Academic Programs

Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing



Bard psychology faculty and students study the workings of the brain; the person in social context; development throughout childhood and adulthood; cognitive processes (memory, language, perception); and psychopathology. The Psychology Program is rooted in the idea that these topics are best understood from multiple, intersecting levels of analysis, ranging from biological mechanisms and individual psychological processes to social, cultural, and other environmental influences. The Psychology Program offers all students the opportunity to learn how the unique perspectives and empirical methods of psychological science can illuminate human thought, emotions, and behavior. The language and analytical approaches of psychological science provide a common basis for many professional endeavors, including graduate work in the field.

Areas of Study

The Psychology Program provides focused opportunities of learning in the areas of abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology. It provides a thorough foundation in empirical methodology and analysis, and offers opportunities to participate in meaningful research and laboratory experiences. In brief, Cognitive Psychology is the empirical study of how concepts, knowledge, and language are acquired and represented, as well as how knowledge is engaged in human memory, action, perception, and reasoning. Developmental Psychology involves the study of change (both growth and decline) over the life span, including changes in cognition, social interaction, and brain development.  Abnormal Psychology is a research-oriented science that pertains to the study of psychopathology (i.e., psychological disorders), personality, and treatment. Neuroscience focuses on understanding the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems as it investigates questions of brain and behavioral development, normal brain function, and disease processes. Finally, Social Psychology is the scientific study of people in their social contexts, emphasizing the study of behavior and social thought, preferences, and feelings about oneself, one’s social groups, and others. 


Prior to Moderation in psychology, students entering the College in or after the fall semester of 2012 are required to complete the following courses with a grade of C or higher: Introduction to Psychological Science (Psychology 103) preferably in the first year (although a score of 5 on the AP Psychology exam fulfills the requirement); a sophomore sequence of Statistics for Psychology (Psychology 203) in the fall and Research Methods in Psychology (Psychology 204) in the spring; and at least two additional 200-level courses in psychology. Students who have completed Research Methods at the time of Moderation must have received a grade of C or higher; students who are enrolled in Research Methods at the time of Moderation must have a midterm grade of C or higher.

Psychology students must complete the following requirements to graduate: A total of four 200-level courses in psychology (excluding 203 and 204); one course in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics (this excludes Biostatistics, if this was taken in lieu of Psychology 203, and Foundations in Mind, Brain and Behavior, Computer Science 131); two 300-level courses following Moderation, at least one of which must be completed before beginning the Senior Project; and the Senior Project. No more than a single 300-level course may be taken per semester, and taking these 300-levels with two different faculty is strongly encouraged. At least one 200-level course must be completed from each of the following course clusters:

Cluster A: Abnormal and Personality Psychology (course numbers in the 210s).

Cluster B: Developmental and Social Psychology (course numbers in the 220s).

Cluster C: Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience (course numbers in the 230s).

Requirements for those students entering the College before Fall 2012 can be found on the Psychology program website. Requirements for students entering the College prior to fall 2012 can be found on the Psychology Program website.

Opportunities for Additional Learning

Students are strongly encouraged to pursue opportunities for research or community-based practicum experiences that complement their regular course work and that connect academic learning with practical applications. The program offers independent laboratory courses in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience under the direction of program faculty that provide ideal opportunities for learning how to conduct research in psychology. In addition, opportunities to gain experiences in applied settings exist in local communities in the realms of abnormal, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Students are also encouraged to gain experience through summer research opportunities in the Bard Summer Research Institute, and to pursue opportunities for obtaining summer research positions at other academic centers.  We strongly recommend that students especially interested in entering a doctoral program in the field consider pursuing additional research experiences (typically in a two- to three-year research assistantship) after graduating from Bard.

Recent Senior Projects in Psychology

  • "Children of Katrina: Education as a Means of Promoting Childhood Resilience in a Community Recovering from Natural Disaster"
  • "(Dis)order in the Court: Gender and Jurors' Decisions about Mentally Ill Offenders of Filicide"
  • "Growing Up Bipolar: Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Contributions to the Diagnosis of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder"
  • "In Search of a Causal Relationship between Anxiety and Alcoholism, Using Zebrafish as an Animal Model"
  • "The Influence of Musical Training on Sensory Integration and Attentional Control"


The course descriptions are listed numerically, from introductory 100- level courses to 300-level Upper College courses and seminars.