Over the course of your first year at Barnard, you will take two required First-Year Experience courses: "First-Year Writing" and "First-Year Seminar." Both are small, writing-intensive courses that introduce you to the intellectual life of the college; equip you with critical reading, discussion, and writing skills that cross disciplinary boundaries and help you in all of your courses; and expose you to the cultural richness of New York City.
First-Year Writing courses work from the belief that writing is an essential tool in every discipline -- one that challenges you to develop meaningful, nuanced questions and complex ideas. Working closely with your instructor and peers, you will learn to translate those complex ideas into clear, precise, and persuasive essays. You will analyze a variety of novels, myths, memoirs, and short stories, along with other historical texts and scholarly articles that enrich your literary and cultural analyses. Readings in each course are inspired by one of three rubrics: Legacy of the Mediterranean, Women & Culture, and The Americas.
First-Year Seminars provide the opportunity to practice your critical reading and writing skills while learning about an interdisciplinary special topic designed by a Barnard professor. Readings range across genres and historical periods, drawing from a variety of literary texts, films, art, performance pieces, data, historical documents, and scholarly articles. Through generative class discussions and writing assignments, First-Year Seminars initiate you into the intellectual community of the college. Students choose either a Special Topics seminar or a section of Reacting to the Past.