Social Policy Track

Social Policy Track

Many Bard students are strongly imbued with a desire to help make their society more just and humane. The purpose of the social policy track is to introduce students to one important way in which they can act on this desire, namely through the study of social problems (e.g. poverty, residential segregation, incarceration, educational disparities, gender inequality), and the policies developed to address these problems and improve people’s well-being.

The Social Policy Track provides the student with a basic introduction to social problems and actual experience working on a social issue and making evidence-based policy recommendations – for example, how to improve schooling, rehabilitate offenders, expand access to healthcare, increase job satisfaction, or reduce wealth inequality. 


Students in the Social Policy Track (SPT) are required to complete two introductory requirements. The first requirement is a course on problems of American society; this requirement can be met by SOC 120 Inequality in America, or SOC 138 Introduction to Urban Sociology. The second introductory requirement is a quantitative methods course that covers techniques for data analysis in the social sciences. This requirement can be met by taking SOC 205 Introduction to Research Methods. Both introductory requirements must be completed before moderation. Additionally, students are encouraged to take the basic introductory-level courses in Economics (Econ 100 Principles of Economics) and/or Political Studies (PS 122 American Politics: Issues and Institutions). 

At least three additional courses are required before graduation. These may be drawn from a list of 200- and 300-level courses approved each semester by the program; at least one of the three should be a 300-level seminar. Examples of recent courses include the following: SOC 214 Contemporary Immigration; SOC 263 Drugs and Society; SOC/HIST 315 Education and Social Policy in the U.S., 1954-2002; SOC 352 Gender and Deviance; SOC 332 Social Problems.

A crucial component of the track is an internship, in which the student participates in one or more social programs, typically through the Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) (, and submits a written report that relies on academic sources and includes policy assessment and recommendations. Qualifying internships must be approved in advance by the program chair. 

For information on Graduate level programs in Social Policy see: