A City Campus

The Barnard experience is inseparable from the New York City experience. Located on the West Side of Manhattan, and home to both Barnard and Columbia University, our neighborhood, Morningside Heights, is one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods. Historic Harlem – rich in African-American history and tradition, Central Park – with its northern-most border at 110th Street, and the Upper West Side – home to three thousand storefront businesses, are all short distances from campus. And the 116th Street subway stop near campus means that Chinatown, the East Village, Midtown, and Lincoln Center are accessible  in minutes. New York City nearly bursts with a pulse of unparallelled excitement and a more varied mix of people than that found in most countries. Yet, Barnard students enjoy the advantage of having a quiet, green campus oasis to which they can retreat when they return home and a sense of belonging to a community of scholars.

Morningside Heights, “The Academic Acropolis”

Home to nearly 40,000 people, the neighborhood around Barnard College offers a dynamic mix of educational, religious, and cultural institutions—and the services to support them. Stretching from about 106th Street to 123rd Street between Morningside Park and Riverside Park, Morningside Heights has a personality all its own, shaped by its many different residents: students, professors, families from all corners of the globe, shopkeepers, dog walkers, artists, musicians, with bookstores, cafes, restaurants, groceries, and stores that cater to the student consumer. In addition to Barnard students, many residents from the other six higher education institutions that surround Barnard’s campus also call Morningside Heights home.

New York City as Classroom

New York City is both a a vibrant laboratory in which Barnard students can apply classroom theory. The College weaves the city into its courses and the city filters into the course of daily life. Faculty involvement with New York makes it easy to call on other experts to lead classes or trade ideas. A theatre class might take in an off-off-Broadway performance, an anthropology class may have a behind the scenes tour at the American Museum of Natural History, and an Art History class may include regular visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Professors take advantage of their extended classroom by escorting students on field trips and assigning individual and groups to conduct field research. 

Following is a sampling of courses that incorporate New York City in their syllabi. * Note that individual courses may not be offered every semester or calendar year.

Approached by Sea: Early American Maritime Culture

Examine the role of the Atlantic Ocean in the sighting, settling, and formation of three American colonial cultures, the early U.S. as an international maritime presence, and its decline in the development of mid-19th century America.

The Hudson River Environment

Discover the integrated relationship between system function and human habitation for one of the great rivers of the world. Study geologic origins, watershed development, estuarine dynamics, habitats, fisheries, industrialization, and transformation of the landscape.

Shorelines and Streams

Interdisciplinary study of shoreline processes and larger ecosystems, involving sampling and identification techniques for rocks and minerals, fossils, water, soil, flora, and fauna, the creation of a field collection.

Dance in New York City

Study of the cultural roots and historical contexts of specific communities using New York City's dance scene as a laboratory. Students will observe the social movements in which various modes of dance works are created while researching the history of dance in New York City.

Intro to Connoisseurship

Seminar considering the factors involved in judging works of art, with emphasis on paintings; materials, technique, condition, attribution; identification of imitations and fakes; questions of relative quality. Class is taught by a Metropolitan Museum of Art curator, at the Museum.

New York Theatre

Students attend a variety of performances as well as a weekly lab meeting. Emphasis is placed on expanding students' critical vocabulary and understanding of current New York theatre and its history with additional focus on theatre management and production practices.

Science in the City

In partnership with the American Museum of Natural History students investigate pedagogical methods and ways to use New York City as a resource for science teaching and learning. Sessions are held both at Barnard and the museum.

Science and Technology in Urban Environments

Explores how technology shapes towns and cities, and how urban environments - including politics, economics, culture, and nature - have influenced technology. An essential part of the coursework is participation in a community-based learning project, working with local non-profit organizations.

Gender, HIV, and AIDS

An interdisciplinary exploration of feminist approaches to HIV/AIDS with emphasis on the nexus of science and social justice.

Theorizing Women's Activism

This class helps students develop and apply theoretical models to feminist organizations, locally and internationally. It involves reading, presentations, seminar reports, and guest lectures. Students use specific women's activist organizations as the basis for theoretical work.

New York City as Laboratory

The College's involvement with the city means extraordinary intellectual as well as practical learning opportunities. Barnard students enjoy curricular connections and internships, introducing them to the best New York can offer: law (firms and organizations such as Sullivan & Cromwell and the Legal Aid Society), medicine (Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Sloan-Kettering, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital), finance (the New York Stock Exchange, Chase Manhattan Bank, Morgan Stanley), publishing (giants such as HarperCollins and Random House as well as numerous small houses), journalism (The New York Times, CNN), art (the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and many of the nation's most important and influential private galleries), and international relations (the United Nations), among others. Learn more by connecting with our Office of Career Development.

