Undergraduate Major Requirements

The Department of Biological Sciences offers five undergraduate majors (Biology, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Computational Biology, and Neuroscience and Behavior), along with a Biology Minor, across two schools: Columbia College and General Studies. Students can only choose one major/minor within the Department. You may not major in Biology/ Biochemistry/ Biophysics/ Computational Biology/ Neuroscience & Behavior and have a Biology Minor. You cannot major in a biology-related major and be either a Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, or Psychology major/minor. 

Students who have gone above and beyond in their biology program are encouraged to apply for Honors in Biological Sciences.

For All Majors

Students majoring or minoring in Biology or Related Fields:

  1. Review the requirements for your desired major/minor detailed in the links below. Please email Ellie Siddens ([email protected]) to go over the progress of your major completion.
  2. Fill out a major planning form as far as you can, using the checklist and the information in the bulletin. Include both courses you have completed AND courses you plan to take to complete your major.
  3. Consult the appropriate departmental advisor to discuss any variances from the normal guidelines. Bring your filled out major planning form with you to this meeting. Your advisor will then email any approved variances from the normal requirements to the biology departments administrator, Ellie Siddens, who will approve your major completion for graduation.
  4. Visit the Major Declaration Page during the Major Declaration Period (usually Spring Break of your Sophomore year) to officially declare your major.

For students majoring in Biochemistry, Computational Biology, or Neuroscience & Behavior (joint majors), you should consult advisors in both departments to plan your program, each regarding their specific courses (e.g. biology course exceptions will need to be approved by a biology advisor, chemistry course exceptions will need to be approved by a chemistry advisor).

All biology-related majors: 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. 

The two required core courses should be taken at Columbia. Courses covering the same topics as Bio dept core courses, but taken elsewhere, are counted as electives, not as core courses.

Transfer Credits, Barnard Courses, and Study Abroad Courses

Transfer credits for the major are not automatically granted. Students should email their Biology advisor with a transcript and the syllabi from their previous institution to request transfer credit. Transfer credit for Introductory Biology is rarely granted. You can read more about transfer credits in this FAQ. Students may not use transfer credits, Barnard courses, or study abroad courses for the biology minor.

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

P/D/F Grades

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 minor 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. Please note that a few exceptions are applicable for the following terms:

  • All courses in Spring 2020 were taken with mandatory Pass/Fail grades.
  • Further exceptions are allowed for 2020-2021, when students can opt to take one course Pass/Fail during the Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021 semesters, without any restrictions - this can be in a course required for their major or minor.
  • In Spring 2024, students could opt to take two major/minor courses Pass/Fail. 

If you are concerned about a P grade counting for the major, please consult with your advisor.

Course Numbering

NOTE: Numbering does not reflect difficulty but rather whether undergraduate students & graduate students have different requirements:

3000 – Only UGs register
4000 – UGs and graduate students perform the same
5000 – Only graduate students register, requires additional work beyond the 3000 course; 3000 (UGs) & 5000 (Grad.) are different versions of the same course, i.e. same time, location, and lectures

Non-Major Courses

The following biology-related courses do not count towards the major or as one of the 4 courses that all biology majors must take at Columbia University. This list is not exhaustive, and you should discuss your major courses with your biology advisor.

  • Any course beginning with the BIOT, HPSC, and/or SCNC prefixes do not count as major courses
  • All Barnard Courses
  • BIOL UN1004 Foundations of Biology
  • BIOL UN1130 Genes and Development
  • BIOL UN1360 Science and Society
  • BIOL UN1908 First-year seminar in biology
  • BIOL UN2300 Interpreting Scientific Evidence
  • BIOL UN3920 Ignorance
  • BIOL UN3995 Topics in Biology: Crossroads in Bioethics
  • BIOL GU4305 Seminar in Biotechnology
  • BIOL GU4506 Biochemistry in XR: Mixed Reality
  • BIOT GU4160 Biotechnology Law
  • BIOT GU4180 Entrepreneurship in Biotech
  • BIOT GU4200 Biopharmaceutical Development & Regulation
  • BIOT GU4201 Seminar in Biotech Development & Regulation
  • BIOT GR5170 Intro to Management Principles
  • CMLS UN3965 Precision Medicine: Biology

Major Requirements

Students are welcome to use this Biology Major Requirements Checklist to keep track of requirements. Any exceptions must be approved in advance by an Advisor and you must receive email notification of that approval.

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.

