Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

*The download on this page requires Adobe Reader for viewing and printing.

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Campus-Based Affiliated Programs and Institutes

The following programs offer opportunities for undergraduates to attend talks, conferences, and other events, and to participate in noncredit-bearing programs, workshops, and internships to supplement their studies.

Bard Prison Initiative (BPI)  The Bard Prison Initiative offers credit-bearing course work leading to associate and bachelor’s degrees at three long-term, maximum-security prisons and two transitional, lower-security prisons in New York State. At these five in-prison campuses, more than 300 incarcerated students are engaged in robust course work in the humanities, foreign languages, sciences, mathematics, and studio arts. Senior Projects range from American history to cultural anthropology to pure and applied math. Through BPI, Bard College has conferred nearly 250 degrees to incarcerated students. Increasingly, BPI alumni/ae are leaving the system and pursuing careers in private industry, the arts, social service, and academics.

In addition to operating its five New York State sites, BPI has founded the national Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, based at Bard College. The Consortium supports sister programs at other first-rate colleges and universities as part of an ongoing initiative to replicate the BPI model across the United States.

Founded by Bard alumnus Max Kenner ’01, the Bard Prison Initiative continues to have a profound effect on the intellectual life of the main Bard College campus. Each week, undergraduate students visit regional prisons and volunteer as tutors in advanced math, languages, and analytic writing. Bard undergraduates also enroll in a range of classes related to their experiences with BPI, and a number of Bard/BPI alumni/ae have gone on to organize similar programs across the country. For more information, visit BPI’s website at

Bard Summer Research Institute  Students in the Bard Summer Research Institute  spend eight weeks in residence over the summer working on individual research projects in either the social or natural sciences. Each student has a faculty mentor for the duration of the program and receives a stipend of $3,000.

Center for Civic Engagement  The Center for Civic Engagement supports a wide array of initiatives that engage Bard students, faculty, and administrators with the most important issues facing society. The Center sponsors lectures, conferences, and workshops; facilitates internship, volunteer and service-learning opportunities; and awards fellowships that are designed to reinforce the links between education, democracy, and citizenship. For more information, see “Civic Engagement” in this catalogue or visit

Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists  The Achebe Center was established in 2005 to continue the legacy of the late Chinua Achebe, who taught at Bard from 1990 to 2011, and to serve the future of global Africana arts. Among its goals are to become a center of excellence for the teaching of African literature, to support a new generation of African writers, and to encourage literary/cultural entrepreneurship. Undergraduate students may participate in Center projects, including facilitating events that feature visiting writers, artists, and scholars.

Conductors Institute  The Conductors Institute offers two- and four-week summer programs in various aspects of conducting. For more information, see “The Bard College Conservatory of Music” in this catalogue or visit 

Distinguished Scientist Scholars Summer Research Scholarship Moderated scholarship recipients may apply for a stipend (up to $1,500) for summer research projects following the sophomore and junior years. Applications for a stipend are made through the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing.

Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities  Public discourse is the bedrock of our democracy. Amid the cacophony of media pundits and the proliferation of think tanks, the Hannah Arendt Center is unique in addressing politics free from the jostling over policy. The Center is an institutional space for passionate, uncensored, nonpartisan thinking that reframes and deepens the fundamental questions facing our nation and our world.

Last year, on the eve of the 2012 election, Ralph Nader and Bernard Kouchner led an inquiry into the question: “Does the President Matter?” In October 2013, the Arendt Center will explore the question at the heart of a liberal arts education: “What Is an Educated Citizen?” These annual conferences—in conjunction with the Arendt Center’s lecture series, website, blog, courses, fellowships, and publications—promote thinking that challenges common-sense assumptions and gives depth to public understanding. Past conferences have tackled subjects such as the financial crisis (in 2009), the increasing inhumanity of our age that results from technological innovation (2010), and lying and politics (2011).

