Bard College Student Handbook

Senior Project

Viewed by the College as the capstone of the student’s education in the liberal arts and sciences, the Senior Project is an original, individual, focused project growing out of the student’s cumulative academic experiences. Students have great flexibility in choosing the form of their project. For example, a social studies project might be a research project, a close textual analysis, a report of findings from fieldwork, or a photographic essay; a literature project might be a critical review or an original work; a language project might be a translation, an essay on literature, a historical study, or a sociological analysis; a science project might be a report on original experiments, an analysis of published research findings, or a contribution to theory; an arts project might be a theoretical monograph, an exhibition of original artwork, a film, or a musical or dance composition or performance.

Preparation for the Senior Project begins in the junior year with consultation with advisers, course work, and work in tutorials and seminars directed toward selecting a topic, choosing the form of the project, becoming competent in the analytical and research methods required by the topic and form, and, of course, studying the subject matter. The primary emphasis in the first semester is on the standard works, research methods, style, or concerns of the discipline or artistic field into which the Senior Project falls; by the end of this semester the student establishes plans for his or her particular project. The emphasis in the second semester is on work specific to the Senior Project.

One course each semester of the student’s final year is devoted to completing the Senior Project. The student submits the completed project to a committee of three professors and participates with them in a Senior Project Review. Written projects are filed in the library’s archives; samples of each arts project appear with a statement by the student in Word and Image, an online publication.

Students must complete a senior project in the program into which they have moderated. Students who have moderated into two programs can complete two senior projects (‘double major’) or they may request permission to complete a joint major, in which case they would write one senior project that incorporates the subject matter and methodologies of both programs. Students who have declared a Concentration in addition to a program of study complete only one senior project in the program into which they have moderated; the project is expected to incorporate the subject matter of the field of Concentration.