Structure of the Curriculum
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:
- Structure of the First Year
- Program- and Concentration-Based Approach to Study
- Distribution Requirements
- Senior Project
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. All first-year students are assigned an academic adviser, with whom they meet at strategic points during each semester. Electives allow students to explore fields in which they know they are interested and to experiment with unfamiliar areas of study.
Program and Concentration Approach to Study
A liberal arts education offers students both breadth and depth of learning. At Bard, the primary sources of breadth are the First-Year Seminar and the distribution requirements. The primary source of depth is the requirement 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.
The distribution requirements at Bard are a formal statement of the College's desire to achieve an equilibrium between breadth and depth, between communication across disciplinary boundaries and rigor within a mode of thought. Distribution introduces the student to a variety of intellectual and artistic experiences and fosters encounters with faculty members trained in a broad range of disciplines.
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 (64 credits maximum) have two semesters in which to complete Moderation.
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.