ACADEMIC LIFEGraduation requirements ensure that a Barnard degree means something; all students must be competent in writing, quantitative reasoning,and in a foreign language.Beyond the depth provided by a major field (from which there are about sixty to choose,or students may combine or design their own), distribution requirements guarantee exposure to the humanities, social and natural sciences, visual and performing arts as well as to a variety of cultures and societies. Several of the requirements overlap,however,and students always have a choice as to how to fulfill them. Although all students must take First-Year
English,there are several topical areas from which to choose (American Identities and Writing Women's Lives are two of them).Its companion course,First-Year Seminar, is taught by faculty from all departments, allowing every first-year student the opportunity to discuss and write about subjects ranging from The Woman Warrior to The Psychology of Communication and from The Existence of Evil to The Crisis of Authority . Both of these courses are limited in size to promote active participation,lively discussion, and plenty of personal attention from the professors.