Emerging in 1919 in New York City as a promoter of innovative and creative thinking, the New School for Social Research began as a new kind of academic institution, an innovative college where faculty and students would be free to honestly and directly address the problems facing societies in the 20th century. Over the years, the New School for Social Research, now formally named The New School, grew into an urban university divided into private, not-for-profit academic schools and colleges:
- Parsons School for Design
- Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts
- College of Performing Arts
- The New School for Social Research
- Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
- School of Media Studies
The courses offered by The New School at first reflected the founders' interest in the emerging social sciences, international affairs, history, philosophy, drama and literature, writing, performing arts, fine arts, foreign languages, media studies, and information processing. Several of the schools affer fully online programs leading to certificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees.