General Education Requirements

The General Education Requirements consist of First-Year Foundations, two courses required of all first-year students, and 9 central ways of knowing the world. Every student participates in a senior capstone or thesis project through their major. Students must also fulfill a physical education requirement reflecting the College’s view that physical well-being is an essential part of a healthy and productive life.

First-Year Foundations

The first-year foundation courses are called First-Year English and First-Year Seminar. These courses are deliberately kept small in order to focus on individual participation and on methods of research, analysis, and revision. They ensure that first-year students skills in reading, writing, and speaking develop in ways that will support their learning throughout their years at Barnard.

9 Ways of Knowing

The nine ways of knowing are areas that include and bridge the traditional disciplines of liberal arts and sciences. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Ethics and Value
  2. Social Analysis
  3. Historical Studies
  4. Cultures in Comparison
  5. Laboratory Science
  6. Quantitative and Deductive Reasoning
  7. Language
  8. Literature
  9. The Visual and Performing Arts

The aims, student learning outcomes, and more information on each general education requirement is available in the Course Catalogue.

Please visit the Registrar's list of Current Courses Satifying General Education Requirements for more information.

For all previously approved GER courses, please visit Comprehensive List of Courses Satisfying General Education Requirements. Please note when advising a student, an audit of general education requirements is available on eBear.

How to Request a Course to fulfill a General Education Requirement

The Committee on Instruction approves all General Education Requirements (GER). For an existing course to be considered for a GER, the department chair must submit the "Submitting an Existing Course for a General Education Requirement Designation" form, which is found on the Forms and Guidelines page. A student may also submit an appeal for an general education requirement after she has completed the course. The "Student GER Appeal" form is located on the Forms and Guidelines page. If approved, the form is submitted to the Registrar and the student's degree audit is updated.