Bard College Student Handbook

Program Approach to Concentration

Bard’s Program and Concentration approach to the academic curriculum offers students a flexible framework to create individual plans of study that integrate the content and methods of more than one field. Courses are still listed in traditional categories (for example, history in the Division of Social Studies and photography within the Arts), but programs of study are not limited to these categories. For example, the Photography Program (Division of the Arts) requires students to take Physics of Light and Color (Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing), and the Classical Studies Program requires language classes (Division of Languages and Literature), history/culture classes (Social Studies Division), and art classes (Division of the Arts).

Students moderate into a Divisional Program, an Interdivisional Program, or Multidisciplinary Studies. A Divisional Program is a sequenced, in-depth course of study that consists of a range of course choices at both core and advanced levels. Divisional Programs of study focus on a particular area of knowledge or a particular approach to an area of knowledge. An Interdivisional Program is an established interdisciplinary course of study in which students explore a subject area through a variety of disciplines and methodologies. Multidisciplinary Studies allow students to design and implement a plan of study that integrates material from different programs, reflecting unique connections students have made in coursework outside established interdisciplinary plans of study. Multidisciplinary Studies Programs must be approved by the Faculty Executive Committee.

Some students may also elect to have a Concentration, an optional plan of study consisting of a cluster of related courses on a clearly defined topic with fewer core and advanced courses. Students who choose to pursue Concentrations must pursue them in conjunction with a primary program of study.

Each program establishes requirements for Moderation, course work, and the Senior Project; each contains courses that are considered required or recommended and are related to its particular focus. A student may begin his or her studies by choosing a trial concentration in one of the divisional or interdivisional programs, and may later develop a multidisciplinary program of study. However, all students are required to declare a program into a Divisional or Interdivisional Program or into Multidisciplinary Studies in order to moderate from the Lower College to the Upper College and become a candidate for the bachelor of arts degree.

New programs will continue to be developed to meet student and faculty interests and needs.