Academic Programs

Interdivisional Programs

Human Rights Program


Human Rights is a transdisciplinary program across the arts, social sciences, and literature. It offers courses that explore fundamental theoretical 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 human rights orthodoxies, and think critically about human rights as a discourse 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 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 of the 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, and 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.

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; Smolny College; Central European University; Al-Quds Bard College for Liberal Arts and Sciences; Bard College Berlin: A Liberal Arts University; and the International Human Rights Exchange in South Africa.


Core courses include Human Rights 101, Introduction to Human Rights; Human Rights 218, Free Speech; Human Rights 233, Problems in Human Rights; Human Rights 235, Dignity and Human Rights Traditions. 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, and Human Rights; Political Studies 145, Human Rights in Global Politics; and Spanish 240, Testimonies of Latin America: Perspectives from the Margins.