Bard undergraduates can take Arendt Center reading seminars alongside graduate student fellows, serve as research assistants, participate in lectures and workshops, contribute to the Center blog, and assist in conferences. To learn more about the Arendt Center and its activities, visit To subscribe to the Center’s mailing list, send an e-mail to

Hudsonia, Ltd.  Founded in 1981 and based at the Bard College Field Station, Hudsonia is an independent, not-for-profit institute for environmental research and education. Funding for Hudsonia projects comes from government agencies, foundations, conservation and citizens’ groups, businesses, and individuals. Hudsonia focuses on biodiversity mapping and assessment, conservation science of rare species and their habitats, wetland and aquatic ecology, the Hudson River, and ecology and management of non-native plants. Student interns and employees assist in project work, which currently includes assessment of the biological impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, studies of a rare plant in Hudson River tidal wetlands, and the use of non-native weeds for a bioenergy feedstock. To learn more, visit

Human Rights Project (HRP)  The Human Rights Project enables students to learn about, and engage in, the human rights movement. The Project links theoretical inquiry and critical explorations of human rights practice with active research and involvement in contemporary issues. Ongoing initiatives include projects on human rights forensics (with the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London), music and torture, the intersections between the visual arts and human rights (with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard), and a student-initiated project on drones in military and civilian contexts. The Project also sponsors a regular lecture and film series on campus. Archival projects include an online and broadcast-quality digital videotape archive of the trial of Slobodan Milosˇevi´c at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, and the Bhopal Memory Project, a web-based documentary resource about the 1984 chemical disaster in Bhopal, India. Since 2001 HRP has supported extensive research travel by students as well as dozens of student internships at human rights and humanitarian organizations, governmental and international agencies, local community groups, hospitals and clinics, and research centers from Albany to Peshawar. To learn more about Human Rights Project activities, visit

Institute of Advanced Theology (IAT)  The Institute was founded in 1996 to foster critical understanding, based on scholarship, that will make true religious pluralism possible. Through an interdisciplinary program of research, education, and outreach, IAT faculty and fellows seek to achieve a deeper understanding of biblical history, the New Testament, and other important religious dcuments. The Institute regularly sponsors lectures and conferences. For additional information, visit the IAT website at

Institute for Writing and Thinking (IWT)  Since its founding in 1982, IWT has been guiding teachers in developing and refining writing practices with the goal of enriching classroom learning. For more information on the Institute and its events, see “The Bard Center” in this catalogue or visit

John Cage Trust  The John Cage Trust was created in 1993 to maintain and nurture the artistic legacy of John Cage, the late American composer, philosopher, poet, and visual artist. Since 2007, the Trust has been “in residence” at Bard College. Located in Griffiths House, near the main Bard campus, the Trust provides access to its diverse holdings through on-site research, courses, workshops, concerts, and other educational activities and programs. For more information, see

Laboratory for Algebraic and Symbolic Computation (ASC)  Bard’s ASC Laboratory is committed to the advancement of the state of mathematical knowledge through computing. ASC’s goal is to extend the capabilities of existing theorem provers, model searchers, and computer algebra systems through improved connectivity and knowledge management. Current domains of interest include universal algebra and the constraint satisfaction problem. At ASC, Bard faculty, students, and staff work together to produce new theorems and algorithms, solve intricate problems within metadata design, and develop websites that integrate several complex software systems.

Rift Valley Institute (RVI)  The Rift Valley Institute is a nonprofit research, training, and publishing organization that works with communities and institutions in Eastern and Central Africa to bring local knowledge to bear on governance and development. RVI programs include field-based social research, support for local educational institutions, in-country training courses, and an online digital library. The Institute also sponsors the Nairobi Forum, a focus for discussion of political, cultural, and developmental issues in the region.

Fellows of the Institute are regional academic specialists in various disciplines and practitioners in the fields of development, conservation, media, and human rights. There are RVI offices in London (UK), Nairobi (Kenya) and Juba (South Sudan). In 2006 RVI established a U.S. office on the Bard College campus. John Ryle, Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology at the College, is the Institute's executive director. The U.S. board of the Institute consists of John Ryle (Bard College), Kwame Anthony Appiah (Princeton University), and Kenneth Anderson (American University, Washington, D.C.)

Bard students have opportunities to assist with RVI activities. These include the Sudan Open Archive (, an open-source, open-access database of historical and contemporary documents about the region; preparations for field courses on the Sudans, the Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes region; research into human rights issues; and editing of video material. RVI also organizes events and lectures on campus. For details, visit