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Majors & Academic Programs

Learn more about our music lesson exchanges with Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music as well as our joint degree programs with the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia (including the 3/2 Combined Plan Program).

Barnard offers bachelor’s degrees in nearly 50 fields of the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, with multiple ways to specialize or concentrate in areas of specific interest. Many students select a major after discovering a new field, starting with introductory courses, moving on to more specialized material, and then progressing to advanced-level seminars where independent research is emphasized. Some choose to pursue coursework in more than one field, related or not, and find that the flexibility of a Barnard education allows for this pursuit. Barnard students do not declare a major until sophomore year. During the senior year, students often embark on a capstone project or thesis of their own design, synthesizing theories and ideas while exploring original arguments. Barnard women may also minor, double major, design their own majors, or pursue special degree programs in cooperation with Columbia, Juilliard, The Jewish Theological Seminary, the Manhattan School of Music, and others.

Discover the various majors, programs, and departments in the Barnard Catalogue.

Additionally, pre-professional guidance and curricular preparation is readily available for students interested in medicine or other health fields, law, business, and other graduate programs.

Music Opportunities at Barnard College

Students who would like to take music courses or lessons may do so through both the Barnard and Columbia College music departments, with ample opportunity for intermediate or advanced lessons, involvement in music performance groups, and courses in theory, composition, and history.  Barnard coordinates all voice instruction for undergraduate students at the University, where Columbia takes the lead on instruction for other instruments.  Auditions for these lessons take place during the first week of classes and opportunities are varied and deep for newer and more serious musicians.  Beginner lessons are only available for piano.

To learn more about all of the undergraduate and graduate academic opportunities in music, see the Barnard College Music Department and the Columbia University Music Department.  Additionally, learn more about extra- and co-curricular music opportunities through the Columbia University Music Performance Program.

In addition, exceptionally talented music students may be invited, via the Manhattan School of Music Cross Registration Program or the Juilliard Lesson Exchange Program, to take professional-level music lessons while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College. Admission to either lesson program, exchange or cross-registration, is highly selective and requires a full application and audition process separate from the Barnard admissions process. Participation in either program is contingent on admission to that program and to Barnard College. There is an additional tuition cost for participation in the Juilliard cross-registration program; there is no additional cost for the MSM program.

For more information, please review the following:

The Lesson Exchange and Joint Degree Program

Barnard-Juilliard Lesson Exchange and AB/MM Joint Degree Program
(Music lessons only - AB, Joint Degree  - AB/MM).

Application Information may be found here

Cross Registration

Manhattan School of Music Cross Registration Program (Music lessons only - AB). 

Application Information may be found here.

Regardless of their involvement with MSM, Juilliard or Barnard College’s music department, any and all interested students can pursue a wide variety of performance opportunities with the many Barnard/Columbia University ensembles.

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 may be found here.

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) Plan – Fu 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 complete the following requirments:  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 degrees – School 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.