Taylor Swift Will Address NYU Grad Class of 2022 as Honorary Degree Recipient

Taylor Swift NYU
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Taylor Swift NYU
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Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz

New York University is awarding Taylor Swift with an honorary degree – and the singer will give a commencement speech. 

Singer, songwriter, producer, and director Taylor Swift will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa at the morning ceremony address. Swift is the only female artist in history to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year three times. She’s also the only solo artist this century to have three albums reach #1 in a single year.

Her accomplishments are so broad, NYU has launched a course dedicated to Taylor Swift for its spring semester.

The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music’s Taylor Swift course takes a look inside her career and the star’s rise to become a powerhouse in the music industry. The trial run of the course was taught by New York University alumni and Rolling Stone music journalist Brittany Spanos, a self-proclaimed Swift expert. 

“I’ve been covering Taylor Swift since I began my writing career a decade ago and have been a super fan of hers for even longer,” said Spanos about teaching the course. “It is such an honor to be able to share my Swiftie expertise.”

The course explores the appeal and aversions to Taylor Swift through close readings of her music and public discourse as it relates to her own growth as an artist and a celebrity,” the syllabus explains. 

“Through readings, lectures and more, the class delves into analyses of the culture and politics of teen girlhood in pop music, fandom, media studies, whiteness and power as it relates to her image and the images of those who have both preceded her and succeeded her.”

Taylor Swift NYU Course Syllabus

Course Objectives:

  1. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for Taylor Swift as a creative music entrepreneur; Students will learn to deconstruct the way her creativity and songwriting have made her a durable presence in a quickly evolving music industry.
  2. Students will learn about the legacy of pop and country songwriters that have influenced Swift as well as the discourses around ‘prodigies’ in pop music history.
  3. Students will gain an understanding of how discourses of youth and girlhood are often exploited in the media and music industries.
  4. Students will learn about the politics of race in contemporary popular music, and to interrogate whiteness as it relates to Swift’s politics, songwriting, worldview and interactions with the wider cultural world around her.
  5. Students will develop greater sophistication in their artistic appreciation, critical thinking, research and writing skills.”