Learning Communities

Learning Communities

What is a Learning Community?

Learning communities (LCs) are close-knit groups designed for intellectually curious first year liberal arts students who want a deeper immersion into the Purchase College community. There are four different themed LCs to choose from. If you are accepted you will live with your LC in freshman residence halls and take at least two courses   together. LCs are led by faculty members who are available to you for formal and informal advising, social, and academic events throughout the year. 

Why you should apply . . .

The Learning Communities have so much to offer, but here are some reasons why you should apply:

  • Build meaningful connections with exceptional Faculty as well as the Purchase Community
  • Discover potential interests and career fields
  • One-to-one mentorship with both a Faculty and a Peer Advisor
  • Live together and  make friends with other first-year students who share your interests
  • Explore on and off campus special events with your community
  • Expand your academic and educational experience outside of the classroom with study groups, activities, and much more...    

Learning Community Options

Media and Literature

Why are books and films banned? Or negatively reviewed? Or simply disregarded by the critical community? And why do some of these become popular and well-respected years after they were created? The Media and Literature Learning Community analyzes these questions first by looking at some books and films from marginalized groups. Student then do independent projects on such books and films of their own choosing. Students enroll in a special section of College Writing and First Year Seminar taught by the director of this Learning Community, Kathleen McCormick, a Professor of Literature and Faculty-Member-In-Residence. Students also enroll in a complementary section of Survey of U.S. Literature I taught by Lee Schlesinger, also a Professor of Literature. Students will participate in many social and intellectual activities, including theater and gallery visits in NYC and special dinners on campus. This Learning Community is intended for students majoring in Literature, Creative Writing, Cinema Studies, Journalism, or undeclared students with interests in the Humanities.

For more information, email: kathleen.mccormick@purchase.edu


Are you a leader? Would like to become one? The Leadership Learning Community explores these questions and asserts that all people can be leaders. Regardless of position, influence, or power, this community helps student recognize that leadership can come from a place within. Participants in the community will examine multiple facets of leadership through 1-1 meetings, conversations, & coursework. Students in the community enroll in the Fundamentals of Leadership and a particular section of First Year Seminar taught by Thomas Gelok, along with a section of College Writing. Students will participate in a variety of activities aimed at considering concepts of identity, leadership, relationships, interpersonal dynamics, and intrapersonal identity. All of these concepts allow students to begin thinking critical, morally, and ethically about how to be an effective leader. Participants will be invited on group trips, 1-1 meetings with faculty and staff, and gain crucial insights on how to be successful at Purchase. This learning community attracts students interested in psychology, sociology, management, Humanities, and undeclared students.

For more information, email: thomas.gelok@purchase.edu

Psychology in Everyday Life

It takes a split second to recognize the face of a friend in a crowd or the voice of a loved one over the phone. The whiff of a few odor molecules can tell us whether our food is fresh and safe to consume or whether it has gone bad. While these processes of perception and recognition occur rapidly and automatically, they are the result of chains of events that are so complex and mindboggling that scientists have only begun to identify the steps of processing. Through an extensive exploration of published laboratory research, this learning community will examine how perception is shaped by attention, emotion, and even culture. Students in this learning community will enroll in “Sensation and Perception” and “First Year Seminar” with Dr. Meagan Curtis, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Member in Residence. This Learning Community is intended for students who have a strong interest in psychology or other natural sciences.

For more information, email: meagan.curtis@purchase.edu

Spirituality and Society

Although traditional religion may be on the decline, spirituality is alive and well. Self-help gurus, crystal healing, neo-shamanism; television shows about witchcraft and ghosts; yoga, meditation and all sorts of other techniques, promises and products are offered in a burgeoning spiritual marketplace. In this Learning Community we will explore this marketplace from a social scientific perspective. We'll take part in, watch, read and explore the ways individuals, groups and institutions are searching for spirituality and the sacred at the beginning of the 21st Century. Students will enroll in Introduction to Sociology and First Year Seminar with Professor Matthew Immergut, in addition to enrolling in a complimentary section of College Writing. This Learning Community is intended for majors in the social sciences such as sociology or anthropology, or anyone simply interested in a better understanding of human behavior.

For more information, email: matthew.immergut@purchase.edu

How to Apply

Step One: Review the information about Learning Communities and the different community options offered above.

Step Two: Submit a Learning Community Interest Application to the Office of Community Engagement (Email: suzanna.farner@purchase.edu). Once you have submitted your interest application you will receive information and reminders from the Learning Communities recruitment team.

Step Three: Register for your Learning Community along with the rest of your Fall 2015 courses by completing the Freshman Email Registration Form, which will be sent to you   before freshman registration opens May 18th, 2015. Please check your Purchase email account often for more news and updates!

Step Four: Start your first year at Purchase College off with a BLAST!!


For General Information Please Contact
Office of Community Engagement
Suzanna Farner
Phone: (914) 251-6344
Email: suzanna.farner@purchase.edu


Call or email the Advising Center:
(914) 251-3990