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.

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Bard Early Colleges

A growing network of early college programs provides college-level instruction to adolescent students, many in traditionally underserved public high schools.

Founded on the belief that many intellectually curious high school students, regardless of background, are ready and eager for the challenges of a college education, the Bard Early Colleges (BEC) have pioneered a proven, scalable strategy that extends the academic resources of a liberal arts college into public high schools. Young scholars undertake a credit-bearing college course of study in the liberal arts and sciences immediately following the 10th grade. The BEC curriculum is designed to reflect Bard’s high academic standards as well as its grounding in the liberal arts and sciences. By giving its diverse students the opportunity to take a challenging college course of study while in high school, the Bard Early Colleges help close the achievement gap by helping students from a wide range of backgrounds access, afford, and complete higher education.

Combining the academic rigor and culture of college with critical academic support services, the Bard Early Colleges have achieved remarkable results in terms of college preparation and four-year degree attainment rates. Bard College emerged as a leader in the early college movement in 1979, when it assumed governance of Simon’s Rock: The Early College—the nation’s first private, residential early college for younger scholars. Since then, the BEC network has grown, as several urban school districts have asked to partner with Bard to offer this education alternative to promising students. Each BEC campus offers either a full-time, degree-granting associate in arts (A.A.) program, or a part-time program in which students can earn up to one year of college credit. With the exception of Simon’s Rock, all campuses provide the college education tuition free. Brief descriptions of Bard’s early college programs follow, in the order of their founding. More information is available at

Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College  Bard College at Simon’s Rock is the only residential college in the country specifically designed to provide students with the opportunity to begin college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. Simon’s Rock enrolls approximately 400 full-time students, and awards both A.A. and B.A. degrees. The campus is located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock, which launched in 2015, uses the first two years of high school to develop the skills that will help students succeed in college. Upon completing the 10th grade, Academy students begin full-time college study at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Bard High School Early College (BHSEC): Manhattan, Queens, Newark, Cleveland, Baltimore  BHSEC Manhattan, founded in 2001 and serving 535 students, was one of the first public early college high schools in the nation and one of the only ones to offer a two-year, college degree–bearing liberal arts program embedded within a four-year, tuition-free public high school. A second BHSEC campus opened in Long Island City, Queens, in 2008 (serving 600 students), and a third opened in Newark, New Jersey, in 2011 (serving 400 students at full enrollment). In 2014, a fourth campus opened in Cleveland, Ohio, which will serve approximately 400 students from across the Cleveland Metropolitan School District when fully enrolled. BHSEC Baltimore opened its doors in August 2015 as a partnership between Bard and Baltimore City Public Schools; at full enrollment, the school will serve 500 students.

The BHSEC model has proven extraordinarily effective in positioning young people of all backgrounds to succeed in higher education. In the BHSEC Class of 2015, 89 percent of students earned an A.A. degree alongside a high school diploma; 95 percent continued their education at a four-year college or university, including some of the nation’s top institutions, from Harvard University to the University of California, Berkeley. To date, more than 90 percent of BHSEC graduates have completed their baccalaureate degrees, a significantly higher percentage than the national average of 59 percent. A recent independent study on the flagship campuses in New York City found that BHSEC students were 31 percent more likely to finish bachelor’s degrees than comparison students who attended traditional public high schools. In Newark, where only 13 percent of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, 72 percent of BHSEC Newark’s inaugural class received a Bard associate in arts degree alongside their high school diplomas.

Bard Early College in New Orleans (BECNO)   In 2008, the Louisiana Recovery School District invited Bard to open an early college program in post–Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. BECNO students spend the second half of every school day as undergraduates of Bard College, completing the first year of a Bard education during the last two years of high school. BECNO runs two half-day college campuses in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, enrolling nearly 100 students from public high schools across New Orleans.

Bard Early College at the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) The Bard Early College at the HCZ Promise Academy, established in 2013, is an early college partnership that operates at the two HCZ Promise Academy high schools. Participating 9th- and 10th-grade students can enroll in precollege preparatory courses, and 11th- and 12th-grade students who successfully complete the preparatory courses can choose from college courses in a range of liberal arts and sciences subjects.

Bard in Hudson Civic Academy, launching in fall 2016, takes place at a dedicated site in Hudson, New York. Students spend the first part of the school day at their home high schools, then take one course per day at the Bard site. Courses include a seminar modeled on the one first-year students take on the Annandale campus and additional courses in fields such as social sciences and STEM. Courses grant both Bard and high school credits. All students in the pilot year, funded primarily by the Galvan Foundation, will be seniors, but plans are to include both seniors and juniors in 2017–18.