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January Term

Session Dates: January 3 - 20, 2017

Tisch School of the Arts offers January Term courses to all NYU and visiting undergraduate students. This is an opportunity for students to take courses in New York City to complete degree requirements or pursue personal interests in various artistic disciplines. Courses are offered for credit and noncredit. 

Visiting students interested in taking courses during January Term should complete the visiting student application.

Note: Non-credit (NCRD-UT) courses cannot be applied towards a degree.


Fundamentals of Developing the Screenplay

OART-UT 35 / NCRD-UT 9035 / 3 units

The course combines lectures on the basics of feature length screenwriting with the development of the student’s own writing work. Students are required to complete 50-70 pages of a full length screenplay with an outline of the rest. The students study story structure, conflict, and character, in conjunction with the screening and study of several classic films and screenplays. The writing process starts in the first month with a focus on exercises to help students develop five story ideas with the complexity and depth to sustain a full-length screenplay. One of these ideas will serve as the basis for the required work. Each idea can be described in one or two paragraphs. Special instructions: All students must come to the first class with three ideas for full-length screenplays.

Fundamentals of Filmmaking I: The Art of Visual Storytelling

OART-UT 560 / OART-GT 2560 / NCRD-UT 560 / 4 units

This practical workshop is designed to introduce students to the techniques and theory of developing and producing short film ideas that are shot on digital video and edited digitally on computer using Adobe Premiere Pro software. The course centers on learning elements of visual storytelling through a spectrum of aesthetic approaches. Working in crews of four, students learn directing, shooting, and editing skills as they each direct three short videos (three to five minutes in length). This course is specifically designed to fulfill the major requirements in production of students not majoring in film and therefore, students who need to fulfill this requirement are given registration priority. 

Media Moguls in the 20th Century

OART-UT 562 / NCRD-UT 562 / 4 units

This course attempts to track the American entertainment industry from its plebian origins through its rise to becoming the predominant mass entertainment culture in the world. Students discover the origins of the production practices that are employed in the entertainment industry today by following the legendary characters, movie moguls, and media titans of the early 20th century and the companies they built. The emphasis is on the way the visionaries of the time impacted seemingly risk-averse systems to invigorate and sometimes completely revolutionize them. These innovative men and women include, but are not limited, to Louis B. Mayer, George Lucas, Maya Deren, Shirley Clark, Nam Jun Paik, Lucille Ball, Russell Simmons, Clive Davis, Julie Taymor, and Steve Jobs.

Understanding Story

OART-UT 568 / NCRD-UT 568 / 4 units

Understanding Story is a class composed of lectures, discussions, screenings, readings, critical and creative writing, group critiques and presentations. The course is designed to expose the student to the fundamental principles of storytelling across a spectrum of mediums, including the written story, playwriting, film, poetry, dance, games, photography, fine art and music. How do all these different art forms tell stories? How can the student apply what is learned to their own creative work? History and theory of story will be studied and used to inspire personal and creative work in order to better understand how story can most successfully be expressed in different mediums and reach its audience.

Modern Dance: Mind Body Knowledge and Expression

OART-UT 804 / OART-GT 2814 / NCRD-UT 804 / 2 units

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Modern Dance technique that focuses on the dynamic rapport between body-mind knowledge and expression. In movement, students will become more aware and organized in their bodies. They will explore certain aesthetic characteristics that help to define dance material as “Modern” or contemporary. Through structured improvisation and teamwork approaches students will learn to dance from the inside out, exercise choice with imagination and work together as an ensemble. Ultimately, students will gain an appreciation for the expressive capacity of the body, recognizing shared, unifying attributes and those that are unique and intrinsic to each individual. The thorough warm up places an emphasis on breath and proper placement for safe practices and well being. It includes floor work, stretching and strength exercises and patterns that incorporate elements of Bartenieff Fundamentals. Short dances / sequences will be learned to sharpen knowledge of the Modern Dance lexicon and increase facility for translation of weight, space, time and energy ideas. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required.


