Academic Snapshot: Time and Credits at Bard
The academic year is divided into two 15-week semesters.
Most classes are 4 semester hours of academic credit.
The average semester course load is 16 credits.
128 credits are required for the bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
Candidates for a bachelor of arts degree from Bard must meet the following requirements:
1. Completion, by entering first-year students, of the August Language and Thinking Program. Students failing to complete the program will be placed on leave and invited to repeat the program the following August.
2. Completion, by entering first-year students, of the two-semester First-Year Seminar. A student who enters in the second semester of the first year must complete that semester of the course. A student who transfers into the College as a sophomore or junior is exempt from the course.
3. Completion, by entering first-year students, of the January Citizen Science program. A student who transfers into the College after the second semester of the first year is exempt from the program.
4. Promotion to the Upper College through Moderation
5. Completion of the requirements of the program into which they moderate
6. Completion of the courses necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements
7. Semester hours of academic credit: 128 (160 for students in five-year, dual-degree programs)
At least 64 credits must be earned at the Annandale-on-Hudson campus of Bard College; for transfer students these 64 credits may include approved study at another institution or within the Bard network. At least 40 credits must be outside the major division; First-Year Seminar counts for 8 of the 40 credits.
8. Enrollment as full-time students for not less than two years at the Annandale-on-Hudson campus of Bard College or at a program directly run by Bard College
9. Completion of an acceptable Senior Project
A student who fulfills the above Bard College requirements also fulfills the requirements of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and of the New York State Education Department.
Distribution Requirements by Area
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.
Each student is required to take one course in each of the 10 categories listed below. Difference and Justice is the only category that can pair with another distribution requirement, making it possible for the 10 requirements to be fulfilled by completing nine courses. For example, some courses fulfill both the Historical Analysis and the Difference and Justice requirements. So too, students have the option of fulfilling two distribution requirements with one Big Ideas course (designed by two or more faculty members with expertise in different disciplines) or Common Course. High school Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses may not be used to satisfy the requirements. Non-native speakers of English are exempted from the Foreign Language, Literature, and Culture requirement.
Difference and Justice (DJ): Courses fulfilling this requirement have a primary focus on the study of difference in the context of larger social dynamics such as globalization, nationalism, and social justice. They address differences that may include but are not limited to ability/disability, age, body size, citizenship status, class, color, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, geography, nationality, political affiliation, religion, race, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background, and engage critically with issues of difference, diversity, inequality, and inclusivity.
Practicing Arts (PA): The Practicing Arts requirement emphasizes making or performing as an educational process. Courses develop students’ creative and imaginative faculties by focusing on a set of artistic skills or working methods. Fields of study include dance, theater, music performance and composition, film production, creative writing, and the visual arts. Students learn through experiential practices in order to cultivate the self as a primary agent of expression, cultural reflection, and creativity.
Analysis of Art (AA): The Analysis of Art requirement teaches students to interpret both the form and content of creative works, including visual and performing arts. The requirement further aims to help students understand how works of visual art, music, film, theater, and dance shape, or are shaped by, social, political, and historical circumstances and contexts.
Meaning, Being, and Value (MBV): This distribution area addresses how humans conceptualize the nature of knowledge and belief, construct systems of value, and interpret the nature of what is real. Such courses may also focus on questions pertaining to the human moral condition, human society and culture, and humanity’s place in the cosmos, or on the ways in which civilizations have dealt with those questions. All MBV courses pay special attention to analysis and interpretation of texts and practices, and seek to cultivate skills of argument development and the open-minded consideration of counterargument.
Historical Analysis (HA): A course focused on analysis of change over time in society or the distinctiveness of a past era, using written or physical evidence. The course should alert students to the differences and similarities between contemporary experience and past modes of life, as well as suggest that present categories of experience are themselves shaped historically and can be analyzed by imaginatively investigating past institutions, texts, and worldviews.
Social Analysis (SA): Courses in this area approach the study of people and society at a variety of levels of analysis ranging from the individual to large social institutions and structures. Consideration is given to how people relate to and are shaped by social structures, divisions, and groups, such as politics, economics, family, and culture, as well as their past experiences and immediate situations. The goal of this requirement is to understand one’s own or others’ place within a wider social world, and thus these courses are central to discussions about citizenship, ethics, and the possibilities and limits of social change.
Laboratory Science (LS): In courses satisfying the LS requirement, students actively participate in data collection and analysis using technology and methodology appropriate to the particular field of study. Students develop analytical, modeling, and quantitative skills in the process of comparing theory and data, as well as an understanding of statistical and other uncertainties in the process of constructing and interpreting scientific evidence.
Mathematics and Computing (MC): Courses satisfying this requirement challenge students to model and reason about the world logically and quantitatively, explicitly grappling with ambiguity and precision. Students learn and practice discipline-specific techniques and, in doing so, represent and communicate ideas through mathematical arguments, computer programs, or data analysis.
Foreign Languages and Literatures (FL): The study of another language involves not just the process of internalizing new linguistic forms but also paying attention to the various cultural manifestations of that language. The goal of this requirement is to gain a critical appreciation of non-Anglophone languages and to question the assumption of an underlying uniformity across cultures and literary traditions. To satisfy this requirement, students may take any course in a foreign language, in a foreign literature, or in the theory and practice of translation.
Literary Analysis in English (LA): What distinguishes poetry, fiction, or drama from other kinds of discourse? These courses investigate the relationship between form and content, inviting students to explore not only the “what” or “why” of literary representation but also the “how.” The goal is to engage critically the multiple ways in which language shapes thought and makes meaning by considering the cultural, historical, and formal dimensions of literary texts.
