Posted by: Christina Katopodis | 1st Aug, 2016

Ten Things to See Your First Week Exploring the City

When you come to visit New York as a tourist, it’s important to see the big historical sites like the Statue of Liberty and the September 11 Memorial, or you might want to eat at famous restaurants like Ess-a-Bagel and Carnegie Deli. When you come to live in New York, however, you’re probably looking for local favorites that are less crowded than Times Square. Here’s a list of ten things to do that you might consider your first week getting acquainted with the city.

  1. Walk around the Reservoir in Central Park and visit the Metropolitan Museum then walk uptown on 5th Ave to see the Museum of the City of New York. You might stop for lunch at Earl’s Beer and Cheese.
  2. Walk through Fort Tryon Park and visit the Cloisters.
  3. After an orientation event at the Graduate Center, walk downtown on 5th Avenue to get a burger or a milkshake at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, then walk across the street to the Eataly market. If you’re in the mood for dumplings, walk down 5th Ave from the Graduate Center to 32nd Street and take a right into Korea Town to go to Mandoo Bar. If you like craft beers go to Rattle N Hum on 33rd Street between 5th Ave and Madison for delicious sliders and 30+ taps. If you like wine, go to The Archive. If you’re vegan, try Franchia. It’s amazing.
  4. Cross the Brooklyn Bridge and get dumplings in Chinatown on the Manhattan side or a slice at Grimaldi’s on the Brooklyn side, then hop on the subway to get to Prospect Park and walk around Park Slope.
  5. Visit Chelsea, go to the Chelsea Market and walk along the High Line. If you’re interested in Chelsea’s night life try the Gotham Comedy Club and Trailer Park Lounge.
  6. Go to the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, get your library card and have a look around. Maybe eat lunch on the grass in Bryant Park.
  7. Get off at the Spring Street or Astor Place stop on the 6 train, walk above ground and take in the East Village and Lower Manhattan. Go to S’Mac for macaroni and cheese, Cafetasia for Thai food, 10 Degrees for wine and cheese, McSorley’s for beer, or Swift for your local pub fare with a literary twist. Then see a show at the Public Theatre.
  8. Go to Union Square and see people playing chess, playing music, or a dance group performance. Familiarize yourself with Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and hop into a bar or restaurant you’ve never been to before.
  9. Walk around Hell’s Kitchen and pop into the Amish Market or grab some Ethiopian food at 47th Street and 10th Ave or a delicious brunch at 44 ½.
  10. Walk uptown from the Graduate Center to take in Grand Central station on 42nd Street and Park Avenue. Enjoy the breath-taking ceiling and atmosphere and then walk through the market to get fresh vegetables, artisan cheeses and baked goods.

Make sure you bring cash with you everywhere because you’ll find that many places do not accept credit cards and only take cash. Also, bring a subway map with you—not only to navigate the subway but also to help you navigate neighborhoods. You can use Google Maps or HopStop on your phone for help with directions, but most people on the street are kind and helpful if you ask them for directions. Find another pedestrian like yourself who isn’t in a hurry on the sidewalk or perhaps stopped and waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk. Whether you’re interested in walking or biking outside in a park or doing something indoors on a rainy day, there’s always something to do in New York City. Part of the fun is getting lost and finding a hole-in-the-wall with great food and good people.

Christina Katopodis
Second Year English PhD Student
Posted by: Gwen Shaw | 1st Aug, 2016

Doctoral Certificate Programs at the GC

Although getting  your Ph.D. might seem like enough work (for a lifetime…), the GC offers several unique opportunities for additional bells and whistles to add to that fancy degree, like Doctoral Certificates! These certificates allow you to engage in interdisciplinary research in areas that are related, but outside, your home discipline. These doctoral certificates are approved by the state and give you the experience to work and teach in interdisciplinary fields for which there is no Ph.D. degree at the Graduate Center.

You can earn a doctoral certificate in the following areas:

Each of these programs consists of about five classes, or 15 credits: two or three core courses and two electives from anywhere at the GC (often these come from your home discipline, but don’t have to). Depending on the courses taken and the certificate program, you might even be able to use a cross-listed course twice for two different–yet applicable–certificates! This means that your New American Cinema class might count for both the Film Studies elective AND the American Studies elective! Use the links above to contact the Certificate Program with any questions or for more information.

So why bother? The certificates give you a theoretical and practical foundation through core courses in an interdisciplinary field of interest. In addition, because they are recognized by both the GC and the state, they appear on your transcript, which may come in handy when you’re on the market [for a *fingers crossed* tenure-track job]. Some of these interdisciplinary subject areas are also ones that are difficult to find in doctoral programs (although not impossible), so the doctoral certificate is an excellent way to demonstrate your interest in multiple areas at a doctoral level while earning your Ph.D. in one of the 30+ programs available at the GC. Consider it an enhanced non-related minor in a different discipline.

