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.

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Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Academic Mission

Since its founding in 1860, Bard College has combined a firm commitment to a liberal arts and sciences education with a readiness to innovate. This approach has enhanced the undergraduate experience with compatible intellectual and artistic ventures at Bard’s Hudson Valley campus and at affiliated institutions around the world. Bard seeks to provide a challenging academic program; a supportive environment that fosters a collaborative exchange of ideas in the classroom, studio, and ­laboratory; and access to world-class scholarship and research. 

The past three decades have been a particularly vibrant time at the College. Bard has strengthened its core mission of excellence in undergraduate education, grown rapidly in size, and broadened its scope and ambitions. As highlighted by President Leon Botstein on the occasion of its 150th anniversary, Bard now has five dimensions, each of which supports the others: the undergraduate program, graduate education, the arts, international education, and the reform of secondary education. Bard’s expanding system of programs, partnerships, and centers of scholarship—recent additions include a liberal arts university in Berlin, a music school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an early college program in New Orleans—reflects this broader mission, and provides new opportunities for student engagement with critical global issues and with leading scholars, artists, and experts in an array of fields. 

Choice, flexibility, and rigor are the hallmarks of the Bard education, which is a transformative synthesis of the liberal arts and progressive traditions. The liberal arts tradition at Bard is evident in the common curriculum for first-year students, including the First-Year Seminar and Citizen Science Program, and in general courses that ground students in the essentials of inquiry and analysis and present a serious encounter with the world of ideas. The pro­­gressive tradition is reflected in Bard’s tutorial system and interdisciplinary curriculum, which emphasize independent and creative thought, and the skills required to express that thought with power and effect. Students are encouraged to be actively engaged throughout the four years of their undergraduate experience and to help shape, in tandem with faculty advisers, the subject matter of their education.