First-year students take two courses to help them develop their skills in reading, writing, and speaking. First-Year Foundation courses are writing-intensive seminars. They introduce students to the intellectual life of the college, and also expose them to the cultural richness of New York City.
Every Barnard first-year student is required to take First-Year English during her first or second semester at Barnard. Students choose to study one of three rubrics: Legacy of the Mediterranean features a curriculum of classic texts representing key intellectual moments that have shaped Western culture. Women and Culture features a more global curriculum exploring the role of women in literature and culture. The Americas features a curriculum of texts that exemplify the dynamic relationship between North, South, and Central American literatures.
Every Barnard first-year student is required to take a First-Year Seminar during her first or second semester at Barnard. First-Year Seminars are designed to develop students' skills in critical reading and analysis, writing, and effective speaking. First-Year Seminars are intellectually challenging interdisciplinary courses; they explore important issues through significant texts ranging across genres and historical periods. Seminars also serve to initiate students into the intellectual community of the college.