Recent examples of internship opportunities for Barnard students:. 

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society
  • CNN
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • DKNY
  • Elle
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Legal Aid Society
  • Lincoln Center
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Microsoft, Inc.
  • MTV Networks
  • New York City Ballet
  • New York City Office of the Mayor
  • New York Times
  • New York Yankees
  • NPR
  • Random House
  • Sony/BMG Records
  • Sotheby’s
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Tribeca Film Festival
  • United Nations
  • United States House of Representatives
  • United States Senate

New York City as Neighbors

Part of the goal of any liberal arts education is to give back to one’s community in a meaningful way. Through community service, Barnard women use their education to make positive contributions to their community, gain exposure to the complexity of social problems and community assets, and begin learning to create innovative solutions to complex problems. In addition, there are a host of other reasons to serve: meeting new people, interacting with those who share your interests and passions, networking in a field while developing new career skills for their resume, and engaging in experiences to complement academic work. At Barnard, connecting to the community of New York City can occur in a variety of ways and through programs such as those that follow.

Civic Engagement

Barnard's Civic Engagement Program (NYCCEP) helps students use the city's resources in a systematic, thoughtful way, and educates them to become active, engaged citizens and leaders of a global community. Working with a variety of initiatives, NYCCEP enhances projects and activities of faculty, departments, and the Office of Career Development by helping students engage with the community of New York City. Examples include: First-Year Reach Out, the Civic Engagement House, and "Focus On" Dinners. In addition, students often continue service involvement in schools, hospitals, advocacy organizations and other not-for-profit agencies including the East Harlem Village Academy, Human Rights Watch, Star Learning Center, Reach Out and Read, and Women Make Movies. The America Reads Challenge, the Public Service Corps, and the Health Research Training Program are examples of service programs that draw large numbers of Barnard volunteers.

Additionally, many Barnard students serve the community through Community Impact, a non-profit organization housed on Columbia’s campus, which provides food, clothing, shelter, education, job training, and companionship for residents in the Harlem, Washington Heights, and Morningside Heights. A dedicated corps of faculty, staff, and nearly 1000 Columbia University student volunteers participate in service programs that serve over 8,000 people each year. Community Impact partners with 100 community organizations throughout the New York metropolitan area.

Urban New York

Urban New York is a program that runs throughout each semester and allows students to enjoy events in the city — for free! The program is only for first-year students in the fall, but is open to all undergraduates during the spring. On a first-come first-served basis, students can choose to attend an event such as: a Broadway or Off-Broadway show, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, a Yankees, Knicks, or Rangers game, or lunch at Gotham Grill. Students are accompanied by a member of the faculty or administration.

New York City as Cultural Resource

New York City is an international center of commerce, finance, culture, and politics and as such offer a wealth of academic, cultural, social, recreational, and professional opportunities. Throughout the city, Barnard students enjoy proximity to a huge number of cultural organizations and landmarks that enrich courses, provide extraordinary internship, fieldwork, and research opportunities—and endless fun. These are just a few of the many resources.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

This sprawling plaza, between 62nd and 66th on the West Side, includes Avery Fisher Hall, Metropolitan Opera House, New York State Theater, Vivian Beaumont Theater, and Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, and the Juilliard School.

Guggenheim Museum

5th Avenue at 89th Street. Modern, international art in a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 5th Avenue. Two million works of art spanning 5,000 years.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street. Contemporary visual art in all its forms—from sculpture to film to industrial design.

New York Public Library

5th Avenue at 42nd Street. One of the largest research collections in the world.

Statue of Liberty/ Ellis Island

A ferry takes you to Liberty Island, home of the statue, and Ellis Island, home of the American Museum of Immigration.

United Nations

1st Avenue at 45th Street The UN includes the General Assembly, the Secretariat, the Council Buildings, and the Dag Hammerskjold Library.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West (79th Street) One of the world’s largest natural history museums as well as a major research institution.

Central Park

Probably the most well-known urban park in the nation, this oasis in the city has lakes, meadows, nature trails, and roads for runners, roller skaters, walkers, and bicyclists.

South Street Seaport

This revitalized fish market is now an indoor-outdoor museum offering an assortment of free concerts and street entertainment, along with plenty of places to eat.