Our History

Learn more about the rich 50-year history of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

The School of the Arts at New York University was founded in 1965 to provide rigorous conservatory training in theater and film in the context of a great research university. The school quickly established itself as one of the leading arts schools in the country, creating additional departments of dance, theater design and lighting, and cinema studies within a few short years. 

The undergraduate Department of Drama was founded in 1974. The establishment of ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) (1979), the Department of Dramatic Writing (1980), the Department of Performance Studies (1980), the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (1981) and the Department of Photography & Imaging (1982) rounded out an extraordinary period of growth in terms of enrollments and breadth of programs of study. 

In 1982, a gift from Laurence A. and Preston Robert Tisch made possible the acquisition and renovation of 721 Broadway, where most of the school’s programs are currently housed. In recognition of the Tisches’ generosity, the school was renamed the Tisch School of the Arts. 

Dance and Graduate Musical Theatre Writing remain at the school’s original site at 111 Second Avenue. In 1999, Tisch School of the Arts established the Department of Art and Public Policy followed by the founding of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in 2003.  

In 2007, Tisch School of the Arts Asia was established in Singapore, NYU's first degree granting campus outside New York City. A Master of Fine Arts degree in Film was the first to be offered. Additional programs were added: Dramatic Writing, Animation and Digital Arts (2008) and International Media Producing (2010). 

In 2012, the NYU Game Center was created. 

Today, Tisch School of the Arts educates the next generation of storytellers in multiple locations in Greenwich Village, including 721 Broadway, 111 Second Avenue, 194 Mercer Street, 665 Broadway, various acting conservatories spread through downtown, and 2 Metrotech Center in Brooklyn. The Tisch education also extends throughout the NYU Global Network with coursework available in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, London, and Prague to name a few.