Bard College

Superb, Selective Liberal Arts Education at Bard

Bard College appears in our ranking of the 30 Best Colleges for Young Democrats.

Logo of Bard College for our profile of the school

Placed 56th nationally by the U.S. News & World Report, Bard College is a private, non-profit AACU member in New York’s Hudson Valley that offers 35 bachelor’s and 15 graduate degrees, including three hybrid online options, at a 10:1 student-professor ratio for 96 percent retention. For example, the 128-credit BA in Computer Science encourages undergrads to code in Kayden Computation Center, enter the Robotics Day Challenge, compete at the ACM Programming Contest, and join Women in STEM. Chaired by Dr. Jonathan Becker, the BA in International Studies follows a 128-credit, four-year curriculum for a Global Affairs or Global Public Health specialization with Model Union Nations practice, Ascienzo Family Foundation service, and study abroad trips from Berlin to Bishkek.

Online via Moodle, the Bard MBA in Sustainability delivers a 60-credit, low-residency sequence in the Impact Finance or Circular Value Chain Management track with only 20 four-day Annandale retreats plus NYCLab consulting projects for clients like Siemens and Nasdaq. The Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts grants a 60-credit MFA in Photography with intensive, eight-week seminars, such as Analogue Experimentation, and Woods Studio practice before the 10-month master’s project. Other opportunities include the BA in Theology, BA in Economics, BA in Mathematics, BA in Writing, BA in Anthropology, MA in Curatorial Studies, and MM in Choral Conducting.

Featured Programs

About Bard College

Bard College originated on March 1, 1860, when the Episcopal Church started St. Stephen’s College for theological training at John and Margaret Bard’s 18-acre Blithewood Estate. In 1861, New York Central Railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt became a leading benefactor. In 1895, the Greek Revival-style Hoffman Memorial Library was notably constructed. In 1919, President Bernard Iddings Bell adopted a four-year, secular liberal arts curriculum. In 1928, it merged with Columbia University for Ivy League undergrad academics. Six years later, it was formally renamed Bard College to honor its creator. In 1944, Bard became independent from Columbia and coeducational. In 1950, Tewksbury Hall was added to its 600-acre Annandale campus in the Catskills. By 2002, Bard began the United States’ first BA in Human Rights. In 2011, Bard College launched its three-week Citizen Science Program.

Endowed for $267 million, Bard College now employs 297 faculty teaching 2,211 Raptors from 26 countries in nearly 1,250 courses online, at 35 affiliate locations, and in the Hudson River Historic District with 120+ clubs like the Theatre Artists Guild. In 2003, Bard won the SPIN Best Campus Publication Award for The Free Press. In 2014, US President Barack Obama awarded the National Humanities Medal to Bard’s Clemente Course. Its New Annandale House also accepted the 2018 DrivenxDesign New York Design Gold Award. Forbes named Bard the 139th best private college and 69th top liberal arts school. On Niche, Bard boasts America’s 56th best art degrees, 170th most campus diversity, and 174th best professors. The Princeton Review chose Bard College for the 14th best classroom experience. Washington Monthly crowned Bard the 205th best affordable elite institution.

Bard College Accreditation Details

On June 22, 2017, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Board of Trustees commended Bard College for participating in the Collaborative Implementation Project and reaffirmed the Level V accreditation through 2025-26 under its 14th president, Dr. Leon Botstein, who earned the Bruckner Society of America’s Kilenyi Medal of Honor. Based 191 miles down Interstate 87 in Philadelphia, this esteemed eight-territory Atlantic Coast Region accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and New York State Office of Higher Education. In October 2017, the Master of Arts in Teaching was accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) too.

Bard College Application Requirements

Admission to Bard College is classified “moderately difficult” by Peterson’s because just 2,865 of the 4,922 Fall 2017 applicants were okayed for selective 58.2 percent acceptance. First-year Raptors must complete the New York State Regents high school diploma or out-of-state and GED equivalents. Four years of English and Mathematics are strongly preferred. Freshmen generally have As and Bs for an average 3.79 GPA. For 40 years, Bard has been test-optional to prioritize talents and passions over scores. That said, undergrads achieve a median 1330 SAT and 29 ACT mark. Eligible BA transfers must have at least 64 credits remaining and cumulative GPAs above 2.5. International students are responsible for verifying 7.0 IELTS and 100 TOEFL scores or better. The Graduate Center only seeks entrants with accredited bachelor’s degrees and minimum 3.0 GPAs. Grades of 3.3 and higher qualify for the GRE/GMAT Waiver. Hybrid MBA cohorts must fulfill two prerequisites for Introductory Economics and Accounting.

Bard College abides freshman deadlines of November 1st for Early Action and January 1st for Regular Decision. Bachelor of Arts transfers must apply before March 1st for Fall or November 1st for Spring enrollment. The Online MBA in Sustainability closes on May 15th each year. Bard Conservatory of Music cohorts must file by January 1st. The Master of Arts in Teaching has a March 15th deadline. The Center for Curatorial Studies only considers candidates until February 1st. Accordingly, submit the Bard or Common Application online for $50 ($65 if graduate). Have official transcripts mailed to PO Box 5000 in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504. Other checklist items include the standardized tests, graded writing sample, two teacher recommendations, motivation statement, English proficiency proof, art portfolio, interview, and résumé or CV. Inquire further by contacting (845) 758-7472 or

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-20, Bard College is billing full-time Bachelor of Arts tuition of $27,783 each semester or $55,566 annually. Excess credits above 20 are charged $1,736 each. Undergrads pay the $352 facilities fee and $470 health services fee each term. Tuition insurance plans are $752 each Fall. Residing at the Annandale-on-Hudson campus’ dorms like Hirsch Hall adds $15,876 for room and board yearly. Bard budgets $1,000 for books and $1,600 for personal supplies. Annual undergrad attendance equals about $72,768 on-site and $57,280 at home. The Levy Economics Institute has MA tuition of $34,610. MFA cohorts spend $17,473 each session. Center for Environmental Policy post-grads spend $35,972 by year. The MBA in Sustainability costs $74,430 total part-time.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Financial Aid Office in Physical Plant Room 108 gets 67 percent of full-time Bard Raptors soaring with median assistance of $37,775 each for $49.82 million combined. Institutional funds include the Artine Artinian Scholarship, George Alden Scholarship, Hannah Arendt Scholarship, Sybil Brenner Bernstein Scholarship, Muriel DeGré Scholarship, Elaine de Kooning Memorial Scholarship, Stanley Landsman Fellowship, Emerald Rose McKenzie Scholarship, Betsy Richards Memorial Scholarship, and Werner Wolff Scholarship. The $1,500 Distinguished Scientist Scholarship has a January 1st deadline for STEM majors with minimum 3.3 GPAs. The Early College Opportunity Scholarship covers full tuition for high school students taking courses at nine centers from Newark to New Orleans. FAFSA applications coded 002671 are required for Federal Pell Grants, SEOG Grants, Work-Study Awards, and Direct Loans. New Yorkers also pursue the Tuition Assistance Program, Education Opportunity Program, Enhanced Tuition Award, World Trade Center Scholarship, and more.

Search through four accredited divisions for 55+ degrees ranked 293rd overall by The Wall Street Journal on the Bard College website.