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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? On this page, we have tried to answer many of the most commonly asked questions about applying to and attending CCS Bard. Click a question for the answer (the back button on your browser will return you to the top of the list), or scroll down to browse the information. Have a question we haven’t answered? Need more information? We’re happy to help. Please write or call +1 845.758.7895 if you can not find what you are looking for here.
Information for all Potential Students
Who can apply to the program?
Applicants to the CCS Bard Master of Arts program in curatorial studies are required to hold an A.B., B.A., B.S., or B.F.A. degree from an accredited college or university in the United States, or a baccalaureate or equivalent degree from a college or university outside of the United States. While the applicant’s undergraduate degree does not have to be in art history or the studio arts, applicants must demonstrate a broad knowledge of the history of art and familiarity with contemporary arts. Applicants are admitted from throughout the United States and the world. Our student body is currently approximately 30% international.
What is the application deadline?
Applications to the CCS Bard graduate program are due on February 1 of each calendar year. Applications are accepted online only, and the link to the online application system can be found here.
What forms and documents will I need to apply to the program?
In addition to the online application form, there are several supplemental materials the Center requires to complete your application. These include a brief personal statement, a brief proposal for a curated project, a curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and depending on your citizenship, additional forms regarding proficiency in English and personal finances. More information for applicants who are not U.S. Citizens is provided below.
What if I am unable to submit all required materials by the February 1 deadline?
While the Center encourages all applicants to complete their application in full by the February 1 deadline, we do recognize that occasionally the additional materials—particularly transcripts and recommendations—may not arrive at CCS Bard by the deadline. If you suspect that your application may not be complete by the February 1 deadline, please contact CCS Bard at or +1 845.758.7598 and speak to the graduate program administrator. Depending on which materials are outstanding, you may be able to obtain an extension. Extensions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed.
If I apply, when will I know whether or not I have been admitted to the program? And when do I need to respond?
Applicants to the CCS Bard graduate program are notified of admission by March 31 of each year, and have until April 15 to notify CCS Bard of their intention to enroll.
Information for International Students
What additional forms and materials are required from students who are not U.S. Citizens?
In addition to the online application and the forms required of all students listed above, international students must also submit evidence of proficiency in English as a foreign language, and a Certification of Finances proving that adequate funds are available to pay tuition and support yourself during the two-year course of study. More information on both of these requirements appears below.
How do I submit proof of efficiency in English as a foreign language?
The most common test students take to provide proof of proficiency in English as a foreign language is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). CCS Bard prefers a minimum score of 79-80 on the iBT version of the TOEFL to be admitted to the program.
Can I take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) instead?
Yes, while CCS Bard prefers international applicants take the TOEFL, we will also accept a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS.
What if I cannot take the test before the February 1 deadline?
If you are unable to take the test before the deadline, but do intend to take the test, please contact CCS Bard to make arrangements for submitting your scores.
How do I submit a Certification of Finances?
A Certification of Finances can be submitted as an affidavit from a bank; a certification letter from the applicant’s parents, or sponsors, showing their ability to provide the necessary funds; or certification from an employer of anticipated income. If you have any questions at all about the Certification of Finances, please contact CCS Bard Admissions at or call +1 845.758.7598. Completing the Certification of Finances is a requirement for applying for financial aid as well. Please see the financial aid section below for more information.
Are International Students Eligible to receive financial aid?
Yes. In fact 90% of our students, regardless of their citizenship, receive some form of financial aid. More information on applying for aid appears below
Will I need a visa, and how do I get one?
Yes. All international students, or any student without U.S. citizenship will be required to obtain a visa prior to traveling to the U.S. Most students will apply for an F-1 visa, although certain other visa types are also acceptable for studying in the U.S. The College does provide support services for obtaining the visa. However, students are responsible for all costs and fees, including FedEx expenses, for processing visas. As requirements vary depending on each student’s nationality and situation, CCS Bard will contact admitted students to arrange for obtaining a visa after the student submits their notification of enrollment.
Tuition and Fees
How much is tuition?
Tuition for the 2018–2019 academic year is $39,748, and may vary slightly from year to year. Tuition rates are determined by Bard College administration, and increases rarely exceed 4% from year to year. It is important to note, however, that approximately 90% of students enrolled at CCS Bard receive some form of financial aid which can significantly defray the total cost of attending the program. Please see below for more information on financial aid and how to apply.
What additional fees am I responsible for?
Fees include a $110 registration fee (each semester), a $225 security deposit, a $470 Health Services fee, and a $1,000 fee for exhibition expenses for the final master’s degree project, billed in installments of $500 per semester during the second year of study. A $120 fee is charged prior to graduation.
Do I need health insurance?
Yes. All enrolled students are required to hold valid health insurance. The College provides a mandatory plan through J. Allen Flood companies, although in certain cases participation in Bard’s program may be waived if the student can provide sufficient proof of equal or better coverage. For students enrolling at Bard for the 2018–2019 academic year, the 12-month health insurance plan costs $2,828and covers up to $500,000 per sickness or injury. This premium is charged in full at the beginning of the academic year. Once enrolled, students are committed for the full year; there is no opportunity to opt-out of the plan until the following year. In addition, students will be charged a mandatory Bard health services fee of $470. The health services fee cannot be waived. More information about health insurance and medical records is available here.
Financial Aid
Should I apply for financial aid?
More than 90% of CCS Bard students receive some form of financial aid. Applying for financial aid will have no impact on the graduate committee’s decision to admit you to the program, therefore, students who do not have sufficient funds to pay full tuition are encouraged to apply. If you intend to apply for aid, you will be asked to indicate this while filling out the online application.
Is financial aid available for international students?
Yes. While U.S. citizens do have access to loans and grants through the U.S. government and private organizations that are not available to non U.S. Citizens, CCS Bard does provide scholarship and fellowship support to international students and U.S. citizens alike on the basis of academic merit and financial need.
How much aid will I receive?
CCS Bard awards two types of aid: scholarship awards, which are based on financial need, and fellowship awards, which are based on academic merit as determined by the graduate committee. Financial aid award packages are typically a combination of scholarship and fellowship support, and award packages range from 10-70% of total tuition costs, with most students falling in the 25-40% range. Awards higher than 40% are not common, so incoming students should plan to finance the majority of their studies and living expenses from other sources.
What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?
The deadline for applying for financial aid is February 1, the same day as the application for admission to the program is due.
How do I apply for financial aid?

All students who intend to apply for financial aid will be asked to indicate their intentions as part of the online application process. Then, instructions are as follows depending on whether or not you are a U.S. citizen or international:

For U.S. students: All U.S. students applying for financial must fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which can be found here.

For international students: All international students applying for financial aid must fill out both the International Student Financial Aid Application and an International Students Certification of Finances form.

When will I know if I will be receiving financial aid?
All financial aid awards from CCS Bard are determined at the same time as admission, and are sent in conjunction with letters of acceptance to the program, which occur on March 31 of each academic year. While decisions about admission and awards of financial aid are determined concurrently, award letters are issued by the Bard College Office of Financial Aid, and may arrive several days to two weeks after you receive your letter of acceptance.
If I receive aid in my first year, will I also receive aid in my second year?
Students must be in good academic standing to receive renewed aid during their second year, but typically students receive the same financial aid package in their second year as they do in their first.
What if I have more questions about financial aid?
If you have additional questions about the process or the forms, please write, or call us at +1 845.758.7598.
Common Questions about the Curriculum
How flexible is the course schedule?
During each semester of both years, there are courses that are required of all students. In addition to required courses, there are approximately 3 – 4 electives offered each semester, as well as workshops, lectures, and other required projects. Students have flexibility to shape certain aspects of their coursework, such as electives, but can expect to be in classes or related activities 4 days per week.
What is the average class size?
Each incoming class is composed of between 12 and 15 students. Enrollment in required courses consists of all the students in any given class. Elective course enrollment averages between approximately 6 – 12 students per course. Supplementing the core curriculum are a variety of workshops, study groups, tutorials, and office hours providing ample opportunities for one-on-one interaction with faculty members, residents, and visiting artists and scholars.
Can I take Bard undergraduate classes?
CCS Bard frequently offers elective courses that are cross-listed with the Bard undergraduate curriculum, however, as the CCS Bard curriculum and basic requirements for graduate students are intensively time-consuming, we do not recommend students add extra courses to the workload. On rare occasions, and only with the permission of the graduate program director and senior academic advisors, CCS Bard students are permitted to take undergraduate courses.
Can I audit CCS Bard classes?
CCS Bard students are allowed to audit additional electives pending the approval of the graduate program Director and relevant faculty. CCS Bard courses are not, however, available for auditing by individuals not enrolled in the program.
For Admitted Students: Common Questions about Attending Bard
Do CCS Bard students ever live on campus?
Bard College has limited on-campus housing, and priority is typically given to undergraduate students. On campus housing is also not less expensive than living off campus, therefore most CCS Bard students live off campus. However, we have had graduate students live on campus in the past. If this is an option you would like to explore, please contact the graduate program administrator at or +1 845.758.7598 as soon as possible after submitting your enrollment deposit to discuss options.
Do I need a car?
Bard College provides a free shuttle bus system that runs between the campus and nearby Red Hook and Tivoli villages, which are the two closest towns to campus. The Bard shuttles also make occasional trips to local shopping centers, and to and from New York City airports at the beginning and end of each semester, and beginning and end of Spring Break. Limited public transportation is also available from campus to towns further away. However, most CCS Bard students find it is easier to have a car. Further information about Bard shuttles as well as local transportation can be found here.
Will I be able to have a job during my studies?
Given the demands of the graduate program, it is difficult for students to find time to sustain significant outside employment. Some students have successfully maintained limited part-time or freelance work during their studies, but prospective students are advised against relying on such commitments during their studies. It is also important to note that international students holding F-1 visas are prohibited from working for outside employers in United States. Students holding F-1 visas are, however, eligible for limited student employment at Bard. Please see below for more information.
Is paid work available at CCS Bard or the Bard College campus?
CCS Bard offers select, paid teaching and/or research assistantships on a competitive basis. The nature of these positions varies from year-to-year, and the positions are announced during the academic year to enrolled students. Potential students are only eligible to apply for these positions once enrolled in the program. Limited paid positions are available at CCS Bard, usually in the Library or at the front desk during weekend hours. Students may apply for these positions once enrolled. Additionally, regular paid positions on the Bard College campus are offered by various departments outside of the Center, but students must apply directly to those departments and CCS Bard can not assist with finding or placing students in these jobs. Paid positions at Bard are highly competitive, as they are open to the undergraduate student body as well. Campus jobs for students rarely pay more than minimum wage, and seldom offer more than 9 hours of work per week. Therefore, students should not rely on campus employment to provide a significant source of income. International students are eligible to apply for paid positions at CCS Bard or at other Bard College departments, even if holding an F-1 visa.