Interdivisional Programs

Human Rights


Human Rights is an interdisciplinary program across the arts, natural and social sciences, and literature. Human Rights courses explore fundamental conceptual questions, historical and empirical issues within the disciplines, and practical and legal strategies of human rights advocacy. Students are encouraged to treat human rights as an intellectual question, challenge orthodoxies, and think critically about human rights as a field of knowledge rather than merely training for it as a profession.


Students moderate into the Human Rights Program alone or in combination with another program (usually through a joint Moderation), by fulfilling the other program’s requirements and the following program requirements. All students, whether joint or stand-alone majors, must anchor their studies of human rights in a disciplinary focus program of their choice (e.g., anthropology, sociology, economics, etc.). Prior to or concurrent with Moderation, students are required to take at least three human rights core courses, one additional course in human rights, and two courses in the disciplinary focus program. Following Moderation, students take at least three additional four-credit courses in human rights, at least one of these at the 300 level; the junior research seminar (Human Rights 303); and an advanced course in the disciplinary focus program. The final requirement is completion of a Senior Project related to human rights. 

Recent Senior Projects in Human Rights

  • “The Civil Rights Movement and the Image: Empathy, Photography, and the Dismantling of the Dehumanizing Image”
  • “Dependent on Exclusion: Nation Building, Immigration Policy, and Migrant Labor in Postapartheid South Africa”
  • “‘Human Betterment?’ The Fight for and against 50 Years of Sterilization in North Carolina”

Internships and Affiliated Programs

Students are encouraged to undertake summer internships and participate in programs off campus, including the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program; Central European University; Smolny College; American University of Central Asia; Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences; and Bard College Berlin.


Core courses include Human Rights 101, Introduction to Human Rights; Human Rights 120, Human Rights Law and Practice; Human Rights 215, History of Human Rights; Human Rights 218, Free Speech; Human Rights 226, Women’s Rights, Human Rights; Human Rights 233, Problems in Human Rights; Human Rights 235, Dignity and the Human Rights Tradition; Human Rights 241, Law and Society: Constitutions; Human Rights 2509, Telling Stories about Rights; and Human Rights 257, Human Rights and the Economy. Additional core courses offered through other fields of study include Anthropology 261, Anthropology of Violence and Suffering; Art History 289, Rights and the Image; History 2631, Capitalism and Slavery; History 2702, Liberty, National Rights, Human Rights; Political Studies 231, Humanitarian Military Intervention; and Spanish 240, Testimonies of Latin America.