I. Required Biology Courses 

1. Two introductory biology courses (Barnard courses cannot be used for Intro Bio):

  • UN2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology 
    UN2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology

2. Two lecture courses from this list of core courses 

  • Genetics -- UN3031
  • Cell Biology -- UN3041
  • Developmental Biology -- UN3022
  • Biochemistry -- GU4501 or UN3300
  • Molecular Biology -- GU4512
  • Evolution in the Age of Genomics -- GU4560

3. One of the following 4 options to fulfill the lab requirement:

Option 1: A 5-point biology lab. Current offerings include: 

  • UN3058 - Project laboratory in microbiology
  • UN3052 - Project laboratory in molecular genetics

Option 2: Two semesters of UN3500 - Independent research in the same lab for either 3 or 4 credits each semester

  • 3 credits of 3500 = 3 credits x 4 = 12 hours / week on average in the lab
  • 4 credits of 3500 = 4 credits x 4 = 16 hours / week on average in the lab

Option 3: One summer of SURF program is sufficient to fulfill the bio lab requirement for the bio major. (Students who complete SURF are encouraged to continue working in the same lab by enrolling in independent study, UN3500, or working on their own terms but it is not necessary. Summer lab work under other auspices may not be substituted for SURF. Paid laboratory work may not be substituted for SURF or UN3500. 

Option 4: UN2501 - Contemporary biology laboratory and one of the following

  • UN3040 - Lab in Molecular Biology
  • A 3 pt. Barnard lab course (Bio advisor approval required)

4. Two additional 3000- or 4000-level lecture courses for 3 or more pts. Prior approval is required for any course, not on this list.

  • UN3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
  • UN3005 - Neurobiology II: Development & Systems
  • UN3006 - Physiology
  • UN3019 - Brain Evolution
  • UN3022 - Developmental Biology
  • UN3025 - Neurogenetics
  • UN3031 - Genetics
  • UN3041 - Cell Biology
  • UN3073 - Cellular and Molecular Immunology
  • UN3300 - Biochemistry
  • UN3320 - Regulation of Behaviors for Survival
  • UN3404 - Antimicrobial Resistance
  • UN3560/GU4560 - Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
  • UN3799/GU4799 - Molecular Biology of Cancer
  • GU4001 - Advanced Genetic Analysis
  • GU4002 - Macromolecular Structure and Interactions
  • GU4034 - Biotechnology
  • GU4035 - Seminar in Epigenetics
  • GU4036 - Transformative Concepts in Systems Biology
  • GU4075 - Biology at Physical Extremes
  • GU4080 - Ancient and Modern RNA Worlds
  • GU4193 - Stem Cell Biol & Applications
  • GU4290 - Biological Microscopy
  • GU4300 - Drugs and Disease
  • GU4310 - Virology
  • GU4323 - Biophysical Chemistry I
  • CHEM GU4324 - Biophysical Chemistry II
  • GU4402 - Biological Image Computing
  • GU4501 - Biochemistry
  • GU4510 - Genomics of Gene Regulation
  • GU4512 - Molecular Biology
  • GU4551 - A Structural View of Biology
  • GU4600 - Cell Signaling
  • GU4777 - From Curiosity to Cure Case Studies

Note: SCNC, HPSC & BIOT (many of which are listed on the biology website) courses do not count towards the Major.

II. Other Required Courses

One of the following three groups of Chemistry courses:

Option 1: 

  • General chemistry - UN1403-UN1404 and lab UN1500
  • Organic chemistry - UN2443-UN2444 and lab UN2495-UN2496

Option 2: For students who qualify for intensive chemistry:

  • Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) UN1604 and Intensive lab UN1507 
  • Organic Chemistry - UN2443-UN2444 and lab UN2495-2496

Option 3: For students who qualify for 1st-year organic chemistry:

Intensive General Chemistry Lab - UN1507 Intensive Organic Chemisty UN2045-UN2046 AND Orgo lab UN2495-UN2496, or Intensive Organic Chem lab UN2545

Physics: 

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 physics sequences are ok too

Math: 

The math requirement can be fulfilled by taking either of these

  • Two semesters of calculus
  • One semester of calculus plus one semester of statistics (UN1101 or UN1201)
  • For students with AP credit, an A 4 or 5 in Calculus A/B in high school or a 4 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one term of calculus toward the biology major. A score of 5 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one year of calculus toward the biology major. (Students with these scores are exempt from some bio major requirements, as explained above, but will not receive AP credit if they take Calculus 1, or if they take no calculus at Columbia.) For more details, see the mathematics department website.

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

Questions regarding the major in general and chemistry requirements should be addressed to the chemistry advisor and questions regarding biology requirements should be addressed to the biology advisor.

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.

