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Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center is located in the former B. Altman building at 365 Fifth Avenue.
The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York
Motto The Life of the Mind in the Heart of the City
Established 1961
Type Public
President Chase F. Robinson
Provost Louise Lennihan (Interim Provost)
Academic staff
140 core, 1,700 consortial
Location New York City, New York, United States
Campus Urban

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) is a public American research college based in New York City, and is the principal doctoral-granting institution of the CUNY system. The school is situated in a nine-story landmark building at 365 Fifth Avenue at the corner of 34th Street in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan, across the corner from the Empire State Building. The Graduate Center has 4,600 students, 33 doctoral programs, 7 master's programs, and 30 research centers and institutes. A core faculty of approximately 140 is supplemented by over 1,700 additional faculty members drawn from throughout CUNY's eleven senior colleges and New York City's cultural and scientific institutions.

Graduate Center faculty include recipients of the Guggenheim Fellowships, the New York City Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, and memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

In addition to academics, the Graduate Center extends its intellectual and cultural resources to the general public, offering access to a wide range of events, including lectures, symposia, performances, and workshops.


  • History 1
  • Academics 2
  • Research 3
    • Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) 3.1
    • Initiatives and committees 3.2
    • Centers and institutes 3.3
    • Luxembourg Income Study 3.4
  • Faculty 4
  • Mina Rees Library 5
  • Student life 6
  • Cultural Center 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


CUNY began offering doctoral education through its Division of Graduate Studies in 1961,[1] and awarded its first two Ph.D.s to Daniel Robinson and Barbara Stern in 1965. Robinson, currently a professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford, received his Ph.D. in psychology,[2] while Stern, late of Rutgers University, received her Ph.D. in English literature.[3]

In 1969, the Division of Graduate Studies formally became the Graduate School and University Center.[4] Mathematician Mina S. Rees served as the institution's first president from 1969 until her retirement in 1972.[5] Rees was succeeded as president of the Graduate Center by environmental psychologist Harold M. Proshansky, who served until his death in 1990.[6] Political scientist Frances Degen Horowitz was appointed president in September, 1991.[7] In 2005, Horowitz was succeeded by the school's provost, Professor of English Literature William P. Kelly.[8]

During Kelly's tenure at the Graduate Center the University has seen significant growth in revenue, funding opportunities for students, increased Distinguished Faculty and a general resurgence.[9] This is in accordance with three primary goals articulated in the Graduate Center’s strategic plan.[10] The first of these involves enhancing student support. In 2013, 83 dissertation-year fellowships were awarded at a total cost of $1.65 million. The Graduate Center is also developing new programs to advance research prior to the dissertation phase, including archival work. The fiscal stability of the university has enabled the chancellery to increase, on an incremental basis, the value of these fellowships. The packages extended for 2013-14 year increase stipends and reduce teaching requirements. In 2001, the Graduate Center provided 14 million dollars in student support, and, in Fall 2013, 51 million in student support.[10]

On April 23, 2013, the CUNY Board of Trustees announced that president Kelly would serve as interim chancellor for the City University of New York beginning July 1 with the retirement of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.[11] GC Provost Chase F. Robinson was appointed to serve as interim president of the Graduate Center in 2013, and then became president in July 2014.[12]


Faculty members regularly receive prestigious honors and awards. Some recent examples include the Guggenheim Fellowships, the New York City Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, and memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. Many departments are recognized internationally for their level of scholarship.

Courses in the social sciences, humanities, and mathematics, and courses in the sciences requiring no laboratory work convene at the Graduate Center. Due to the consortial nature of doctoral study at the Graduate Center, courses requiring laboratory work, courses for the clinical doctorates, and courses in business, criminal justice, engineering, and social welfare convene on CUNY college campuses.

The CUNY Graduate Center pioneered the CUNY Academic Commons in 2009 to much praise.[13] The CUNY Academic Commons is an online, academic social network for faculty, staff, and graduate students of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. Designed to foster conversation, collaboration, and connections among the 24 individual colleges that make up the university system, the site, founded in 2009, has quickly grown as a hub for the CUNY community, serving in the process to strengthen a growing group of digital scholars, teachers, and open-source projects at the university. The project has received awards and grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,[14] the Sloan Consortium [15] and was the winner of the 2013 Digital Humanities Award.[16] It continues to be in the forefront of scholarly social media.

Also affiliated with the institution are four University Center programs: CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies through which undergraduates can earn individualized bachelor's degrees by completing courses at any of the CUNY colleges; the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the associated Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies; the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which offers a master's degree in journalism; and Macaulay Honors College.


Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)

The CUNY Graduate Center's Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) program conducts research in seven core areas of study:[17]

  1. Immigration - Research on the cultural, social and political impact of migration. A special focus is given to the role of immigration in New York City as well as studies on the experience of immigration in other nations.
  2. Inequality - How to mobilize communities towards various alternatives to address the various and growing inequalities in society.
  3. Transnational Non-state Actors: inter- and nongovernmental organizations, corporations and media.
  4. Urban Studies: How public, businesses and nonprofit organizations play a role in the challenges faced by large cities around the world.
  5. Digital Initiatives: Research on digital resources and projects as well as the digital humanities and data mining.
  6. Humanities: Interdisciplinary research by writers, opinion makers and scholars.
  7. Human Ecodynamics: An interdisciplinary exploration of present and past international interactions between nature and humans.

Initiatives and committees

The CUNY Graduate Center does additional work through its initiatives and committees:[18]

  • Futures Initiative
  • Graduate Center Digital Initiatives
  • Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences (ITS)
  • Revolutionizing American Studies Initiative
  • The Committee for the Study of Religion
  • The Committee on Globalization and Social Change
  • The Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies

Centers and institutes

With over 30 research institutes and centers the CUNY Graduate Center produces work on a range of social, cultural, scientific and civic issues.[19]

  • American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning
    • New Media Lab
  • Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation
    • Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments
    • 18th-Century Symphony Archive (1720-1840)
    • Foundation for Iberian Music
    • French Opera in the 17th and 18th Centuries, A Facsimile Series
    • Music in Gotham: The New York Scene (1863-1875)
      • Pergolesi Research Center
    • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
    • Research Center for Music Iconography
    • Xenakis Project of the Americas
    • Music in 21st-Century Society
  • Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies
  • Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE)
  • Center for Human Environments
  • Center for Jewish Studies
    • Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies
    • Institute for Sephardic Studies
  • Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
  • Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS)
  • Center for Place, Culture and Politics
  • Center for the Humanities
  • Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work
  • Center for the Study of Women and Society
  • Center for Urban Education Policy
  • Center for Urban Research
  • Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
  • CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development (CISDD)
  • European Union Studies Center
  • Stanton/Heiskell Center
  • Gotham Center for New York City History
  • Henri Peyre French Institute
  • Human Ecodynamics Research Center
  • Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context
  • Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas & the Caribbean (IRADAC)
  • Language Reading Program
  • Latin/Greek Institute
  • Leon Levy Center for Biography
  • Martin E. Segal Theatre Center
  • Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC)
  • Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
    • United Nations Intellectual History Project
    • Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    • Academic Council on the United Nations New York Office
    • Program on States and Security
    • Center for Global Ethics and Politics
  • Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS)
  • Saul Kripke Center
  • The Writers' Institute at The Graduate Center

Luxembourg Income Study

Is a non-profit micro-data archive and research institute. The center is located in Luxembourg with a satellite in New York City at the CUNY Graduate center. It serves the global community of researchers, educators and policy makers.[20] It houses the Luxembourg Income Study Database, which is the largest available database of micro-data collected from multiple countries and the Luxembourg Wealth Study Database, which is the only cross-national wealth database in existence.[21]

B. Altman Building CUNY Graduate Center 34th Street entrance


Notable faculty members include historian David Nasaw, biophysicist William Bialek, composer John Corigliano, geographer David Harvey, physicist Michio Kaku, philosopher Saul Kripke, economist Paul Krugman, philosopher David M. Rosenthal, and mathematician Dennis Sullivan.

Mina Rees Library

The Mina Rees Library, named after former Graduate Center president Mina S. Rees, supports the research, teaching, and learning activities of the Graduate Center by connecting its community with print materials, electronic resources, research assistance and instruction, and expertise about the complexities of scholarly communication. Situated on three floors of the Graduate Center, the library is a hub for discovery, delivery, and digitization, as well as a place for solitary study. The library offers many services, including research consultations, a 24/7 online chat service with reference librarians, and workshops and webinars on using research tools.

The library also serves as a gateway to the collections of other CUNY libraries, the New York Public Library (NYPL), and libraries worldwide. It participates in a CUNY-wide book delivery system and offers an interlibrary loan service to bring materials from outside CUNY to Graduate Center scholars. The main branch of NYPL is just a few blocks up Fifth Avenue, and NYPL’s Science, Industry and Business Library is just around the corner. Graduate Center students and faculty are NYPL’s primary academic constituents, with borrowing privileges from NYPL research collections. NYPL’s participation in the Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI) extends borrowing privileges for CUNY Graduate Center students to NYU and Columbia libraries as well.

