Academics & Classrooms
In collaboration with Columbia University, Barnard is shifting to a three-semester academic calendar for the 2020-21 academic year — Fall, Spring, and Summer — and introducing new, flexible learning and research models to phase in the opportunity for students to take classes in person, as well as remotely.
Many classes across the curriculum will focus on the current moment, asking students to use different disciplinary lenses to interrogate and learn from this time in history, building on similar classes in economics, environmental science, anthropology, and other departments and programs.
Teaching & Learning
Immersive courses are offered in seven-week A or B parts of each semester to complement the College’s traditional calendar. This format:
- Doubles the number of scheduled course hours during the immersive seven-week period.
- Allows students to interact with remote pedagogy in more effective ways and to focus more deeply on one or two topics over a shorter period of time.
Big Problems: Making Sense of 2020
A unique First-Year Experience course required for the Class of 2024, “Big Problems: Making Sense of 2020,”:
- Fosters community among first-year students and connects them to the broader Barnard community.
- Encourages dialogue to help students make sense of and think critically about major issues that we face in 2020.
- Addresses how the crises of antiblack violence and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated social, economic, political, and ecological upheavals.
- Features a diverse slate of thought leaders who will contextualize our current moment via multiple intellectual lenses.
- Facilitates collaborative projects that will be preserved in Barnard’s Digital Archives.
The “Big Problems: Making Sense of 2020” lecture series is open to the entire Barnard community, and faculty and students are encouraged to incorporate these lectures in other curricular work.
Led by the Athena Center for Leadership, the Office of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Center for Engaged Pedagogy, ThirdSpace@ is a virtual co-curricular program that challenges students to ask themselves:
- In this moment, in which the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have illuminated the need for deep change, what is the leadership we need?
- How do we tackle critical issues through the lenses of equity and inclusion?
- How do we connect theory to practice and reflection to people’s lived experiences?
Through program components, SPARK and BUILD, students learn about practices or ideas put forth by leading change-makers in three areas – community safety, economic security, and the access gaps in education. Students then convene to explore these concepts and develop local community and civic engagement projects.
Visit ThirdSpace@ for more detailed information.
2020-21 Academic Calendar
The Fall term kicked off a three-semester schedule.
The 2020-21 three-semester academic calendar — Fall, Spring, and Summer — allows for maximum flexibility. The semesters are broken into two blocks each, allowing for Barnard’s new immersive courses. Adjustments have been made to winter and spring breaks around these blocks.
- Fall 2020 semester: September 8 - December 23
- Spring 2021 semester: January 11 - April 26
- Summer 2021 semester: May 3 - August 6
- Each semester is broken out into two parts — Part A and Part B. Students can enroll in immersive seven-week classes, in addition to semester-long classes. These intensive classes allow students to reduce their class load while participating in a depth of engagement and learning in a shorter time period.
- The additional Summer semester permits students to spread their full-time coursework over a longer duration.
- The Summer semester is designed so that students can take classes and also pursue an internship or summer employment opportunities.
- Commencement will be held in the last week of April, after the Spring semester concludes. Specific dates for both the Barnard and University Commencements are forthcoming, as well as a date for the in-person Commencement for the Barnard Class of 2020 that was postponed from this past spring.
Advising, Registration & Enrollment
Advising and Registration: Procedures and Policies
Spring registration: Nov. 16–20
- Students must be enrolled in a total of 24 credits over the course of AY 2020-21 in order to maintain full-time status. In a given semester, the maximum number of credits a student may take is 19 credits; over the course of the year, students may take no more than 45 credits overall.
- Students will be required to take the standard minimum of 12 credits for the Spring 2021 semester. However, students who may have special circumstances that impact their ability to take 12 or more credits in the Spring can seek an exception and should be in contact with their class dean.
- Students with F-1 visas must be enrolled as full-time students (12 credits/semester for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021). According to the latest SEVP guidance, continuing students in the US or abroad may take a fully-remote course of study and maintain their immigration status. First-year students that remain abroad for the fall semester may take a fully-remote course of study, however, may not be able to remain in active status in SEVIS; we are awaiting further guidance regarding the latter and will communicate this to students once available.
New and continuing international students should reach out to International Student Services (ISS) for advice, as needed.
- The Leave of Absence policies have been updated for the 2020-21 academic year.
Standard grading policies have been restored with one exception: the Pass/D/Fail option will follow normal procedures, except that P/D/F courses will not count towards the four-year total of 23 P/D/F credits allowed. We encourage you to discuss whether to P/D/F a course or courses with your advisor.
Barnard is phasing in a gradual reopening of laboratory research for faculty.
- The College is strictly adhering to New York State guidance and Columbia University Environment, Health, and Safety advice on physical distancing.
- All lab spaces follow specific guidelines on protective clothing, cleaning, and best practices with shared equipment.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided.
- Health and safety protocols include self-screening procedures.
- Research on campus is for faculty only. A limited number of students who serve as faculty support have been granted permission to work on campus.
Center for Accessibility Resources & Disability Services (CARDS)
Individual services for registered students continue to take place virtually until further notice. Services available during the 2020-21 academic year include:
- individual academic coaching
- peer note-taking
- assistive technology licenses and support
- requests for academic accommodations
- peer mentoring for first-year students
- virtual meetings with writing and speaking fellows
- consultation about individual accommodation plans with faculty members as needed
CARDS also provides group and individual guidance to students and faculty regarding reasonable accommodations for remote learning environments (such as asynchronous learning practices, class participation requirements, etc.).
Center for Engaged Pedagogy
The Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) provides support as the College strives towards inclusive and innovative pedagogical practices.
The CEP is active in curriculum development on campus, running faculty workshops and student-oriented programming in support of the 2020-2021 academic year planning. Additionally, the CEP continues to offer 1:1 consultations for faculty on course design, student engagement, and more.
Visit the CEP website for more information.
Once you've registered for a course, you'll also see the course syllabus on Course Works (sometimes referred to as Canvas). On the syllabus, the professor will usually note where you can find the readings online or if you need to get the text on your own. Often, professors will upload required class readings on Course Works in a PDF format that you can download and print out or read electronically. Sign into Course Works using your Columbia Uni log in info. You’ll find both Barnard and Columbia courses on here. Course Works is also where you usually submit assignments or will do weekly discussion posts. For other materials, review the library information on Course Materials.
All students are assigned a personal librarian so If you need any help finding books, definitely reach out. You can also contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students will be required to take the standard minimum of 12 credits for the Spring 2021 semester. However, students who may have special circumstances that impact their ability to take 12 or more credits in the Spring can seek an exception and should be in contact with their class dean. Students will be able to take a maximum of 19 credits per semester with a maximum of 45 credits for the three-semester academic year.
The minimum number of credits a student will need to take over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year to be considered a full-time student is 24 credits. Students with F-1 visas must be enrolled as full-time students (12 credits/semester for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021).
All seniors are permitted to take classes in Summer A and Summer B. These classes will count officially toward the student’s GPA and honors calculations. Seniors taking courses in Summer A or B will be allowed to walk in the April Commencement ceremonies, but October 2021 is the official degree conferral date for students who have enough credits to graduate in April but who choose to take additional Summer classes.
All seniors are permitted to take classes in Summer A and Summer B. These classes will count officially toward the student’s GPA and honors calculations. October 2021 is the official degree conferral date for students who have enough credits to graduate in April but who choose to take additional Summer classes. Seniors taking courses in Summer A or B will be allowed to walk in the April Commencement ceremonies.
Any continuing student may take a leave of absence and the decision to take a leave is very individual. As detailed on the Leaves of Absence and Returns webpage, the following policies are effective as of July for the 2020-2021 academic year:
- Students who opted for a Fall 2020 leave of absence, given potential enrollment constraints down the line, cannot be guaranteed an approval to return in Spring or Summer 2021, except for documented and approved medical leave or required academic leave.
- Students who take a leave for Spring 2021 cannot be guaranteed enrollment in Summer 2021 or Fall 2021, except for documented and approved medical leave or required academic leave.
- While we hope to welcome students back in the semester they wish to return, we may experience housing and enrollment constraints if a large number of students take a leave. Our communication about a non-guarantee intends to make students and families aware of potential constraints down the line so they can make a fully informed decision.
- Students who are considering taking a leave of absence should make an appointment with Dean Rebecca Grabiner, the College’s Case Manager, and work with the Dean of Studies Office regarding procedures and timeline.
- Housing cannot be guaranteed upon a student’s return, and the College may be unable to guarantee housing at any point thereafter, as per usual policy.
- Students cannot apply for study abroad for the semester immediately following the semester of their leave, as per usual policy.
- Students may not transfer in credits while on a leave of absence unless required due to academic leave requirements (that is, as directed by the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing).
Students should complete the Supplemental Academic Support form if they are experiencing financial hardships related to their education needs.
International students will have the opportunity to be involved in programming at select Columbia University Global Centers around the world. Columbia University and the Columbia Global Centers have launched an initiative to provide students with access to global study and community spaces. In 65 cities around the world students can convene, study, collaborate, and experience new programming opportunities created just for them, in safe, comfortable, and enriching environments.
Columbia-designated spaces at existing sites and pop-up locations include Columbia’s Global Centers in Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Nairobi, Paris, Santiago, and Tunis, which have expanded their capacities to become study centers for students in their regions, as well as dedicated spaces at WeWork facilities in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, and Seoul. In addition, students can now access non-Columbia-designat ed spaces at WeWork facilities in another 50 cities around the world. The University has also arranged for designated space for students in Tel Aviv, at Tel Aviv University, and in Athens, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.