The undergraduate curriculum creates a flexible system of courses that gives coherence, breadth, and depth to the four years of study and helps students become knowledgeable across academic boundaries and able to think critically within a discipline or mode of thought. The pillars of the Bard education are the structure of the first year, including First-Year Seminar; the program- and concentration-based approach to study; Moderation; the concept of distribution by modes of thought; and the Senior Project. Students move from the Lower College (first and second years), which focuses on general education and introduces the content and methodology of the academic and artistic areas in which students may specialize, to the Upper College (third and fourth years), which involves advanced study of particular subjects and more independent work.
Structure of the First Year
All first-year students participate in a common curriculum—the Language and Thinking Program, First-Year Seminar, Citizen Science—and take elective courses.
Program and Concentration Approach to Study
Bard requires that each student major in a stand-alone academic program, possibly in conjunction with a non-stand-alone field of study, or concentration, or with another program in a joint major.
As students fulfill distribution requirements, they become familiar with many academic areas and approaches. This exposure helps reveal their primary area of academic interest, offers perspective on their major, and broadens their scholarly point of view.
Moderation is undertaken in the second semester of the sophomore year. Through this process students make the transition from the Lower College to the Upper College and establish their major in a program. (Transfer students entering with the equivalent of two full years of credit should, if possible, moderate during the first semester of residence, but in no case later than the second.) VIEW MORE >>
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, while a science project might be a report on original experiments, an analysis of published research findings, or a contribution to theory. VIEW MORE >>