The Mina Rees Library is a key participant in the Graduate Center’s digital initiatives. It supports the digital scholarship of students and faculty, and promotes the understanding, creation, and use of open access literature.[22] Among its special collections is the Activist Women's Voices collection, an oral history project focused on unheralded New York City community-based women activists.[23][24]

Student life

Students at the CUNY Graduate Center have the option of living in Graduate housing, located in East Harlem. The eight story building includes a gym, laundry facilities, lounge and rooftop terrace with views of the Midtown skyline.[25] The Graduate housing was opened in the Fall of 2011 in conjunction with the construction of the Hunter College School of Social Work.[26]

The Doctoral Students’ Council is the sole policy-making body representing students in doctoral and master’s programs at the Graduate Center.[27]

There are over forty doctoral student organizations ranging from the Middle Eastern Studies Organization and Africana Studies Group to the Prison Studies Group and the Immigration Working Group.[28] These chartered organizations host conferences, publish online magazines, and create social events aimed at fostering a community for CUNY Graduate Center students.

Doctoral students at the Graduate Center also produces a newspaper funded by the DSC and run by a committee of editors from the various doctoral programs. The paper, entitled The GC Advocate, comes out six times per academic year and is free of charge for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.[29]

Cultural Center

The CUNY Graduate Center houses three performance spaces and two art galleries.[30] The Harold M. Proshansky Auditorium, named for the institution's second president, is located on the concourse level and contains 389 seats.[31] The Baisley Powell Elebash Recital Hall, located on the first floor, seats 180.[32] The Martin E. Segal Theatre, also located on the first floor, seats 70.[33] The Amie and Tony James Art Gallery, located on the first floor with windows on Fifth Avenue, features the work of current artists,[34] as does the Foundation Gallery, also on the first floor.


  1. ^ About the Graduate Center
  2. ^ "Prof Dan Robinson". University of Oxford > Faculty of Philosophy > Members > Senior Research Fellows > Robinson Dan. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Holbrook, M. B. (1 March 2009). "In memoriam -- Barbara B. Stern (Co-Editor of Marketing Theory, 2000--2008)". Marketing Theory. pp. 5–7.  
  4. ^ Judy Green, Jeanne LaDuke, Saunders Mac Lane, and Uta C. Merzbach (August 1998). "Memorial Articles - Mina Spiegel Rees (1902-1997)" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. American Mathematical Society. pp. 866–873. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Riddle, Larry. "Mina Rees (August 2, 1902 - October 25, 1997)". Biographies of Women Mathematicians. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Narvaez, Alfonso A. (14 December 1990). "Harold M. Proshansky Dies at 70; Head of CUNY's Graduate School". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Pres. Frances Degen Horowitz". CUNY TV » City University Television. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "President William P. Kelly". Trustees>>Borough Hearings>>Manhattan. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Update from President Kelly". Program in Philosophy Graduate Center, CUNY Commons. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Strategic Plan: 2012–2016" (PDF). CUNY Graduate Center Strategic Plan for 2012–2016. November 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Graduate Center President William P. Kelly Appointed as CUNY Interim Chancellor Beginning July 1". The City University of New York. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Provost Robinson to Lead GC as Interim President". The Graduate Center City University of New York. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Commons Buzz". Academic Commons News. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Gold, Matthew K. (22 November 2011). "The CUNY Academic Commons Announces The Commons in a Box Project". Academic Commons News. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Janet C. Moore; Eileen Pacheco (9 July 2012). "Sloan-C Honors Effective Practices in Online and Blended Education". Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ CUNY Graduate Center: Advanced Research Collaborative. Webpage. Accessed: 25 July 2013
  18. ^ Initiatives & Committees CUNY Graduate Center Retrieved: 25 July 2013
  19. ^ CUNY Graduate Center. Centers & Institutions. Retrieved: 30 July 2013
  20. ^ "What is LIS?". Luxembourg Income Study. 
  21. ^ "About the Luxembourg Income Study". Luxembourg Income Study Database. 
  22. ^ "GC Library Open Access Statement". Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "Research Projects: The Activist Women's Voices Oral History Project and Archive".  
  24. ^ Armitage, Sue (2011). "The Stages of Women's Oral History". In Ritchie, Donald A. The Oxford Handbook of Oral History. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 180–181.  
  25. ^ "Housing FAQs". Prospective & Current Students > Student Life > Housing. CUNY Graduate Center. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "Housing". Prospective & Current Students > Student Life > Housing. CUNY Graduate Center. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  27. ^ DSC Site:
  28. ^ "List of Chartered Organizations". The CUNY Doctoral Students' Council. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Event Planning". About the GC > Resources & Services > Facilities Services & Campus Planning. CUNY Graduate Center. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "Proshansky Auditorium". About the GC > Building Venues & Particulars. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  32. ^ "Elebash Recital Hall". About the GC > Building Venues & Particulars. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  33. ^ "Segal Theatre". About the GC > Building Venues & Particulars. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  34. ^ "James Gallery". About the GC > Building Venues & Particulars. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 

External links

  • Official website
  • CUNY Academic Commons
  • CUNY Graduate Center Mina Rees Library
  • The Doctoral Students' Council (student government at CUNY Graduate Center)
  • CUNY Graduate Center Advocate (student newspaper)

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