Admissions & Finances


Applicants for admission must hold an A.B., B.A., B.S., or B.F.A. degree from an accredited college or university in the United States or a baccalaureate or equivalent degree from a college or university outside the United States. An applicant’s undergraduate major need not be in art history or the studio arts; however, applicants must demonstrate that they have a broad knowledge of the history of art as well as acquaintance with the contemporary visual arts.

Applications are encouraged from practitioners currently working in the field as well as advanced students in the humanities and social sciences—for example, graduate students in art history or in philosophy who are interested in critical and theoretical issues in the contemporary visual arts, or students in cultural history or sociology with interests in the institutional contexts of the contemporary arts. The graduate program at the Center offers such students an unusual opportunity to study with curators, critics, and scholars who are engaged in formulating new approaches to the exhibition and interpretation of contemporary art. Additionally, it provides opportunities for practical engagement with the tasks of curating that can offer invaluable lessons about contemporary art and the possibilities and limitations of exhibition as a mode of interpretation—lessons that cannot be gained from academic study alone.

Applications for admission are reviewed by the Graduate Committee. The committee assesses whether a candidate has sufficient knowledge of art history and the contemporary arts to profit from the program of study at the Center and demonstrates the intellectual ability, maturity, and motivation to pursue graduate-level courses and to complete a final M.A. project. The committee also considers each candidate’s promise of making a contribution to the Center’s intellectual life, particularly taking into account the Center’s commitments to exploring contemporary art and exhibition practices from different disciplinary perspectives and in different cultures. 

Applying to CCS Bard

The following should be submitted with the application form:

1. A brief (800–1,000 words) personal statement describing your interest in the graduate program, previous academic and professional preparation, and familiarity with contemporary art issues and related discourses. 

2. A brief (700 words) review of a recent exhibition of contemporary art. We are especially interested in your assessment of the curatorial aspects and methodologies of the exhibition—for example, how it structures and enhances the viewer’s experience and understanding of the works it presents or, alternatively, how it fails to do so.

3. A brief (700 words) proposal for a curated project  that you would like to realize. Include a preliminary checklist and a brief curatorial abstract.

4. A curriculum vitae

5. Three (3) letters of recommendation (see below for instructions on how to register your recommenders using the online application)

6. A nonrefundable application fee of $65.00, payable online with a valid credit card or electronic check, or with a check or money order to Bard College and mailed to the address below.

The following should be sent under separate cover:

1. Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended

2. Letters of Recommendation The Center for Curatorial Studies accepts letters of recommendation through the online application system. When prompted, enter the recommender’s name and e-mail. The recommender will receive an e-mail with detailed instructions on how to submit his/her recommendation online. The status of recommendation letters can be viewed by logging back into the application system.

Letters of recommendation are also accepted on paper. The letters should be addressed to the Graduate Admissions, signed across the sealed flap, and sent directly to the Center for Curatorial Studies by the authors.

The submission of GRE or GMAT exam scores is not required.

 The deadline for receipt of completed applications for admission is February 1 of each year. An application is considered incomplete and cannot be acted upon until all the materials listed above are received by CCS Bard. Applicants will receive notification of admission by March 31, and must respond with their decision to enroll by April 15.

International Students

In addition to the application materials listed above, international students must provide evidence of proficiency in English through either the TOEFL or IELTS tests. Below are the acceptable minimum test scores for admission:

PBT – 550
iBT – 79-80
CBT – 213


To receive visa documentation, international applicants must submit proof that their income from all sources will be sufficient to meet expenses for the duration of study in the United States. A Certification of Finances must be completed. Evidence may come from the following sources:

1. An affidavit from a bank

2. Certification by parents, or sponsors, of their ability to provide the necessary funds

3. Certification, by an employer, of anticipated income. 

Transfer Credit

The graduate curriculum is organized to encourage ongoing discussion of curatorial issues among students of varied backgrounds and interests. To this end, half of each student’s courses are taken with his or her entering class. Consequently, only limited transfer credits (no more than 4 credits or the equivalent of two courses) will be given for course work completed elsewhere. Requests for transfer of credit must be made when a student applies for admission and will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee. Transfer credits may be used only to meet elective course requirements. Students receiving 4 transfer credits in a single distribution area will be required to take at least one further elective in that area during their studies at CCS Bard.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the 2018–2019 academic year is $39,748 and may vary from year to year. Fees include a $110 registration fee (each semester), a $225 security deposit, a $470 Health Services fee, and a $1,000 fee for exhibition expenses for the final master’s degree project. The latter fee is charged in installments of $500 each semester of a student’s second year. A $120 graduation fee is charged prior to graduation. Students who take longer than two years to complete their work toward the master’s degree are charged a maintenance-of-status fee of $500 per year.

Schedule of Payments

New students must pay a $500 enrollment deposit by April 15. The deposit is not refundable if the student does not enroll. The enrollment deposit is credited to the student’s account. Tuition and fees for the academic year will be billed in two equal installments, with payments due in July and January. Billing statements will reflect charges and financial aid awards, including all Federal Stafford Loan applications on file. Unpaid balances will be subject to a late payment fee of $100 and finance charges of 1 percent per month (12 percent per annum). A student who has outstanding indebtedness to Bard College will not be allowed to register or reregister, receive a transcript of record, have academic credits certified, or have a degree granted.


No refund of any fees will be made in the event that a student withdraws from the program at any time after registration, except as herein specified. In all cases, the student must submit an official request for withdrawal to the Graduate Committee. The date of submission of such a request will determine the amount of refund. Students who officially withdraw before the first day of classes for the term in question will be given a full refund of all charges, less the nonrefundable tuition deposit. If the official withdrawal from the program occurs after the first day of classes in a given term, tuition is refunded as follows: If the withdrawal occurs within the first week of classes, 75 percent of tuition is refunded; within the second week, 60 percent of tuition is refunded; within the third or fourth weeks, 30 percent of tuition is refunded; after four weeks, no refunds are given. Registration and student health insurance fees are not refundable.

Refunds to financial aid recipients who withdraw from the program will be affected by a reduction in the amount of the grant; any institutional grant, scholarship, or fellowship will be reduced by the same percentage as indicated in the tuition-refund schedule above. Refunds to recipients of federal aid (Federal Stafford Loan) who withdraw will be calculated according to the federal refund policy concerning the amount of the Federal Stafford Loan to be returned to the lender. A student who is considering withdrawal may wish to confer with the Office of Student Accounts and the Office of Financial Aid concerning any anticipated refund and the amount of the Federal Stafford Loan that Bard College must return to the lender, since this amount will have a direct bearing on the amount of refund, if any, that the College will provide the student.

No refund is made in cases of suspension or expulsion.

Health Insurance

All students attending Bard College are required to have health insurance.  For more information on plans, requirements, forms and health services please see .

Application Checklist:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee ($65)
  • Brief statement of interest
  • Brief review of a recent exhibition of contemporary art
  • Brief proposal for a curated project
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation requested
  • Official transcripts requested
  • Evidence of English proficiency (if applicable)
  • Request for transfer of credit (if applicable)
  • Completed FAFSA or International Student Financial Aid Application/Certificate of Finances

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Center for Curatorial Studies Graduate Admissions

Bard College
P.O. Box 5000

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000

Application deadline: February 1