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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.

A list of current courses satisfying general education requirements is available on the Registrar's website. Comprehensive lists of courses that fulfill and were declined the general education requirements are also available online. When advising a student, an audit of which general education requirements they have fulfilled is available on eBear.

How to Request that a Course fulfills a Requirement

The Committee on Instruction approves all general education requirements. The request must come from the department chair. A student can also submit an appeal for an general education requirement after she has completed a course. If approved, it request grants an exception and allows the course to fulfill the general education for the semester in which the student took the course.