Academic Programs

Interdivisional Programs

Human Rights


Human Rights is an interdisciplinary program across the arts, natural and social sciences, and literature. It offers courses that 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 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 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

  • “‘I Don’t Post about Politics,’ an Analysis of Speech among Palestinian Youth in the West Bank”
  • “Transitional Justice: A Long Overdue and Difficult Way Forward for Afghanistan”
  • “You Say Tomato, I Say Injustice: How Farmworkers Brought Human Rights to the Table”

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 Honors College for Arts and Sciences; and Bard College Berlin (see Bard Abroad).


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 233, Problems in Human Rights; Human Rights 235, Dignity and the Human Rights Tradition; and Human Rights 241, Law and Society: Constitutions. 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 145, Human Rights in Global Politics; Political Studies 231, Humanitarian Military Intervention; and Spanish 240, Testimonial Literature.