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Barnard College appears in these rankings:

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When it was founded Barnard College was the only college in New York City and only one of a few in the country where women could receive the same education available to men. The school was named for Frederick A.P. Barnard who fought for the admission of women to Columbia University when he was president of that school, although his attempt was unsuccessful. It was a student and writer, Annie Nathan Meyer, who was dissatisfied with Columbia's decision not to admit women. She and a small group of peers petitioned the university to establish a self-sustaining liberal arts women's college. Meyer and her friends accomplished their goal two years later.

The first class met in a rented brownstone at 343 Madison Avenue near Grand Central Station. Nine years later, the school moved to its current location on Morningside Heights. The school is known as one of the Seven Sisters, a group of colleges for women all founded during the same period. Along with Barnard, the other colleges included Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley. The Seven Sisters were known for taking women seriously and providing them with the same rigorous academics as those provided to men at other colleges.

In 1900, Barnard was included in the Columbia University system, although it had some attributes that were unique among women's colleges. The school had its own trustees, faculty and dean. It was also responsible for obtaining its own endowment and facilities. Barnard shared instruction, the libraries and degrees with Columbia. When Columbia became co-ed in 1983, some thought that Barnard would be merged with the university, but President Ellen Futter fought for Barnard to retain its independence.

Today, as it was in the beginning, Barnard is a distinguished leader in education. It is still a women's college and 60 percent of the faculty are also female. Women have led the college since the beginning, starting with Ella Weed in 1889 and up to Debora Spar today. Barnard understands its responsibility to address gender issues and to help students achieve the personal strength necessary to overcome challenges throughout their lifetimes.

Barnard College Accreditation Details

Barnard College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. During the reaffirmation process in 2011, the Commission commended Barnard for progress to date and for the quality of education they offer to students. Accreditation indicates that Barnard meets or exceeds criteria set forth by the Commission that indicates excellence in education and the constant improvement the school makes in order to continue providing outstanding studies to women.

Barnard College Application Requirements

First year students who wish to attend Barnard must complete the Common Application and the Barnard Writing Supplement as well as the applicable application fee. Students must submit official SAT or ACT test scores. Students must also submit a School Report and Midyear Report as well as two core academic subject teachers. Students must also provide official high school transcripts as well as any college transcripts if they have earned college credits while attending high school. An optional on-campus interview can also be arranged. Students wishing to enter art, music, dance, theatre or creative writing programs must submit a supplementary portfolio.

Students who are attending other colleges or universities who wish to transfer to Barnard must complete the Transfer version of the Common Application and submit the Writing Supplement for Transfer and Visiting Students along with the applicable fee. Students must send official college transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. Students must also submit one Common Application College Report to the college where they are currently enrolled as well as a Common Application Academic Evaluator form from a professor in whose class they have been enrolled for the past year. Grades from each instructor may be submitted on the Common Application Mid-term Report Form, if the student is currently attending college. Students must also submit an official final high school transcript. All transfer students, regardless of the number of credits earned elsewhere or the years since high school, must submit SAT or ACT scores. A Secondary School Final Report must also be submitted as well as catalogue or bulletin descriptions for all courses taken at other colleges. Students wishing to enter art, music, dance, theatre or creative writing must also submit a portfolio.

Barnard College Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time tuition at Barnard College is $46,040 per year. Financial aid is available and based on financial need. Barnard does not offer merit scholarships. The average total grant for a first-year student at Barnard is between $38,901 and $41,722 with 50 percent of all students receiving some form of financial aid. The average student graduates with $16,964 in debt after attending Barnard.

Barnard College Degree Program(s) Available


One of the most popular degree programs at Barnard is Psychology. Students are exposed to a diverse discipline that includes ten courses in Psychology, seven lectures or seminars, two labs and one senior requirement. The student is also required to take three courses outside of Psychology. Courses required include:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Psychology of Learning
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Perception
  • Systems Behavior and Neuroscience
  • Personality
  • Social Psychology
  • Development Psychology

Students must complete a senior thesis and are required to choose one course from a cognate discipline as well as complete two semesters in the same outside science that includes a laboratory, such as biology, astronomy, chemistry, environmental science or physics. The student must earn a C- or better in all Psychology courses.


The Architectural program at Barnard College explores the relationships between architectural design, history, theory and criticism. Students may choose between the studio-based Architecture major or The History and Theory of Architecture major. Courses required for the Architecture major include:

  • Architectural Representation: Abstraction
  • Architectural Representation: Perception
  • Architectural Design I & II
  • Perceptions of Architecture

Students must also take electives and a Senior Seminar. Students must submit a portfolio and writing sample in order to graduate from the program. Courses required for the History and Theory of Architecture include:

  • Architectural Representation: Abstractions
  • Architectural Representation: Perception
  • Architectural Design I & II
  • Perceptions of Architecture
  • Introduction to Art History I & II

Students are also required to take Architecture elective courses and two Art History electives along with the Senior Seminar. Students must complete a senior thesis as well.

Barnard College, since its inception, has provided outstanding, rigorous educational opportunities for women. The school continues that legacy today, preparing young women for success in their chosen field of study.

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