Arts & Letters.


Arts & Letters

About the Program

Arts and Letters is a graduate liberal studies program designed with working professionals in mind. Through a diverse set of course offerings, students work on analytical and creative thinking while learning and synthesizing ideas. Coursework allows students to hone their writing and presentation skills. Our faculty mentors work with students to plan their course of study to take advantage of everything the New York City region has to offer. Our students put the humanities to work with internships and other means of experiential learning in the cultural capital of the world.

Program Requirements

Master of Letters

The Master of Letters gives you the option of either completing nine courses (27 credits) and a 50–75 page master’s thesis or taking an additional two courses in lieu of the master’s thesis to complete a total of 11 courses (33 credits).

View the required courses and descriptions

Doctor of Letters

(45 credits) requires the completion of 12 courses, including two required seminars—Liberal Studies: What They Are, What They Do and The Joy of Scholarly Writing: Beginning the Dissertation Process. All DLitt students must prepare and successfully defend a 150–220 page doctoral dissertation. During their coursework, DLitt candidates must take four courses in one of the Doctor of Letters concentrations.

View the required courses and descriptions


  • Historical Studies
  • Global Studies
  • Literary Studies
  • Studies in Spirituality
  • Writing
  • Fine Arts and Media Studies
  • Irish/Irish-American Studies
  • Teaching in the Two-Year College

Program Convener

Karen Pechilis

Phd, University of Chicago

Professor Pechilis explores issues of interpreting the embodied self through poetry, biography and practice in devotional traditions of Hinduism. She understands ‘devotion’ to be a site for the intersection of wonder and self-expression and for an exquisitely participatory impulse, especially in the arts and letters. Over the past twenty years she has conducted research in Chennai (Madras), south India through grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Fulbright Program and the Asian Cultural Council. Her published work, both independent and collaborative, engages many scholarly discussions about the making of religious tradition, including interpretive history, translation, cultural analysis and feminist and gender studies.

I imagined it might be difficult for me to break into nonprofit work, but the directors told me that my degree gave me indispensable curiosity, communication skills, research abilities and this willingness to do hard work to help and honor another life. I did not know that working in AIDS advocacy was the work that my Arts and Letters degree was preparing me for, but as it turns out, it has prepared me in unexpected and invaluable ways. ”
Jaclyn Harte, DLitt Alumna 2015