Posted by: Gwen Shaw | 24th Jun, 2016

Should You Audit Courses?

What is auditing? Why bother taking a course not for credit? What are the benefits? Not every department allows you to audit courses, but there are many that do. According to the GC Student Handbook:

Matriculated students may audit courses in which they have an interest so that they can increase their knowledge and proficiency. Students must formally register to audit courses in the same manner as for any other course…. “Unofficial” auditing is not permitted. Auditor status
cannot be changed to credit status after the change-of-program period has ended. Similarly, credit status cannot be changed to auditor status after the same period. The grade notation “AUD,” which carries no earned credit, cannot be changed to any other credit-bearing
I didn’t even consider auditing courses until I was in my second year at the GC. To be honest, I didn’t even know exactly what it entailed. But due to exam requirements in my program, I couldn’t register for as many credits as I had wanted to. The solution? Take one course for credit (it was all I could register for) and audit the rest!
Since then I’ve audited several courses. I wish someone had told me about it sooner. For me, auditing was a way for me to get experience with subject matter that had always seemed important but peripheral to my course of study. In addition, it allowed me to take courses with professors with whom I might want to work–without the pressure and anxiety of performing well in a subject matter that is not my strong suit. I was able to experience methods that I had always been resistant to without having to wrangle with writing a paper using them or working in a discipline outside my own.
Besides, who doesn’t want increased “knowledge and proficiency?” Sounds awesome. AND:
For doctoral Second- and Third-Level students, who are charged a flat tuition rate, there is no additional charge for auditing courses. [Woo hoo!]
BUT the GC Student Handbook continues:
For doctoral Second- and Third-Level students, who are charged a flat tuition rate, there is no additional charge for auditing courses. For doctoral First-Level students and  master’s students, audited courses will be included in the calculation of total credits to determine full- or part-time status. Students registered for 7 or more credits (whether for credit or as an audit) will be charged full-time tuition, whereas students registered for 6 or fewer total credits will be charged per credit. Thus, a student registered for both a 3-credit course for credit and a 3-credit course as an audit will be charged for 6 credits at the per-credit rate;
and a student registered for both a 3-credit course for  credit and a 4-credit course as an audit will be charged full-time tuition.

IMPORTANT! So, if you are not full-time or paying out-of-state tuition, auditing a course may not be in your best interest. The GC Student Handbook notes that

For billing purposes, courses taken by Level I students on an audit basis will be treated the same as courses taken for credit and will be included in the assessment of tuition charges.

Thinking about auditing a course? Talk to your department to see if that’s an option. Not sure about whether it’s a good idea for you? Contact the GC Registrar at 212-817-7500 or

Gwendolyn Shaw is a fourth-year doctoral student in Art History at the Graduate Center.

Posted by: Elaine Montilla | 20th Jun, 2016

Information Technology – New User Orientation

As a new member of the Graduate Center community, the Information Technology Department would like to introduce you to the services, products and information available.

You may email us at  if you have any questions, or need assistance.


Information Technology

Posted by: Gerry Martini | 14th Jun, 2016

New Students Day August 23rd

Please mark your calendars:


New Students Day

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

9am to 4pm

The Graduate Center, CUNY

365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street

New York, NY



Dining Commons

Specially priced student meals are available (with CUNY I.D.) in the Dining Commons Cafeteria, 8th Floor, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the semester and, on a limited basis, during the week preceding the start of classes.

Posted by: Marisa Panzani | 13th Jun, 2016

Registration Information

Please be advised that new student registration at the Graduate Center will not begin until August 17th.   Registration materials will be sent out in early August and they will come to you by email.  Please make sure that you update us if you make any changes to your email address between now and then.  Send those updates to prior to registering.  After you have registered, any updates to your contact info should be directed to

Posted by: Marisa Panzani | 9th Jun, 2016

NY State Residency

If you are a US Citizen living in NY for the last year, but not at one continuous address since August 28th, 2015, then you need to document your residency with the registrar’s office.  There is a form to fill out that can be found here.

If you are a US citizen but not a NY resident for the past year, you may also want to look at the form to make sure that keep the necessary documents starting on August 27th of 2016 in order to qualify for NY State residency in your second year of study.