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

I. Required Biology Courses

  1. Both terms of the introductory biology sequence (Barnard courses cannot be used for Intro Bio):
    • UN2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology or UN2401
    • UN2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Developmental & Physiology or UN2402
  2. Both of these Biology-Chemistry courses:
    • GU4501 - Biochemistry or UN3300 - Biochemistry
    • GU4512 - Molecular Biology

II. Required Chemistry Courses

  1. One of these three sequences of courses:

    • UN1403 - UN1404 General Chemistry I and II and UN2443 - UN2444 Organic chemistry I and II
    • UN1604 - Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) and UN2443 - UN2444 Organic chemistry I and II
    • UN2045 - UN2046 Intensive organic chemistry
  2. The following physical chemistry courses:

    • UN3079 - UN3080 - Physical Chemistry I and II

III. Required Laboratory Courses

  1. One general chemistry lab:

    • UN1500 General Chemistry Laboratory or UN1507 Intensive General Chemistry Lab
  2. One organic chemistry lab:

    • UN2495 - UN2496 Organic Chemistry Laboratory or UN2545 Intensive Organic Chemistry Lab
  3. One of these upper-level biology labs:

    • UN3058 - Project laboratory in microbiology
    • UN3052 - Project laboratory in molecular genetics
    • UN3500 - Independent Research Project, taken for at least 4 points
  4. At least one of these upper-level chemistry or biology labs:

    • Chemistry UN3546 - Advanced organic chemistry lab
    • Chemistry UN3085 or UN3086 - Physical and analytical chemistry lab I and II
    • Chemistry UN3098 - Supervised Independent Research
    • Biology UN3500 - Independent Research Project, taken for at least 4 points**
    • An advanced Bio lab (UN3058 or UN3052). The same biology lab cannot be used to fulfill both requirements 3 & 4 -- you must take two different ones to fulfill both requirements.
    • UN2501 - Contemporary biology laboratory plus one of the following
      • UN3040 - Lab in Molecular Biology
      • A 3 pt. Barnard lab course, with permission from Bio advisor

**You can take only one term of UN3500, but you usually learn much more if you work in the same lab for a more extended period. If you plan to do lab research, we recommend two terms of UN3500 (4 pts each) or one term + a summer of research in the same laboratory. (Even if only one term is applied toward the major.)  SURF may be used instead of the lab requirement only if combined with one semester of UN3500; summer lab work under other auspices may not be substituted for SURF. Paid laboratory work may not be substituted for any of these requirements.

Note: Students who satisfactorily complete any of the following combinations are considered to have completed all their upper-level lab requirements (3 & 4 above)- 

  • Two semesters of UN3500 for 8 credits total in the same lab.
  • One semester of UN3500 for a minimum of 3 credits plus Surf in the same lab.
  • One semester of UN3500 for a minimum of 4 credits plus one Project lab.
  • One Project lab plus Surf.
  • Two Project labs.

IV. Required Physics and Math Courses

  1. Two terms of Physics are required

    • Physics UN1201 - UN1202 General Physics fulfills the requirement.
      The 1400 sequence is recommended if you plan to take 3 terms of physics.
      (Higher numbered sequences are fine if you have the background)
  2. Mathematics:

    • 2 Semesters of Calculus or Honors Math. If you have AP credit and complete one term of advanced Calculus at Columbia (Calculus II or higher), this requirement is fulfilled.

V. Additional Course Requirements (Any three of these)

Math courses:

  • ODE (Ordinary differential equations) or Linear Algebra (MATH UN2010) or One additional term of Calculus or Honors Math beyond that used to fulfill the previous Math requirement (IV-2). At most one of these math courses will count toward the additional course requirements.
  • For students with AP credit, an A 4 or 5 in Calculus A/B in high school or a 4 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one term of calculus toward the biology major. A score of 5 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one year of calculus toward the biology major. (Students with these scores are exempt from some bio major requirements, as explained above, but will not receive AP credit if they take Calculus 1, or if they take no calculus at Columbia.) For more details, see the mathematics department website.
  • NOTE: A single calculus course, no matter how advanced, does not fulfill both requirements IV-2 and V-1.

Chemistry courses:

  • GU4071 Inorganic chemistry (strongly recommended)
  • UN4147 Advanced organic chemistry
  • UN4102 Chemistry for the Brain
  • GU4313 Peptide and Protein Chemistry

Biology courses: 

Any Biology lecture course at the 3000/4000 level for 3 or more points. Current offerings include the elective courses listed under the Biology Major.

Note: SCNC, HPSC & BIOT (many of which are listed on the biology website) courses do not count towards the Major.

VI. Recommended Seminar Courses (not required)

  1. Biology UN1908 - First-year seminar in modern biology - For first-year students only
  2. Chemistry UN2408

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

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.

