Academics & Resources
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
Beginning in the 2021 Spring semester, classes will be taught in a variety of formats, ranging from completely virtual to a combination of virtual/in-person to mostly in-person. Almost all classes, even those taught in-person on campus, will offer a remote-only option that will allow students to continue to pursue their studies remotely if they so choose.
Students who have completed their Spring term registration should review the course syllabi as they become available for more information about the instructor’s intended mode of classroom delivery, while recognizing that planned modalities may change throughout the semester based on class composition, the feasibility of in-person instruction, and professor discretion.
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 anti-black 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.
- Barnard International Students on F-1 visas that are interested in taking in-person classes during the 2021 summer session must be in “active” status. Students not presently in “active” F-1 visa status, should email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss eligibility.
- 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.
Visit the Summer Semester page for more information about registering for summer classes.
Summer Advising, Registration & Enrollment
Advising and Registration: Procedures and Policies
The summer presents an opportunity for all students who have earned fewer than 45 credits for the academic year to register for additional courses. For students who paid full-tuition charges for both Fall and Spring semesters(this includes students who received financial aid), these courses may be taken at no additional cost (except for any supplementary course fees). Students who do not meet this criteria will be responsible for paying for any additional credits at the $1,860 per credit rate. Students who wish to exceed the 45 credit maximum will be required to petition the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing and provide compelling reasons for needing the extra credits this year. If approved, they will be billed at the rate of $1,860 per credit.
Given the unique circumstances of the Academic Year 2020-21 calendar, summer credits will be treated somewhat differently this year:
- Credits taken at Barnard or through eligible Columbia programs during summer 2021 are excluded from the maximum of 16 summer credits -- as well as from the overall maximum of 60 external credits – that Barnard students are allowed to count towards the Barnard degree.
- Credits taken at Barnard or through eligible Columbia programs in summer 2021 will count as institutional (not transfer) credit and will count towards a student’s Barnard GPA.
- Courses and grades taken at Barnard or through eligible Columbia programs will display on the Barnard transcript as they do during the fall and spring semesters.
- Because of the added third semester this academic year, it is expected that all summer 2021 coursework will be taken either at Barnard or through eligible Columbia Programs. Exceptions to this policy will be considered only for students who were enrolled full-time at Barnard in both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Summer credit options outside of Barnard and eligible Columbia programs must be pre-approved by the Class Dean. More information can be found here.
Barnard summer courses will appear in the Directory of Classes beginning the week of February 22, 2021. Please note that courses will not be visible in Student Planning until March 1.
Although faculty advisors will be available to assist your planning as needed, your advisors will not be required to activate the "Grant Permission to Register" function in order for you to register for summer courses. Please reach out to your advisor or Class Dean as needed.
Barnard International Students on F-1 visas that are interested in taking in-person classes during the 2021 summer session must be in “active” status. Students not presently in “active” F-1 visa status, should email email@example.com to discuss eligibility.
Guidelines for summer registration can be found on the Registration website
Please note the Leave of Absence policies have been updated for the 2020-21 academic year.
Grading Policies for 2020-2021
Standard grading policies have been restored for the 2020-2021 academic year 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 [or 22 for transfer students] allowed. In addition to this policy change, the First Year Experience Program piloted a Pass/Fail policy for First Year Writing and First Year Seminar this academic year.
The procedures for electing a P/D/F are delineated on the the Registrar's website.
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.
Because of the added third semester, we expect that all summer 2021 coursework will be taken at Barnard or through eligible Columbia programs. Exceptions will be considered only for students who were enrolled full-time at Barnard in both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Students who would like to discuss their options should speak with their class dean about next steps. All summer credit taken outside of Barnard and eligible Columbia programs must be pre-approved using the course approval form below, or credit will not be granted. Students will be responsible for the tuition charged for all summer credit taken elsewhere.
If a student is approved to take courses elsewhere, these credits will count as transfer credit and will not count towards a student’s Barnard GPA. These credits will also count towards the maximum of 16 summer credits -- and the overall maximum of 60 external credits – that Barnard students are allowed to count towards the Barnard degree.
Online courses taken elsewhere will not be approved for credit unless they are delivered synchronously, with regularly scheduled meeting times during which students and faculty meet, albeit remotely, for the requisite 35 hours per session.
Current juniors and rising seniors who would like to participate in study abroad opportunities in summer 2021 must first submit an application to the Barnard Global Office.
If approved to take credits elsewhere, students must complete this form [link to summer 2021 course approval form coming soon] in order to apply to receive credit for each individual course. This must be done in advance of starting the program. Credit will not be granted unless a course has been pre-approved.
As per Barnard's usual policy, full-time enrollment status requires that students enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per semester, and a minimum of 24 credits over the course of the academic year 2020-21.
Barnard students enrolled full-time in the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters may earn a maximum of 45 credits offered by Barnard or eligible Columbia programs during academic year 2020-21. Of these 45 credits, a maximum of 19 credits can be earned during the summer 2021 semester.
All seniors are welcome to continue their coursework in Summer A and Summer B, as long as they remain below 45 credits for the year, and all seniors taking courses in Summer A or B will be allowed to participate in the April Commencement ceremonies.
Degrees will not officially be conferred until all Barnard and Columbia coursework is complete. June 2021 will be the official degree conferral date for seniors who complete their coursework in Summer A. October 2021 will be the official degree conferral date for seniors who complete their coursework in Summer B.
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).
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-designated 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.
Once you've registered for a course, you'll also see the course syllabi as they become available. 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 should complete the Supplemental Academic Support form if they are experiencing financial hardships related to their education needs.