Questions about residency should be directed to the Registrar’s Office by email at

We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

Posted by: Gerry Martini | 30th May, 2016

Caffeine Makes the World Brighter

Welcome to New York. Now that you have gotten into school and have started looking at apartments, it’s time to talk about the serious issues that face an incoming student: where to get caffeine. Preferably tasty caffeine, in the form of coffee.

We’ll assume that you are trying to avoid Starbucks. Because you are not the sort of person who is in favor of union busting. Or of corporations who use their clout to manipulate world coffee commodities markets to keep poor coffee farmers poor. Or of a place that exaggerates its commitment to Fair-Trade coffee. But if you are the sort of person who isn’t bothered by those things, stick your head out the Graduate Center’s front door, walk in any direction, and your satanic thirst will be sated within minutes.

For the rest of you, let me offer my humble coffee-loving advice.

If you are looking for beans to make your own coffee, try Dallis Bros. Coffee, a Queens coffee roaster (now merged with a New Jersey roaster) that first opened in 1913. I have tried more than a dozen of their roasts so far, and while I definitely have a few favorites (one of which is the Red Den Blend—while most of their selection rotates seasonally, this one is always available), I have never had any cause for complaint. They generally have a few espresso roast choices too, including the Alphabet City Blend which I had for the first time at Ninth Street Espresso, which are very tasty. And though they no longer deliver to your door by horse-drawn cart, you generally only need a few days to receive your order.

If you are at the GC and need a hit of caffeine, I would recommend Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Their Manhattan location is on 28th St between 5th and 6th Aves, adjacent to the Ace Hotel. This establishment—brought to us by those coffee zealots out in Portland, OR—serves a mean cup of coffee. Or cappuccino. Or iced coffee. Or really anything that I, or anyone I know who has been there, has had. Also your purchase of a beverage from Stumptown allows you to ask the concierge at the hotel for their wireless password, so you can hang out, do some work, people watch, or just drink your coffee, all in the Ace’s lobby (just FYI—there is also a bar in the lobby). It’s not a bad place to study—if you can find a spot to sit. One thing to remember: go to the ATM first because it’s cash only. Or “forget” that it’s cash only and go with someone who you know is loaded and let them pay. (Note: This may have changed now–I will go back to check in!)

Another great choice for coffee in the area is Culture Espresso, which you will find at the corner of 38th St and 6th Ave. The vibe is similar to Stumptown (bespectacled, tattooed, and vest-wearing baristas will serve you, many with suspenders) though there is no big lobby to hang out in. However you can pay with a credit card here, so you don’t have to have remembered to hit up a cash machine before getting your latte.

Now over a year old is Hole in the Wall. The name doesn’t lie; this is a great place to grab some tasty coffee, however it’s tiny so you won’t be there to sit and read. That’s because there are zero seats and space for only about four people in the shop. Located at 420 5th Ave, you actually have to enter the building on the 37th or 38th Street entrances to the building (it’s in a corner of the lobby). They serve up very nice espressos, flat whites, and cortados, and carry an array of Dough Donuts.

My new favorite spot is Trademark Grind on 36th between 5th and 6th Aves. Jo & co. serve fantastic drinks and baked goods. Their cortados are so good that I usually order two at a time. If I have one complaint it’s that they list their roaster, Sweetleaf, as being from Greenpoint when I want them to get the credit they deserve for originating in my borough, Queens (can I help it that Brooklyn then imported our great stuff?).  This is a pretty minor complaint in an overall delicious spot though; a must-taste, as far as I’m concerned!

Sometimes a walk doesn’t fit in the brief time between classes. In that case, just go to the café in the GC lobby. It’s relatively cheap and the coffee is a little better than average.

When you move into your new neighborhood, ask around as to where the best coffee is (or ask the New York Times, who has this nice good-coffee-finding map). You will likely be spending the next several years with too little sleep, cramming too much into too little time. So it’s good to know where locally you can find a nice cup of coffee to rely on for your coming ordeals.  Remember my motto: caffeinate early and caffeinate often.