OART-UT 805 / OART-GT 2805 / NCRD-UT 805 / 2 units

The purpose of this course is to enable the student to gain a heightened awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of dance through movement and performance. We focus on the foundations of dance such as control, aesthetics, alignment, development of strength and flexibility, dynamics, athleticism, musicality, use of space, development of learning strategies within a group context, and personal, artistic expression. The student’s mastery of their body, expression with their body and creativity through their body is the center of the work. Through individual and collective kinesthetic participation in unfamiliar patterns, related, but not limited to China, West Africa, United States, and Japan, the student is physically and conceptually challenged and informed. Using these learned dances as inspiration, students go on to re interpret, improvise and choreograph their own variations on dance forms in their class assignments. Dance experience is not necessary.


OART-UT 806 / OART-GT 2806 / NCRD-UT 806 / 2 units

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of classical ballet technique. Looking into the evolution of ballet from the time of Louis XIV through the present, students will explore the different styles of training and performance presentation through the use of images, video, practice and discussions. Reading assignments will be provided to explain how social changes have affected the development of ballet technique and choreography. A thorough warm-up will be given in each class. The technical content will vary according to the skill level of the class and the individual dancer. Through the instruction of proper alignment and dynamic imagery, students will learn how to dance safely and improve their technical skills effectively. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required. The course is designed to help students develop a clean and precise technical base for ballet dancing. Through practice and application, students will understand the unique structure of their own bodies and expand their awareness of self and others. They will discover new technical capabilities regarding flexibility, strength, coordination, balance and their comprehension of the ballet form in relation to music, space, time and energy. Eventually students will experience how the mind, body and breath come together to produce greater freedom in movement. Discussions will examine how this informs personal interactions in everyday life. Students are encouraged to study the different styles of ballet and ballet performers around the world. For the final group project, students will choreograph a short ballet that incorporates ballet vocabulary, dance or pedestrian movements and an idea that’s related to today’s society.

Intro to Digital Tools

OART-UT 823 / OART-GT 2823 / NCRD-UT 823 / 4 units

This course will explore the basic tools of digital imaging. During the semester we will cover the 3 main adobe products for creative imaging - Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Through a series of short weekly assignments we will look at various graphic design and layout ideas using Illustrator and Indesign. We will also touch on the wealth of image enhancement and manipulation techniques afforded by photoshop. Several small assignments will introduce the basics of scanning, printing and compositing images drawing on the strengths of the individual pieces of software. Students will have the opportunity to complete a small project of their own for the end of the term. Class time will be divided between lectures, critiques, and work in progress sessions. This course is not intended to completely cover the software listed, but will give students a fundamental understanding of the possibilities of digital imaging.

Producing Essentials

OART-UT 1006 / NCRD-UT 1006 / 4 units

Today’s major creative fields—film, television, music, theatre, dance, and new media—need quality producers. A producer with a firm knowledge of the craft, a discerning eye for material, fund-raising ability, a grasp of the law, cash flow, people, and ethics is rare. This course provides students with a framework for understanding the dynamics of producing—as an art form and a business profession—and for completing a creative product in the entertainment and media industries. Students are introduced to the basic concepts, terms, and principles that apply to the role of producer in the entertainment and media industries along with the specific job functions that are required to effectively and efficiently complete a production.

Playwriting Practicum

OART-UT 1040 / NCRD-UT 8040 / 4 units

An introductory course on the basic techniques employed in writing a play. Class includes discussion of samples of the students’ work in addition to discussion of theory and various theatrical exercises. Students read selected plays to enhance discussions of structuring a dramatic piece of writing. The course addresses actors writing material for themselves and focuses on character and dialogue as well as examining scene work, outlining, and the completion of a first draft of a one-act play. This course counts towards Theatre Studies requirements for Drama students and as elective credits for other TSOA students.

Acting 1

OART-UT 1906 / OART-GT 2906 / NCRD-UT 1906 / 2 units

This beginner’s course explores the use of games, monologues, and scene work in order to develop knowledge of basic acting skills. Students are encouraged toward self exploration and creative expression. Not open to Tisch drama majors.