Applying to the BGC

The application deadline for admission to the Bard Graduate Center’s MA and PhD programs for the 2015–16 academic year is January 9, 2015. The BGC only grants admission once a year, starting with August orientation.

Apply to the BGC


Applicants to the Master of Arts program must have received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, there are no restrictions as to the applicant’s prior field of study. However, applicants are expected to have had previous study, training, or work experience in the history of art, architecture, decorative arts, history, material culture studies, archaeology, or anthropology. Some preparation in art history is encouraged but not required. Prospective students in the Master of Arts program should have a reading knowledge of French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

Doctoral program applicants are required to hold an MA in either the decorative arts or a related field, such as art history, history, or cultural studies. Students entering the program with an MA from another institution are required to take additional courses as part of their program of study for candidacy for the PhD. Students who have completed the MA program at the Bard Graduate Center and who wish to continue study toward the PhD must make a separate application to the doctoral program. Students applying to the doctoral program should have reading knowledge of two languages from among French, Italian, German, or other languages by petition.

After prescreening by a faculty committee, a number of applicants are asked to schedule interviews with the Graduate Committee. All applicants must be able to communicate effectively in written and spoken English. This ability is assessed by the Graduate Committee, based on an interview—conducted either in person or by Skype— and a sample of written scholarly work. Students are strongly encouraged to interview in person, if possible. Students with deficiencies are expected to rectify them prior to admission to the program. Some students may be able to correct them during the first academic year, but such work is not granted credit.

Open House

Our next series of open houses will take place in the fall. The dates will be Sunday, October 12, 2014; Sunday, October 26, 2014; Sunday, November 9, 2014; and Monday, December 1, 2014. The October and November open houses are from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and the December Open House is from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. We urge all interested potential applicants to attend an open house.

To make an appointment to speak about the program with Dean Elena Pinto Simon, call the Academic Programs Office at 212.501.3057.

To learn more about the the daily goings-on at the BGC, read Dean Simon's blog, Learning from Things: Behind the Scenes at the BGC.

Student Profile

The student body of the Bard Graduate Center comprises recent college graduates; holders of advanced degrees who wish to pursue studies in the history of the decorative arts, design history, material culture, and museum studies; and people employed in arts-related fields who wish to strengthen their academic background and enhance their professional standing. The Master of Arts Program enrolls 20 to 25 students each academic year; the Doctoral Program typically enrolls 3. Students come to the BGC from a variety of backgrounds, including art history, history, cultural history, American studies, anthropology, archaeology, visual culture, and women’s studies.

International Students

International students must be proficient in English and should submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) by January 9, 2015. The BGC TOEFL number is 5034. In order to receive visa documentation, foreign students must submit proof that income from all sources is sufficient to cover expenses during the period of residency in the United States. To this end, international applicants must complete a Certification of Finances. Evidence of financial responsibility must be demonstrated by one of the following: affidavit from a bank, certification by parents or sponsors of their ability to provide the necessary funds, or certification by employers of anticipated income.

Part-time Study

The Bard Graduate Center accepts applications for part-time study in the MA and PhD programs. To accommodate part-time students, the BGC offers some evening courses. For further information about enrolling part-time at the BGC, contact the Academic Programs Office. Financial aid is generally not available to part-time students. It is not possible to complete the degree by taking only evening courses.


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Graduate School Fairs


Fairs Attended, Fall, 2013

New York, NY (Idealist fair)
Monday, September 16
5:00 - 8:00 pm

Boston, MA (Idealist Fair)
Wednesday, September 25
5:00 pm–8:00 pm

University of Virginia
Wednesday, September 25 
10:00 am–2:00 pm

College of William and Mary
Thursday, September 26
12:30 pm–4:00 pm

Washington, DC (Idealist Fair)
Tuesday, October 1
5:00 pm–8:00 pm

Princeton University
Friday, October 4
12:30 am-3:30 pm

Stanford University
Monday, October 14
12:00 pm- 4:00 pm

University of California, Berkeley
Wednesday, October 16
11:00 pm- 3:00 pm

University of Illinois, Chicago
Thursday, October 17
3:00 pm-7:00 pm

McGill University
Monday, October 21
11:00 am-3:00 pm

SUNY Purchase
Wednesday, November 13
12:00 pm-3:00 pm