Majors and Academic Programs

Degrees in 50 fields

Barnard offers bachelor’s degrees in approximately 50 fields. You can also minor, double major, design your own major, or pursue special degree programs in cooperation with Columbia University, Julliard, and The Jewish Theological Seminary. You’ll move from introductory courses to advanced-level seminars where independent research is emphasized. Pursue a capstone project or thesis of your own design, synthesizing theories and ideas while exploring your own original arguments.

 

Majors

Africana Studies
American Studies
Ancient Studies
Anthropology
Architecture/History and Theory of Architecture
Art History
Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures
Astronomy
Astrophysics
Biochemistry
Biology
Chemistry
Classics
Comparative Literature
Computer Science
Dance
Economic History
Economics
Economics and Mathematics
English
Environmental Biology
Environmental Policy
Environmental Science
European Studies
Film Studies
French and Francophone Studies
French Language and Literature
French Translation and Literature
German Language and Literature
German Studies
Greek and Latin (Classics)
History
Joint Major in Human Rights
Italian
Joint Major in Jewish Studies
Mathematics
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Music
Neuroscience and Behavior
Philosophy
Physics
Political Science
Psychology
Religion
Russian (Slavic)
Sociology
Spanish and Latin American Cultures
Statistics
Theatre
Urban Studies
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

 

Special programs

Barnard students can pursue special degree programs in cooperation with Columbia University, the Juilliard School, The Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Manhattan School of Music.

Double Degree Program—Jewish Theological Seminary (List College—AB/BA)

The Double Degree Program was launched in 1979 under the leadership of JTS Chancellor Gerson D. Cohen and then Barnard College President Jacquelyn Anderson Mattfeld. Its mission was to provide women with the opportunity to earn undergraduate degrees from both JTS and Barnard College. As an undergraduate division of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), List College specializes in Jewish Studies and grants a Bachelor of Arts. Double degree students may take courses in Bible, Hebrew language, Jewish history, Talmud, and Rabbinics, ultimately earning a bachelor degree both from Barnard College and List College. Enrolled Barnard students may also take classes at JTS and/or spend a year in residence. Application information.

Double and Joint Degree Programs with Columbia University

Within Columbia, Barnard offers five double and joint degrees in coordination with other schools in the Columbia University system. Interested students should consult the College catalogue for additional information. The schools are: School of International and Public Affairs; School of Law; School of Dental and Oral Surgery; and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Only currently enrolled Barnard students may apply for these programs and should initiate interest with the Dean of Studies Office no later than the sophomore year.

Combined (3/2) PlanFu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (AB/BS)

Under the Combined Plan Program, the first three years of the five-year program leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science are spent under the jurisdiction of Barnard College with a few courses taken in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. During the junior year, the student applies for admission to the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, where the remaining two years of more specialized engineering and focused major study are completed. At the end of five years of study, a Barnard student enrolled in the Combined Plan would earn two Columbia University degrees.

Admission to the program is guaranteed if a prospective student at Barnard successfully completes the following requirements: 1) maintains a 3.3 overall and pre-engineering GPA, 2) completes all foundational courses (engineering pre-requisites), general education requirements, and requirements for the major by the end of the spring semester of the application year. Prospective Combined Plan students should meet with the Dean of Studies to ensure they choose the correct prerequisite courses for their intended focus in engineering.

View information on admissions process for the Combined Plan Program on the Columbia admissions page and view this curriculum guide for more information on the Combined Plan Program curriculum information.

Accelerated Program in Interdisciplinary Legal Education (A.I.L.E.AB/JD)

Each year Barnard College has the option of nominating, in conjunction with the Columbia University School of Law, one or two juniors with outstanding records to enter the Law School under the A.I.L.E. program. To be nominated, a student must be exceptional, with an outstanding academic record, and must have taken the LSAT by March of her junior year with a score in keeping with the median level of applicants accepted to the law school in that academic year. This program is highly competitive. Interested students should consult the Dean of Studies Office early.

Joint degreesSchool of International and Public Affairs (AB/MIA or AB/MPA)

Barnard and the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs offer two joint programs leading to the A.B. degree and the Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.) or Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) after one additional year of study. Strong candidates possess related experience and outstanding academic records. Interested students should consult the Dean of Studies Office early and be prepared to complete the application in the spring of the junior year.

