Why Study Science at Bard?
The advantages of small classes with individual attention to students are well recognized. More challenging material can be introduced in class and in the laboratory when dedicated professionals are involved and interested in student progress. The science programs at large universities often rely on graduate students, not professors, to lead "discussion sections" and supervise laboratories. Graduate students have widely varied backgrounds, alternate interests and priorities. Large undergraduate classes also require computer grading of exams which take the form of multiple choice, or short answer tests that encourage factual knowledge over conceptual understanding.
At Bard, the first-year class size is typically below thirty students and a statistical distribution of grades is not expected. A course may see few A grades one year and a predominance of A grades the next. Students are NOT in direct competition with each other and this fosters an intellectually stimulating and supportive attitude among our science students.
While these advantages of small classes may occur in other small schools, we believe that Bard has an edge over many other similar institutions. We have made the commitment to attract and keep the very best educators that we can find. We also encourage and support faculty research by providing the time, the tools and the freedom to pursue their most interesting ideas. Our professors find teaching and research enjoyable and mutually supportive. This benefit is passed along to our students in their classes and research projects.