Biology Concentration Requirements

A grade of C- or better must be earned and revealed on your transcript for any course -- including the first semester -- to be counted towards the major or concentration requirements. The grade of P is not acceptable, but a course that was taken P/D/F may be counted if and only if the P is uncovered by the Registrar's deadline.

Any exceptions must be approved in advance by an Advisor and you must receive an email notification of that approval. 

Students may substitute Barnard College courses only with prior permission from an Advisor.

If you are planning to study abroad, please meet with your Advisor before you go. You'll need prior approval for any major courses that you take abroad.

I. Required Biology Courses

  1. Two introductory biology courses:
    • UN2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology or ENVB 2001 - Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, AND
    • UN2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology
  2. One lecture course from this list of core courses:
    • UN3031- Genetics
    • UN3022 - Developmental biology
    • UN3041 - Cell biology
    • BIOC UN3501 - Biochemistry (BIOC W3300 does not fulfill this requirement)
    • BIOC UN3512 - Molecular biology
  3. One or two additional biology or biochemistry lecture courses, level 3000 or above, to reach the total Biology credits of 22 points required for the concentration. Either UN2501 or a five-point lab course, but not both, may count towards the 22 point total. Current offerings include the core courses listed above and the following. Prior approval is required for any course not on this list.
    • UN3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
    • UN3005 - Neurobiology II: Development & Systems
    • UN3006 - Physiology
    • UN3022 - Developmental Biology
    • UN3025 - Neurogenetics
    • UN3031 - Genetics
    • UN3799 - Readings-Molecular Biology of Cancer
    • UN3034 - Biotechnology
    • UN3041 - Cell Biology
    • UN3073 - Cellular and Molecular Immunology
    • UN3193 - Stem Cell Biol & Applications
    • BIOC UN3300 - Biochemistry
    • UN3310 - Virology
    • UN3560 - Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
    • UN3990 - Readings in Cell Biology
    • GR5008 - The Cellular Physiology of disease
    • GU4011 - Neural Syst: Circuits in the Brain
    • GU4077 - Survey in Molecular and Cellular Biology
    • GU4082 - Theoretical Foundations and Applications of Biophysical Methods
    • GU4300 - Drugs and Disease
    • GR5310 - Virology
    • GU4400 - Computational Genomics
    • GU4510 - Genomics of Gene Regulation
    • GU4560 - Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
    • GU4008 - Advanced seminar in neurobiology (topic varies)
    • GU4035 - Seminar in Epigenetics
    • GU4044 - Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
    • GU4075 - Biology at Physical Extremes

Pending COI approval, no lab is required for the concentration.  All other requirements remain the same, including enough electives to reach at least 22 points. A maximum of 5 points of lab credit may be counted  toward the 22 point total. 5 pts will be waived on completion of the SURF program.

Note: SCNC & HPSC courses do not count towards the Major even if listed under Biology courses on Bio web site. BIOT courses will not be counted towards the Major.

II. Required Science and Math Courses

  1. One of the following three groups of Chemistry courses:
Option 1:
General chemistry-UN1403-UN1404 or UN1403-UN1404 and lab UN1500
Organic chemistry- UN2443-UN2444 or W3443-W3444 and lab UN2493-UN2494
Option 2: For students who qualify for intensive chemistry:
Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) C1604 and Intensive lab-W2507 
Organic Chemistry and lab C3443-C3444 or W3443-W3444 and W3493-W3494
Option 3: For students who qualify for 1st year organic chemistry:
Intensive general chemistry Lab - UN2507
Organic chemistry for first years UN3045-UN3046 and Orgo lab UN3493-UN3494, or UN3545
  1. Two semesters of physics are required, including the accompanying labs. The usual choices are General physics (UN1201-UN1202) and labs (UN1291-UN1292). The 1400 sequence is recommended if you plan to take 3 terms of physics. Higher level of physics sequence are acceptable too.
  2. The math requirement can be fulfilled by taking any of these:
    • Two semesters of calculus
    • One semester of calculus plus one semester of statistics (UN1101 or UN1201)**
    • For students with AP credit, completion of Calculus II (UN1102), Calculus III (UN1201) or Honors mathematics III (UN1207) is sufficient; however, students with AP credit are encouraged to take additional courses in math or statistics at Columbia.

**Note: old course numbers W1111/W1211 still count for the statistics portion of the math requirement. Please consult with your advisor if you are unsure if your course counts toward your major.

For transfer students, at least 4 biology or biochemistry courses and at least 18 credits of the total (biology, biochemistry, math, physics and chemistry) must be taken at Columbia. Barnard courses may not be substituted for the required Columbia courses without advance permission from the advisor.

Business Office

Department of Biological Sciences
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Academic Office

Department of Biological Sciences
600 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2402
Columbia University
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biology@columbia.edu
212 854-4581