School of Dental and Oral Surgery (AB/DDS)

A limited number of qualified students may enter the Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery after three years of undergraduate work at Barnard. To be eligible for this program, the student must have completed 90 points of academic work at Barnard, including general education and major courses and all of the prerequisite courses for the School of Dental and Oral Surgery. This program is highly competitive. Interested students should consult the Dean of Studies Office as early as possible.

 

Barnard’s strengths

Barnard is known for the exceptional strength of its programs in architecture, dance, education, theatre, and urban studies, and takes the lead on directing these programs for both Barnard and Columbia.

Architecture

Whether they’re designing buildings or studying the impact of structures on our society, the faculty members and alumnae of Barnard’s architecture program are helping to steer the field into the future. Graduates are well prepared to pursue professional degrees in architecture or in disciplines ranging from Urban Planning to Media and Communications to Law.

Dance

With coverage in the New York Times, the Village Voice, and the Wall Street Journal, Barnard’s dance program gets noticed. Faculty members have taught and choreographed around the world, written books, served as dance critics, and performed with top dance companies.

Education

Through field placements in classrooms throughout New York City, our students experience urban teaching up close with the mentorship of experienced educators. Throughout the program, the emphasis is on developing teachers as intellectuals rather than merely technicians.

Theatre

Located at the intersection of the arts and humanities in the world’s theatrical capital, the theatre program is committed to the interaction of creative and critical work vital in shaping performance. Graduates have gone into a range of theatre and performance work as actors, directors, producers, and designers.

Urban studies

With one of the oldest urban studies programs in the nation—and a prime location in New York City—Barnard has long been a pioneer in exploring the issues facing cities. Alumnae make an impact as appointed and elected officials, teachers and scholars, activists, and leaders in public service. 

 

Cultivating powerful writers

Also known for producing some of the world’s most influential writers, Barnard has a writing program whose strength is evident across the curriculum—from First-Year English to the Writing Fellows Program to writing-intensive courses in every department—and the program serves as an incubator for developing writers. Faculty members and alumnae influence all of these fields on national and international levels.

 

Music opportunities

Passionate about music? You can take music courses or lessons and get involved in music performance groups at both Barnard and Columbia. Barnard coordinates all voice instruction for undergraduate students at the University, where Columbia takes the lead on instruction for other instruments. Learn more:
• Barnard College Music Department
• Columbia University Music Department
• Columbia University Music Performance Program

Exceptionally talented music students may qualify to take professional-level music lessons at the Manhattan School of Music or the Juilliard School, or to earn a joint degree with Juilliard. 

 

Barnard faculty on the strength of the College 

“To me, that’s the beauty of the Barnard dance department’s focus on both academics and technique—it allows students to be thinking dancers and thinking movers. It doesn’t view people as a dichotomy, as ‘your body’ and ‘your head.’ What’s fueling your mind is equally important as how you’re training your body.”  —Holly Williams ’79, Professor of Theater and Dance, University of Texas at Austin; past president, the American College Dance Festival Association

 

“Barnard’s urban studies program is one of the oldest programs in existence. We have access to unparalleled internships in every aspect of city life. And because it’s an interdisciplinary program, students can explore the city through the lens that’s most exciting to them.”  —Flora Davidson, Barnard alumna, Professor Emerita of Political Science and Urban Studies

 

“[Barnard’s architecture program] prepares you to be a leader in graduate school and in the field. It’s just an ideal situation for undergraduates. Here, we’re looking at Barnard as a model for the types of undergraduate courses we want to teach.”  —Betsy Williamson ’92, MA from Harvard; teaches in the University of Toronto’s architecture department; partner, Williamson Chong

 

“In the education program, we want students to see themselves as intellectuals acting as creative agents. If you want caring, effective, and inspiring teachers, they must be critical thinkers who can proactively engage with the problems we face in our educational system.”  —Lee Anne Bell, Professor and Barbara Silver Horowitz Director of Education

 

“Barnard theatre students draw on faculty members whose classroom work is enriched by their professional work in the New York theatre, and on teacher-scholars unparalleled in their study of theatre as a crucial element of the history of culture.”  —W. B. Worthen, Chair, Theatre Department; Alice Brady Pels Professor in the Arts

 

The performing arts at Barnard

Look inside the breadth of opportunities available in the performing arts department.

 

Factoid

The most popular majors at Barnard are English, psychology, political science, economics, history, and biology.