NYC as a Lab

At Barnard, New York City is our classroom. With one of the world's most diverse and culturally rich urban environments at our doorstep, we use the city to highlight ideas and test our thinking in the real world.

Take the 1 Train

New York City offers the kind of experiences that bring ideas to life, whether you’re on a quick trip to MoMA or the Met, at an off-Broadway show, analyzing Hudson River life, or in a session at the United Nations. Because Barnard classes are small and collaborative, it's easy for your professor to schedule a field trip or spontaneously head out to explore. By the end of your first year, you’ll be fully immersed in the city you can now call home.

In the middle of a painting class, we’ll have a heated discussion about how a particular artist actually painted a work. And instead of just looking it up in a book, in a snap we get on the subway, go to the Museum of Modern Art and look at the actual painting.

- Joan Snitzer, Professor of Art History and Visual Arts

student in museum

Engaging, Exploring, and Thinking Locally

A key component of Barnard’s innovative Foundations curriculum is Thinking Locally, a selection of place-based courses that take full advantage of New York City’s diverse resources. Barnard’s faculty has teamed up with local curators, archivists, scientists, and digital innovators to design classes that take full advantage of NYC’s resources and empower you to use everything that it has to offer, whether you’re diving into the archives at the Museum of Natural History, engaging in a movement workshop, or exploring the rapidly evolving story of Harlem. Along the way, you’ll tap into the expertise of leading institutions, learning from people who are the best in their fields. 

"My geology class labs were field trips throughout the city to check out the rock formations. It was one thing to learn about these ideas through a textbook, but being able to see these concepts in action really helped to reinforce what I was learning."

- Hannah Spierer '17

central park

Harlem Speaks

One of the highlights of place-based learning at Barnard is the Harlem Semester, which immerses participants in one of New York City’s most historically complex and culturally vital neighborhoods. We partnered with leading Harlem-based institutions to design a hands-on, multidisciplinary curriculum that critically examines Harlem as an intensively peopled place, alive today.

Harlem Speaks