudson Valley campus of Empire State College or the NYC campus of Hamilton College.

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