Evaluation and Grading
Every student receives a criteria sheet in every course which contains midterm and final grades and comments by the instructor about the student’s performance.
The academic divisions regularly use a letter grading system, although in some instances a pass/D/fail option may be requested. Students must submit a request before the end of the drop/add period to take a course pass/D/fail. Professors may accommodate requests at their own discretion. An honors grade (H) in the Arts Division is the equivalent of an A. Unless the instructor of a course specifies otherwise, letter grades (and their grade-point equivalents) are defined as follows. (The grades A+, D+, and D- are not used at Bard.)
|A, A–||4.0, 3.7||Excellent work|
|B+, B, B–||3.3, 3.0, 2.7||Work that is more than satisfactory|
|C+, C||2.3, 2.0||Competent work|
|C–, D||1.7, 1.0||Performance that is poor, but deserving of credit|
|F||Failure to reach the standard required in the course for credit|
Incomplete (I) Status
All work for a course must be submitted no later than the date of the last class of the semester, except in extenuating medical or personal circumstances beyond a student’s control. In such situations, and only in such situations, a designation of Incomplete (I) may be granted by the professor at the end of the semester to allow a student extra time to complete the work of the course. It is recommended that an incomplete status not be maintained for more than one semester, but a professor may specify any date for the completion of the work. In the absence of specification, the registrar will assume that the deadline is the end of the semester after the one in which the course was taken. At the end of the time assigned, the I will be changed to a grade of F unless another default grade has been specified. Requests for grade changes at later dates may always be submitted to the Faculty Executive Committee.
Withdrawal (W) from Courses
After the drop/add deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with the written consent of the instructor (using the proper form, available in the Office of the Registrar). Withdrawal from a course after the withdrawal deadline requires permission from the Faculty Executive Committee. In all cases of withdrawal, the course appears on the student’s criteria sheet and grade transcript with the designation of W.
Registration (R) Credit
Students who wish to explore an area of interest may register for an R credit course (in addition to their regular credit courses), which will be entered on their record but does not earn credits toward graduation. To receive the R credit, a student’s attendance must meet the requirements of the instructor.
The Faculty Executive Committee determines the status of students with academic deficiencies, with attention to the following guidelines:
- A warning letter may be sent to students whose academic work is deficient but does not merit probation.
- A first-semester student who completes fewer than 12 credits, earns a grade point average below 2.0, or fails FYSEM will be placed on academic probation.
- Students other than first-semester students who are full-time and complete fewer than 12 credits or earn a grade point average below 2.0, will be placed on academic probation.
- A student who has failed to make satisfactory progress toward the degree may be required to take a mandatory leave of absence. Factors taken into account include grades, failure to moderate in the second year, and the accumulation of incompletes and withdrawals. A student on mandatory leave of absence may return to the College only after having complied with conditions stated by the Faculty Executive Committee.
- To be removed from probation, a student must successfully complete at least 12 credits, with a grade point average of 2.0 or above, and fulfill any other stipulations mandated by the Faculty Executive Committee.
- A student who is on probation for two successive semesters may be dismissed from the College.
- A student who receives three Fs or two Fs and two Ds may be dismissed from the College.
Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty
To plagiarize is to “steal and pass off as one’s own the ideas, words, or writings of another.” This dictionary definition is quite straightforward, but it is possible for students to plagiarize inadvertently if they do not carefully distinguish between their own ideas or paper topics and those of others. The Bard faculty regards acts of plagiarism very seriously. Listed below are guidelines to help students avoid committing plagiarism.
- All work submitted must be the author’s. Authors should be able to trace all of their sources and defend the originality of the final argument presented in the work. When taking notes, students should record full bibliographical material pertaining to the source and should record the page reference for all notes, not just quotations.
- All phrases, sentences, and excerpts that are not the author’s must be identified with quotation marks or indentation.
- Footnotes, endnotes, and parenthetical documentation (“in-noting”) must identify the source from which the phrases, sentences, and excerpts have been taken.
- All ideas and data that are not the author’s must also be attributed to a particular source, in either a footnote, endnote, or in-note (see above).
- Bibliographies must list all sources used in a paper. Students who have doubts as to whether they are providing adequate documentation of their sources should seek guidance from their instructor before preparing a final draft of the assignment.
Penalties for Plagiarism/Academic Dishonesty
Students who are found to have plagiarized or engaged in academic dishonesty will be placed on academic probation. Additional penalties may also include:
- Failure in the course in which plagiarism or dishonesty occurs
- Denial of the degree, in cases involving a Senior Project
- Expulsion from the College for a second offense
- Loss of all credit for that semester and suspension for the remainder of that semester
- Expulsion for a second offense
Students may not submit the same work, in whole or in part, for more than one course without first consulting with and receiving consent from all professors involved.
Withdrawal from the College and Rematriculation
Students in good academic standing who find it necessary to withdraw from the College may apply for rematriculation. They must submit an application for rematriculation to the dean of students, stating the reasons for withdrawal and the activities engaged in while away from Bard. A student who leaves Bard for medical reasons must also submit a physician’s statement that he or she is ready to resume a full-time academic program.
Students in good academic standing who wish to withdraw for a stated period of time (one semester or one academic year) may maintain their status as degree candidates by filing in advance a leave of absence form approved by the dean of students. Such students may rematriculate simply by notifying the dean of students of their intention to return by the end of the semester immediately preceding the semester for which they intend to return.
A student dismissed for academic reasons may apply for readmission after one year’s absence from Bard by writing to the dean of studies. The student’s record at Bard and application for readmission are carefully reviewed; the student must have fulfilled requirements specified by the Faculty Executive Committee at the time of dismissal.