Signature Programs Define the Junior Year at Bard College at Simon’s Rock
More and more students are choosing to stay at Bard College at Simon’s Rock for their bachelor’s degree. It’s a trend the College partly attributes to the introduction and expansion of its Signature Programs—programs that encourage students to find their education not just in the classroom, but out in the world.
These programs are starting to define the junior year experience at Simon’s Rock, and they’re drawing more students to the Upper College.
While students cite supportive and meaningful relationships with professors as the chief reason for staying at Simon’s Rock, the Signature Programs offer a model that gives students both structure and flexibility to shape their course of study. And because the College has developed and vetted these programs, students trust they will get a rewarding experience from any program they choose.
Signature Programs evolved from a single offering in 2006 to seven programs in 2010, with seven more in various stages of development. Upper College students (a.k.a. BA candidates) have a variety of programs and locations to choose from, including:
- Simon's Rock/Columbia University Engineering Program (3/2 program): After spending three years at Simon’s Rock, students spend two years studying at Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Students in the program receive a BA from Simon’s Rock and a BS from Columbia.
- Signature Program partnership with the International Center for Photography/Bard in New York City for photography students. One of the medium’s most important schools and museums welcomes Simon’s Rock juniors for a year of shooting and developing.
- Simon’s Rock Scholars at Oxford University, where students become fully matriculated students at Oxford’s Lincoln College.
- Programs in Turkey at Boğaziçi University (the premier Turkish university) and Izmir University of Economics.
- Bard Globalization and International Affairs (BGIA) program in New York City. Upper College students have long availed themselves of the opportunity to take classes at Bard College’s main campus. Bard now reserves spots in the small and highly selective BGIA program specifically for Simon’s Rock students.
Because the Simon’s Rock classroom experience is unique, some students don’t want to go away for even a semester. Two on-campus Signature Programs offer a world of unique opportunity locally. The Junior ProSeminar in the Social Sciences and the Bridges Program in the Arts both offer advanced courses with curriculum tied to visiting scholars and artists who lecture about their work, lead workshops, and collaborate with students.
The College is working to forge new partnerships to add to the array of offerings. Possible future programs include studying the United Nations in Switzerland, theater in Moscow, and language and East Asian culture in China. With support from donors, the College has endowed scholarship funds to support students participating in these programs. As a result, more and more members of the junior class are choosing to take part.