The Senior Project

For all Bard College students, the Senior Project is an original, individual, focused project growing out of the student’s cumulative academic experiences.


Students have great flexibility in choosing the form of their project. For example, a project might be a research paper, a close textual analysis, an analysis of published research findings, or a contribution to theory.

Sebastian Yoon

“The title of my Senior Project is the Diasporic Dispersion of Imperial Legacies. . . . For a year I committed my entire breathing [and] waking hours to my Senior Project, I just wanted to do the best that I could.”

—Sebastian Yoon ’17

Listen to three Bard alumni talk about BPI, Senior Projects, and the film College Behind Bars


How the Senior Project Works

Preparation for the Senior Project begins the semester before senior year. That semester, students take an advanced seminar in the area of their major: Literature and the Humanities, Mathematics, or Social Studies. While specific to each disciplinary area, these seminars are all designed to prepare students to identify a Senior Project topic and to hone skills that will be critical for successful completion of that project. The Social Studies Major Seminar, for example, focuses on close reading, interpretation, analysis, and evaluation of texts; the art of research; and the composition, organization, and revision of writing within and across academic disciplines. Much of the seminar is dedicated to independent reading related to students’ senior project topics. In students’ senior or final year of the bachelor’s degree program, one course each semester is devoted to completing the Senior Project. Over the course of that year, each student meets regularly with their senior project adviser, who also leads a panel review by three professors at the midway point and after the project is submitted.

Rodney Spivey-Jones ’17

“We shouldn’t look at history as being linear, one event following another and the other events are in the past. When [Walter Benjamin] says messianic, he’s saying that this past is constantly being resurrected, a constant reemerging. Well when we take the Black body, it’s a continuum of all this history of suffering and resistance.”

—Rodney Spivey-Jones ’17

Rodney’s Senior Project is now revised and published as a two-part series in The A-Line, a journal of progressive thought. Part 1 out now >


Hancy Maxis ’15

In his senior project Games and Teaching Analysis: A Linear Algebraic Approach to the Nash Equilibrium with Application to Big Med, Hancy Maxis ’15 uses applied economics to demonstrate that hospital systems can be both profitable and community-oriented.

Today, Hancy serves as a project manager for the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, where he is helping to guide the hospital’s response to COVID-19, and ensuring that marginalized communities receive the care they need.

From “Justice in America, Episode 30”

In this podcast, Josie Duffy Rice travels to Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York, to interview Rodney Spivey-Jones ’17 and Max Kenner. Listen to the conversation about Senior Projects and much more.


Listen to or read the whole interview

Rodney Spivey-Jones:
“We’re not just sitting in the classroom, and then we’re leaving from the classroom and now we have this essay to write and then we’re done. When I’m speaking for myself, I think I’m speaking for quite a few of us, who are earning an education while incarcerated. You look at everything. You look at your life. So it’s not just literature. It’s history as well. You see yourself in history or at least you try to envision, you know, yourself in history, if you’re missing from the text, you try to put yourself there, right?”
Josie Duffy Rice:
“You writing this senior project made you reflect on your own experience incarcerated in a place like America, I think in particular, because in America, we talk about liberty and freedom. . . . I think the broader question is, when you’re writing a senior project, how is it making you think about your own experience and your own life.”
Max Kenner:
“One of the things that is most important that students learn is that once they become truly an expert in something, how little they actually know or understand it and therefore, all those other trivial opinions that we have, the ignorance of most of what we say, comes to the fore when you actually truly become an expert in something and all your opinions in that subject are filled with more doubt than those things that you actually know less about.”
The Senior Project Vault at the Bard College Library
A Senior Project Review
Selection of Senior Projects

Recent Senior Projects

Literature, Art History, and Philosophy

Secrets within the Playhouse: A Shakespearean Guide to Women’s Liberation

The Model and the Mirror: Guatemala’s Cultural Dynamics in Perspective

The Native American and the Question of Identity: A Discourse in Native American Contemporary Fiction

Social Chaos and the Dynamics of Identity: A Study on Literary Masking in American Literature of the 1920s

Breaking the Magic Spell: Teenage Girls, Suicide, and the Emancipatory Potential of Young Adult Novels

Praying in Tongues: Dispossession, Reclamation and the Mirrored Self in Postcolonial Literature

Processing Trauma: The Motif of Quietness in All Quiet on the Western Front and The Things They Carried

Mathematics, Biology, and Economics

Applications of Graph Theory to the Analysis of Chaotic Dynamical Systems and Complex Networks

Constructing Fractals, Convoluting Fractals, and Evaluating Dimensions

Game-strategic Analysis: A Linear Algebraic Approach to the Nash Equilibrium and Application to ‘Big Med’

Gene Transcription Modeling within a Random and Tethered Environment

A New Look at Hadwiger’s Conjecture

Combinatorial Game Symmetry: Encountering the Odd Multiple of K

Exploring Fractal Dimension Calculations for Chaotic Systems

The Mathematics of Cancer: Fitting the Gompertz Equation to Tumor Growth

Anthropology, History, and Political Studies

Black Women, Liberation Politics, and the Complexities of Intersectionality

Bringing Public Education to Life: Rediscovering the Value of Progressive Approaches to Learning

Demanding More than Rhetoric: African American Civic Engagement and the Cultural Hijacking of Patriotism

Diasporic Dispersion of Imperial Legacies: History and Memory in the Formulation of Korean American Identity

Messianic Black Body: From the Raging Waters of the Tallahatchie River and the Burning Streets of Ferguson, Missouri

Migrant Maneuvers: How Capital Accumulation Helped China’s Rural Migrants Circumvent the State’s Household Registration System during the Reform Era

The Influence of Global Elites on American Foreign Policy toward Cuba: Corporate Coercive Diplomacy, Human Rights, and Bacardí

A Cultural Pendulum Sways: Labor Migration and the Construction of Postwar West German Culture

Space, Time, Punishment, and Human Resilience

Bearing a Disproportionate Burden: The Silenced Social Historical Processes of Inequality in Infant Mortality Studies

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