Posted by: Esther Bernstein | 18th May, 2016

Your Real New York

One of those quizzes was circulating on Facebook recently, this one about foods in New York. The quiz itself was amusing, a bit of fun. But the comments were more interesting to me. There were some very strong opinions about items in the list.

“I’m a New Yorker born and bred, and I got a low score on this quiz because I’ve never been in the fancy restaurants on this list. That isn’t ‘the real New York.'”

“I’m a New Yorker born and bred and I’ve never eaten from the halal carts. That’s a tourist attraction. That isn’t ‘the real New York.'”

The really interesting part is that anyone thinks there is only one “real New York.” If you spend all your time in one neighborhood, you might think you know what New York is about. But move just five blocks over, and you may have entered a different world.

If I have one piece of advice to someone moving to New York for the first time, it would be this: Explore. Find your spot. Find your “real New York.” And then keep exploring.

I grew up in Brooklyn and went to City College in Harlem. I was in and out of Brooklyn and Manhattan fairly often, and I was sure I knew many parts of New York. I was pretty confident in my subway abilities.

Then I moved to Morningside Heights, and suddenly realized everything I thought I’d known about how Manhattan works was from a visitor’s perspective. I took the local B train from Morningside Heights to the Graduate Center. As I spent some time above ground in the neighborhoods along that route, I began imagining them above me as I traveled each morning and evening. It’s kind of cool, that realization that in a 20-minute train ride, I’ve passed under at least four distinct areas.

When you get to New York, the most important area to get to know might be midtown, around the Graduate Center. But even here, if you ask a GC student about what’s good to eat in this area, the answer you get will vary wildly depending on whether that student tends to go south or north to find food.

Get to know the neighborhood where you’re living too. But don’t forget to venture into other areas. If you’re going to do a weekend brunch, travel a bit and head to a place you’ve never been. If you’re going to study or do some work, find a cafe in another part of New York. Take long walks – especially at the beginning of the year when the weather is still nice – and pay attention to the changing facades as you make your way across town.

Don’t isolate yourself in Bushwick, Astoria, and midtown. Get to know your city, and to appreciate that someone else’s “real New York” will be very different from your own.

Posted by: Angela Dunne | 13th May, 2016

Develop the Mind; Don’t Spurn the Body.

Although our beloved CUNY Graduate Center does not have a gym, the Wellness Center does offer *low cost fitness classes to registered graduate students. The courses consist of Yoga and Pilates for beginner and expert alike. The instructors that I’ve had are extremely friendly and accommodating to all levels. The courses do fill up fast, so be sure to visit the website and be aware of the registration dates.

In the case that you don’t get a spot or are looking for something a little more on the cardio side, there are other free fitness options in this city. The NYC Parks and Recreation Department has a program called Shape Up NYC that offers free fitness classes at various recreation centers in all five boroughs. The classes include Yoga, Zumba, Aerobics, African Dance, Kickboxing, Self-Defense and other body shaping activities. You don’t have to belong to a recreation center to attend these classes but in the case that you wanted a membership it costs only $25 a year for people 24 and under (unfortunately, a lot of us have missed the boat on that one).

As a CUNY Graduate Student there is also the possibility of membership to the Baruch Athletics and Recreation Complex and the John Jay College Cardiovascular Fitness Center. However, the annual fee for the ARC is $100 and for John Jay is $275, which are definitely not bad but I’d take advantage of the cheaper/ no cost options- at least until you’ve established how much time for fitness you will actually have as a grad student.

Another great option for free fitness is taking the stairs at the Graduate Center, instead of the elevators. I’m serious. Why not?



* For GC students, one registration period (6 classes) costs:

Yoga $15, Pilates $30


For more information visit:

Posted by: Cihan Tekay | 1st May, 2016

Health Info

Feeling under the weather? The GC has a Wellness Center located in Room 6422 and staffed by a licensed Nurse Practitioner (NP). A note here for international students like myself, since it took me a while to figure this out: a NP is a health professional who provides primary health care similar to physicians in other countries. NPs can order diagnostic tests, treat medical conditions, prescribe medication, etc. Another notion that is unfamiliar to those of us who come from countries with universal health care: the health services at the GC are free, but if you don’t have health insurance, tests can cost you. However, if you order them through the Wellness Center, the cost is reduced and partially subsidized by the DSC. For more information and a full list of services provided by the Wellness Center, click here.

If you have a health emergency and go to an Emergency Room (ER) within the borders of New York state, there is something called Emergency Medicaid which you could potentially qualify for. Also see this list of free and reduced-cost clinics in New York. While we are here, let me note that the DSC Health & Wellness blog is a great online resource for navigating health-related matters as a grad student, and I find this guide on how to navigate NYSHIP (if you are insured through the GC or Cuny, this is your health insurance) very useful, especially if you want to avoid overpaying for your medical expenses. Follow the blog or @healthDSCcuny on Twitter if you want to keep updated on free workshops and health services throughout the year (hint: chair massages during finals!)

Graduate school is hard on the body and the mind! Take advantage of the free, confidential counseling services provided by the GC. If grad school is hard on your relationship(s), you can sign up for couple’s therapy as well. If you have health insurance and seek long-term options, the counselors at the GC can also refer you to mental health professionals outside the GC.

New York falls and winters can be brutal. Moreover, crowded subway rides and small-sized classrooms tend to leave you prone to infections. Get a free flu vaccine to be prepared! Sitting in classrooms or in front of a computer doesn’t help with our overall well-being either. To get your body moving, you can sign up for a yoga or pilates class at the GC for $15, or join the gym on other Cuny campuses. If you are prone to winter blues like I am, make sure to check out a SAD lamp from the DSC office, Room 5495.

Are you a parent? If you are a new mother, you can use Room 7408 for your nursing needs by presenting your current GC ID and completing a key request form in the Office of Student Affairs in Room 7301. The GC also provides subsidized child care services through the Child Development and Learning Center. To apply, schedule an appointment with the Director, Linda Perrotta at 212-817-7032. If you are a doctoral student and a new parent, make sure to read and request GC’s detailed Parental Accommodation Policy in order to get all the support that you need.

Posted by: Cihan Tekay | 21st Apr, 2016

Free Stuff at the GC

Welcome to The Graduate Center! One of the best parts of being a student is the availability of free and low-cost resources available to you on campus. Even though our campus mainly consists of a huge building which used to be a department store, you will be surprised at the wide array of resources available to you!

Free Stuff & Discounts! Unsurprisingly, some of the best student resources are made available by student-run organizations. At the GC, all student organizations are housed under the Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC), which is the body representing Master’s and Doctoral students. For starters, stop by their main office at Room 5495 during their office hours to pick up free condoms and other safer sex materials, help yourself to some coffee, or buy discount movie tickets. While you are on this floor, check out the computer hub in Room 5487, a small, quiet room where you can work on PCs, or use the printer and scanner. In this room as elsewhere in the GC building such as the library and program lounges, students have unlimited free printing, as well as access to scanners (but please be green and print responsibly!)

The DSC also provides free legal consultations, rooms for meetings and events, lockers by lottery, among other cool and useful things.  Run for a seat in the DSC to represent your program or the student body at-large, submit an article to Advocate, our student newspaper, join a chartered organization, organize an event or a conference.

Public events. Film screenings, concerts, panels, talks, exhibits and more! Check out the calendar of public events for programming ranging from political satire and analysis of current affairs in the Middle East to music & dance from Barcelona. The GC is also a great place to learn about New York City: from the displacement of queer people of color to the loss of middle-class neighborhoods in Stuy Town and the mayor’s take on state of inequality in the city. Are you the artsy type? James Gallery (to your left when you enter the lobby) and The Center for Humanities have cool exhibits and events year-round. These events have free admission for students (and sometimes for the public as well,) but make sure to reserve your seats ahead of time, as popular events run out of space fast!

Check in with Student Services to find out if they have other discount/free items available for students.

Speaking of free stuff: problems with your paycheck? Reach out to a student coordinator at the Adjunct Project or a union rep. Graduate student & adjunct labor keeps CUNY running! If you are looking to apply for in-state tuition, health insurance, clear holds, register a disability (for access to adaptive equipment), take a consortium course, or more, here’s a quick guide to GC offices.

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