Gap Year Program

Join us at our spring 2022 Info Session! Registration is required – register here.

Discover the intersection of your creative journey and the related design fields that translate to a professional practice. Pratt Institute’s Gap Year program will help you decide which path is right for you and provide you with the experience, knowledge, skills and courage to advance in college and professional life.

Combine college credits, certificates, and professional development classes, or choose just one. Work with an advisor to determine what's best for you. Pratt provides you with the options and support to make the most of your gap year.

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Classes for College Credit (15 weeks; classes start week of 1/18/22):

HMS-302:  Black Liberation
Jayna Brown; IN PERSON / Tuesdays (9:30 AM - 12:20 PM)
3 credits

This course introduces students to the histories, politics, and cultural formations of the black Diasporan world. Students consider slavery, colonialism, and continued forms of oppression and exploitation, as well as the long history of liberation movements, including slave revolts, protest and resistance movements, independence movements and revolutions. They also consider the history of black feminism, black queer liberation, and black labor struggles. We will read from personal stories of escape, fugitivity, dislocation, migration, and exile, as movement is the key trope of Diaspora. Students will also learn about other central cultural tropes and aesthetic philosophies within black culture, including the trope of transformation and the use of alternative cosmologies.


HMS-331S:  The Digital Body
Shayla Lawz; HYBRID / Thursdays (2:00 PM - 4:50 PM)
3 Credits

“I saw a phone the other day and she looked just like you.” When we say “digital body” we can imagine a number of permutations, shapes, and openings. As the extended mind thesis says, our devices are—to the degree that they hold some of our most important memories—extensions of ourselves. Accepting this, one might ask, what does that make ME? What does this say for my living body? And ultimately, if our devices are extensions of ourselves, are we extensions of our devices? Are we kindred to the telephone, the radio, the television?

In this course we will explore how artists across disciplines are working at the intersection of text, performance and (social) media to expand our ideas about the human body. We will look at how activist movements like Black Lives Matter, that began in a digital space, have extended to the physical body—the protest body—to transmit images. We will look to poets who use their bodies to challenge where the body ends and begins. We will look at performance artists who extend the digital from their bodies in the performance space and, in this act, bring the digital to life. 

We will use this work as a guide to produce our own creative work and investigate how life is made through the body, how death is archived, and how the dead are memorialized in our living beings. We will do this all with the intention of understanding how we reconcile the body in the digital age. Perhaps most importantly, we will consider this question: if we are comprised of both human matter and media—a series of flesh, photographs, images, and sometimes just a dial-tone on the other end—how do we recognize one another? How do we act as witness? Is picking up the telephone an act of seeing? Who will answer you in your time of need and what does this all mean for our aliveness?


HMS-340E:  The Documentary Image               
Melissa Eidson; HYBRID / Mondays (2:00 PM - 4:50 PM)
3 credits

This course introduces students to the history, theory, and practice of making documentary images; both photographs and video. In addition to studying and writing evaluative essays about visual and critical works, students will learn basic photo and video editing tools Apple’s iPhoto and iMovie applications, to produce photo essays and digital video shorts to be presented on individual student websites. Class time will be split between these academic and 'praxis' components. 


This hybrid course will include independent field projects and experiences; such as trips to Maysles, IFC, and Quad Cinema.  During the second half of the course, students will make short documentaries, putting into practice aspects of the academic component covered during the first half. For the final documentary project, emphasis will be placed on the development of exploratory documentary subjects that cover contemporary activist issues; including global climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, LGBTQ discrimination, femicide, and racism. The goal of the final documentary project is to bring pressing contemporary issues into public discourse, by creating awareness and understanding, with the ultimate objective being to affect broad societal change. In this way, the course culminates with student documentary films that go beyond the classroom, giving voice to new ideas and solutions that are transmitted to the public realm via student websites and/or social media.


HMS-340S:  Who Owns Prehistory? 
Cecilia Dougherty; HYBRID / Thursdays (9:30 AM – 12:20 PM)
3 credits

A cross-disciplinary course that studies ways we have tried to understand who we are as a species by considering who we might have been in the distant past. Our investigation begins with a discussion of Paleolithic art as evidence of artistic sophistication and complexity of thought, mark-making, and ritual practice in the old stone age. Theories of human migration, concepts of race and the meaning of what is an ‘anatomically modern human’ are integral to this investigation. We are not studying this era as scientists, but rather are examining critiques of how knowledge is acquired and how perspectives brought through scientific communities come to us already embedded in assumptions and practices that represent social and political perspectives and discourses of power. We would like to find ways to address the aspect of non-scientists being shut out of the discourse of ancient times, which those who research the past from our perspectives as artists, writers and philosophers rather than as scientists experience as our default position. This course critiques past and current trends in the study of the distant past on the American continents as well, with a focus on the field of Indigenous methodologies of decolonizing ancient times. And finally, we’ll look at configurations of the Paleolithic in the popular imagination, covering a range of sources that includes cartoons and animation, fan art and speculative fiction, pop-science documentaries, museum dioramas, and representations of prehistory in the narratives of fictional films and literature. Coursework includes two collaborative presentations and one final presentation/project.


HMS-390S: Sound Across the Arts
Mendi Obadike; ONLINE / Tuesdays (9:30 AM - 12:20 PM)
3 credits

This course is an introduction to sound across the arts. Students will encounter works created in the fields of experimental music, sound art, sound installation, film sound, and audio literature. We will discuss the project, techniques, theories, and other intersections between and among the creative contexts for artists working in the medium of sound.

HMS-404C:  Finding Yourself on the Road: Migration Stories
Arlene Keizer; IN PERSON / Fridays (10:00 AM - 12:50 AM)
3 credits

Migration—whether voluntary or involuntary, international or domestic—has become a formative experience in American life. This course surveys a wide range of films, short fiction, graphic novels, poetry, and performance art that represents and reflects upon the identity-transforming aspects of migration. We’ll examine films and literary/performance works by Edwidge Danticat, Li-Young Lee, James Baldwin, Elie Wiesel, Marjane Satrapi, Ousmane Sembene, Shailja Patel, Eva Hoffman, and others, alongside critical essays on the formal properties and socio-political contexts of migration stories. Major assignments: two short (5-page) essays and one longer project that may incorporate creative writing or the visual arts.

FVID-101 Digital Cinema I
Jonathon Burkett; IN-PERSON / Mondays (2:00 PM - 6:20 PM)
3 credits
A course designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of digital cinema production. The course focuses on the production of short video works, with an equal emphasis on concept, content, and equipment use. Experimentation is encouraged in all areas. Students work collaboratively and individually on video assignments that will advance their abilities as makers, viewers, and readers.


Certificate Programs (12 Weeks; classes start week of 1/18/22)

Branding and Digital Marketing

Graphic Design

Human-Centered Design

Motion Graphics

UX/UI Mobile Design 

Design Business Classes (4 Weeks; classes start week of 4/11/22)

Design Business 

For advisement contact:

Chris Ferrara
Director of New Initiatives and Strategic Programs

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