Barnard v Columbia

So is Barnard part of Columbia? Do students graduate with an Ivy degree? The relationship between the schools is a bit confusing. I appreciate any sort of clarifications.

What is an Ivy Degree? Is that what you get if you win the championship in Field Hockey?


hahaha! Sorry- That was poorly written. I’m exhausted today.

Columbia and Barnard are separate schools, with separate, but across the street from each other, campuses. There used to be the Ivy League (all male), and the Seven Sisters (all female). These were all considered top colleges. All of the Ivy League schools eventually went co-ed about 50 years ago. Some wound up merging with an associated Seven Sisters women’s college or their own women’s college (Harvard-Radcliffe, Penn-College for Women), some just went co-ed. Columbia’s Seven Sisters neighbor was Barnard. Columbia offered to consolidate with Barnard, but Barnard did not want to be swallowed up by Columbia (who ever thinks of Radcliffe nowadays), so Columbia went ahead and began admitting women, while Barnard stayed a women’s school.

Columbia is nowadays very difficult to get into, and Barnard, only slightly less so. Students can take classes and participate in activities at either school, and use each other’s facilities, I believe. One is awarded one’s degree from the school to which you were admitted.


Barnard athletes participate in the Ivy league sports division representing both Barnard and Columbia and their uniforms say Columbia. Barnard College of Columbia University is the “formal” name on on your Barnard diploma. Barnard is considered a liberal arts school and their required/core courses differ from Columbia and can be a deciding factor in which school is the better fit.

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Barnard is one of the four undergraduate colleges of Columbia. The students graduate with a diploma that literally says Columbia University as well as Barnard College. The student compete on Columbia teams and thus in the “Ivy League”. Columbia students can take classes at Barnard and Barnard students can take classes at Columbia. Barnard does have separate admissions from Columbia. Both schools are very intertwined.

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Barnard College is a college under the umbrella of Columbia University, similar to how a university might have a college of arts and sciences as well as a school of engineering. However, Barnard has its own endowment and board, so it’s almost like it’s a separate school. I’m pretty sure that you would graduate with a degree from Columbia, though I could be remembering wrong. All of the activities are open to students within both schools, as well as the classes. Overall, the communities are very intertwined, but Barnard has its own distinct community and campus. Barnard students are able to interact / not interact with Columbia students and vice versa as much as they like. I hope this helps! Also, I got this info while researching Barnard myself. They explain it pretty well in the virtual tours on the Barnard website : )

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Part of the confusion is that there is more than ONE Columbia!

The Columbia University (CU) has graduate studies and several undergraduate colleges. One of those undergraduate colleges is Columbia College (CC). So, to be precise:

Barnard and Columbia College are two PARALLEL undergraduate colleges - neither is part of one another - but both are under the Umbrella of Columbia University!

Barnard Students and Columbia College students have equal access to Libraries, Dining Halls, Gyms, etc. AND COURSES on either side of Broadway. The course catalog at CU will list courses that happen to be held at either the Barnard or Columbia campus, and some alternate each semester - and students pick courses that best fit their schedule and intent.

All Barnard professors are also CU faculty - and a Barnard student will TWO degrees, one from Barnard, and an additional one from Columbia U - they can participate in both graduations.

However, and that’s where people’s heads spin, “Barnard College of Columbia University” (!!!) is financially independent from Columbia and has its own governance. It has its own dorms, its own campus security, its own career services, its own medical services.
Columbia Students can be invited to Barnard dorms and vice-versa, but that is ONE place where their student passes will NOT give them automatic/unrestricted access.


I will add- the Columbia University graduation was the most fun graduation ceremony I’ve ever attended. Barnard had a formal, beautiful graduation ceremony at Radio City Music Hall and then the Columbia University graduation was the next morning by the low steps of the law library. The students from each college making up Columbia University carried a different prop- Barnard women had big blue inflatable Bs. Columbia College had lions. The International studies students had beach balls that looked like globes. Columbia’s MBA students had huge dollar bills. It was so fun. And at the end, they played New York New York and the students all sang it at the top of their lungs and it was just so incredibly fun. Brings tears to my eyes talking about it again. DO NOT MISS that graduation!