The upshot: If you have the time and desire, the certificate programs are a great way to broaden your knowledge and credentials to cover a wider range of interesting, interdisciplinary work. You’ll meet people from many different programs at the GC in your core classes, and learn new perspectives and methodologies.

Ask me; I’m earning five certificates, both for my own edification and research, as well as for my future job prospects. It does increase time-to-degree: I’m taking an extra year of coursework to finish everything (plus I came in without a M.A., so I am not as pressed for time as some of my colleagues who entered with one). That said, if you can spare the extra couple of classes, the certificate programs are a wonderful way to interact with colleagues from many different fields and work on complex problems with new, different, and exciting tools.

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

Posted by: Marisa Panzani | 28th Jul, 2016

Advice to new graduate students

You are starting a new graduate program in the Fall.  What better time to seek out some advice from scholars who have been down this road before you?  In looking for some advice written to new graduate students, we came across a piece by Stephen Spears at Yale called “A Modest Advice for Graduate Students.”  He has some straight forward advice that can apply to most disciplines and resonated with a few of our student authors for this blog.  He doesn’t, however,  feel the need to be warm and fuzzy.  So lest you walk away feeling that his advice is too harsh, you may also want to read “Reply to Stearns: Some Acynical Advice for Graduate Students” by Raymond Huey. Together they seem to strike a nice balance.

Two other great articles for new graduate students appeared in The Chronicle several years ago.  You may want to read An Open Letter to New Graduate Students and Too Much Self-Doubt? Try Thinking Like a Creator.

And while you haven’t even started yet, here is a short article giving some great advice on how not to become a PhD non-completer.

Have you read any advice about starting graduate school that you’d like to share with other incoming students?  Post a link in the comments section!

credit to David Whittaker @rundavidrun

Posted by: Marisa Panzani | 20th Jul, 2016

New Student Orientation and Convocation



10:15 am – 4:15 pm







10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Proshansky Auditorium Lobby, Concourse Level



11:00 a.m., Proshansky Auditorium, Concourse Level

Presentations by Graduate Center President Chase F. Robinson, Distinguished Professor Cathy Davidson, and others.



12:00 p.m., Proshansky Auditorium Lobby, Concourse Level


Student Life and Presentation on Graduate Center Library Resources and Graduate Center Digital Initiatives

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Proshansky Auditorium, Concourse Level


Housing Workshop

2:00 p.m., C198, Concourse Level


How to Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment: What you need to know

2:00 p.m., C201, Concourse Level


Strategizing for Your Professional Success Throughout Your Academic Program 

-Office of Career Planning and Professional Development 

2:00 to 2:30 p.m., C202, Concourse Level


Launching Your Teaching Career with the Teaching and Learning Center

2:30 to 3:00 p.m., C202, Concourse Level


Managing the Transition:  Finding Your Way Into and Out of Doctoral Study

Wellness Center/ Student Counseling Services

2:30 to 3:15 p.m., C204, Concourse Level


Wellness Center/ Student Health Services

3:15 to 4:15 p.m., C204, Concourse Level




International Students: Immigration Information, Living in New York, and Understanding the Graduate Center’s Academic System

(Duplicate sessions: attend only one)


Tuesday, August 16 1 to 4 p.m., Room 9207


Tuesday, August 23 1 to 4 p.m., Room 9207


Students must check in with the Office of International Students as soon as they arrive in New York, and should plan to attend one session listed above.


Immunization Clinic

Wellness Center, Suite 6422

Wednesday, August 17, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Posted by: Angela Dunne | 20th Jul, 2016

Best Study Spots Around the GC

As a student of the Graduate Center, you will have to figure out how to use the city as your campus. Discovering a great study spot is the most challenging in this regard. In this post, I will give you a rundown of some of the best study spot options broken down into the following four categories: Within the GC, outdoor public spaces, indoor public spaces, and study-friendly cafes.
Within the GC:
Sometimes when you’re in the GC it’s hard to leave, or you’re pressed for time, or the sky is precipitating. In that case, there are some options for studying inside the building. We have the lovely Mina Rees Library, with several types of accommodations for your studying needs. There are computer stations, cubicles, tables and comfy chairs. You are guaranteed to find a comfortable and quiet space to study in the library. Also, your department’s lounge is there for your use, however, most of them are used for socializing with fellow grad students and are most definitely procrastination traps. If you don’t mind some noise, the Dining Commons on the 8th floor is available to use. There is ample seating space, and unlike most places in the GC, it has natural sunlight, and a lot of it. If you are looking for somewhere more quiet and maybe want to meet with a study buddy, there is also the seating area in the Foundation Lounge (room 1102) that can be accessed through 365 Express right off the lobby on the first floor.
Outdoor Public Spaces:
There are small windows of time during the academic year when the weather makes it comfortable enough to study outside. However, if the weather is good, you should take the opportunity to experience it. The closest outdoor space is Bryant Park on 41st street behind the New York Public Library. It is a beautiful space with a lot of seating. The second closest is Madison Square Park on 26th Street, right off Fifth Avenue.
Indoor Public Spaces:
You are welcome to study inside any of the branches of the New York Public Library. I encourage you to go and explore the main branch and discover your favorite spot within that beautiful NYC landmark. As for other indoor public spaces, the NYC Gov. actually created a zoning initiative program in 1961 that allotted additional building area to private developers in exchange for indoor public spaces. Luckily for us, there are a few of them around midtown. The most beautiful of these is maintained by The Ford Foundation and is located at 320 E 43rd St, although, unlike some of the others, this one doesn’t have many seating options.
Here is a link for more information:
Study-Friendly Cafés:
As for where to find the best coffee, I suggest you take a look at Gerry Martini’s post about caffeine. It is important to note that many of the places with the best coffee have very little space and would be better for grabbing your caffeine and heading to one of the indoor/outdoor public spaces to do your studying. Therefore my recommendations are more focused on whether or not a café is suitable as a study spot.
Here is a list of study-friendly cafés, roughly in the order of distance from the GC:
Pret a Manger– 389 Fifth Ave (on 36th street)
Panera Bread– 330 Fifth Ave (b/t 32nd and 33rd)
Gregory’s Coffee– 48 E 33rd St (b/t Park and Madison)
Caffebene– 39W 32nd St (off Fifth Ave)
Grace Street – 17 W 32nd St (b/t Fifth & Broadway)
Come Buy (Bubble Tea) – 251 Fifth Ave (b/t 28 &29th)
Argo Tea– 949 Broadway (at 23rd St)

Please comment below if you discover more study spot options around the GC!

Posted by: Marisa Panzani | 14th Jul, 2016

Ten Articles All Doctoral Students Should Read

Posted by: Gerry Martini | 7th Jul, 2016

Loving the Libraries!

As a grad student, you will not only conduct research, but you will frantically search for your sources, whether those sources are books on 19th century Talmudic commentaries, articles on Puerto Rican feminist punk music, or photographs of Minoan wall paintings. The good news is that you can find everything in New York. The bad news is that you won’t necessarily find it as quickly as you want.

If you’ve already visited the Graduate Center, you probably noticed that Mina Rees Library seems pretty small for a university library. It is. However, through the Mina Rees Library you have access to all of the materials at all CUNY libraries and a large number of libraries across the United States. Through CLICS, you can request books from all other CUNY libraries and have them delivered to you at the GC. And if that isn’t enough, you can request articles, chapters, and books from other university libraries through the Interlibrary Loan program.

Another important research tool is the New York Public Library. The NYPL includes the Stephan A. Schwarzman research center (conveniently only eight blocks from the GC), the Science, Industry and Business Library (conveniently right behind the GC), and all of the local branches (convenience levels vary). To access the NYPL, you’ll need an NYPL card. If you live in New York, all you’ll need to do is present proof of residency (bank statement, photo identification, etc.). If you have the misfortune to live outside of New York, you’ll still be able to get a card through your affiliation with CUNY.

There are also lots of private libraries in New York, which thankfully have their collections linked to WorldCat. These include museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Morgan Library and Museum, as well as organizations such as the American Numismatic Society. Access varies, but your search might be well rewarded if you look off the beaten track.

Posted by: Bethany D. Holmstrom | 25th Jun, 2016

Seeing theatre in NYC on a budget…

Here’s some advice on seeing affordable theatre in New York: find out a show’s rush/discount policies before going, and always carry your student ID when going to the box office.

Student rush tickets demand both some flexibility (because there are no guarantees) and pre-planning. Many Broadway and off-Broadway shows will sell student rush tickets for $20-40 on the day of performance, typically limited to 1 or 2 tickets per student id. Be sure to carefully review the policies before you go: some box offices demand cash only, others let you use a debit/credit card. Rush tickets might be available when the box office opens in the morning, or might not be available until a few hours before the show ( see the Broadway theatre policies here:, and the off-Broadway offerings, here: Typically you have better luck scoring rush tickets on week-night shows (particularly for Broadway theatre) during the school year.

A few theatres provide discounted tickets throughout the season: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the Signature Theatre have $25 tickets for many shows with limited availability, so you are encouraged to book early. Other theatres ask that you join a mailing list/club online for student ticket prices, like Roundabout’s HipTix ( Unfortunately, many of the online/list programs have age restrictions (usually 30 or 35). Keep your eye on the Village Voice, Time Out, and discount mailing programs for upcoming shows and ticket deals.

Even the “hottest tickets” on Broadway, like The Book of Mormon, can be seen on a student budget (with a fair amount of luck, since Book of Mormon relies on a lottery system). You are in the best city for theatre in the entire country, and even on your paltry student budget that makes all your non-PhD-pursuing friends laugh (and then, if they are really good friends, buy you a pity drink—these good friends are the same ones that greatly appreciate it when you offer them the second discounted rush ticket you got, by the way), you can see a lot of amazing performances.

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

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