Bard offers a unique, diverse blend of structure and choice when it comes to academic exploration. Courses with an enrollment averaging around a dozen Bardians allow for the intimate discussion and one-on-one student-professor interaction that wouldn’t be feasible in a larger, more impersonal lecture hall setting. Whether students are mulling over philosophy or working closely with a professor on a particular painting or musical piece, they will always receive the attention affordable in a close-knit academic environment. Many classes are fairly writing-intensive, as professors ask students to compose multiple essays related to the semester’s course work. Others focus on performative acuity or artistic risk taking.
By the end of sophomore year, most students are required to ‘moderate’ into a particular division of study (similar to declaring a major). In order to moderate, the student must first complete a certain number of requisite courses related to their major, as well as (but not always) successfully finish some sort of entrance exam or project. For instance, students moderating into the psychology program are asked to write a critical evaluation of a psychological journal essay, while students entering into the dance program are required to choreograph one or more performances. While moderation is usually a stressful time for Bardians, it ultimately helps to prepare them for future course work and the far more rigorous demands of their senior project.