Note: BIOT, SCNC & HPSC courses do not count towards the Major even if listed under Biology courses.

I. Required Biology Courses

  1. Three biology lecture courses (Barnard courses cannot be used for Intro Bio):

    • UN2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology
    • UN2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology
    • UN3031 - Genetics or UN3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology or UN3005 - Neurobiology II: Development & Systems or UN3022 - Developmental biology
  2. One of the following biology lab courses: 

    • UN3058 - Project laboratory in microbiology
    • UN3052 - Project laboratory in molecular genetics
    • UN3500 - Independent study (taken for at least 4 points)
    • SURF - Summer undergraduate research fellowship
  3. One of the following biochemistry courses:

    • GU4501 - Biochemistry or UN3300 - Biochemistry
    • GU4512 - Molecular Biology

II. Required Physics Courses

  1. One of the following sequences of physics courses (completed by the end of the sophomore year)

    • UN1401, UN1402, UN1403, and accompanying laboratory (UN1494). 
       
    • UN1601, UN1602, UN2601, and accompanying laboratory (UN2699). 
       
    • UN2801 - UN2802 and the recommended laboratory (UN3081). Recommended for those with AP calculus and/or a strong background in physics.
  2. Any two physics courses at 3000-level or above, chosen in consultation with the advisor.

III. Required Math and Other Science Courses

Math:

The following math courses

  • Calculus I - IV (UN1101, UN1102, UN1201, UN1202)** or Honors Math I - IV (UN1107, UN1108, UN1207, UN1208) or the equivalent
    For students with AP credit, an A 4 or 5 in Calculus A/B in high school or a 4 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one term of calculus toward the major. A score of 5 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one year of calculus toward the major. For more details, see the mathematics department website.
  • UN2030/UN3027 - Ordinary differential equations

Chemistry:

General Chemistry I and II are required:

  • Option 1: General chemistry - UN1403-UN1404
  • Option 2: For students who qualify for intensive chemistry - Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) UN1604 and Intensive lab UN1507 

IV. Additional Course Requirements

  • Chose one additional course at the 3000- or 4000-level course in either Physics or Biology. For a full list of approved biology elective courses, see the biology major. The following are some suggested courses to fulfill this requirement:
    • BIOL GU4002 (Macromolecular Structure and Interaction)
    • BIOL GU4323 or CHEM GU4324 (Biophysical Chemistry I OR II)
    • BIOL GU4075 

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. 

The Computational Biology major program combines a strong foundation in computer science/data science and basic biology with advanced courses in a variety of subfields. Particular emphasis is placed on laboratory and computational techniques, including genomics, network modeling, and bioinformatics. 

Alternative sequences to the above may be arranged in special circumstances with the permission of the departmental adviser or director of undergraduate studies obtained in advance. All exceptions granted by computer science or biology advisors should be forwarded to Ellie Siddens ([email protected]) in biological sciences.

Questions regarding biology requirements should be addressed to the biology advisor and questions regarding computer science or math requirements should be addressed to the computer science advisors.

1. Math (4 classes, 12-17 credits)

a) MATH UN1101 Calculus I - can be placed out of with AP/IB credit

b) One of the following: (Calculus III does NOT depend on Calculus II)

  • MATH UN1102 Calculus II 

  • MATH UN1201 Calculus III

c) One of the following mathematical foundations courses:

  • MATH UN2010 Linear Algebra
  • APMA E3101 Applied Math I: Linear Algebra
  • APMA E2101 Intro to Applied Mathematics
  • COMS W3251 Computational Linear Algebra

d) One of the following statistics courses:

  • STAT UN1201 Calc-based Intro to Statistics
  • STAT GU4001 Introduction to Probability & Statistics

2. Chemistry (2 classes, 8 credits)

Option 1: General Chemistry

  • CHEM UN1403 - CHEM UN1404 General Chemistry I & II Lectures

Option 2: For students who qualify for intensive general chemistry

  • CHEM UN1604 - 2nd Term Gen. Chem. (Intensive)

3. Introductory Computer Science (3 classes, 9-11 credits)

a) All students must complete sequentially one from each of each of the following categories:    

Category 1: 

  • COMS W1002 Computing in Context (with Biology Context) 
  • ENGI E1006 Intro to Comp for Eng/App Sci   
  • COMS W1004 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Java

Category 2:

  • COMS W3136 Essential Data Structures
  • COMS W3134 Data Structures in Java*
  • COMS W3137 Honors Data Structures & Algol*
  • COMS W3132 Intermediate Computing in Python

*Note: COMS 3134 & 3137 require COMS 1004 or previous knowledge of Java

Category 3:

  • COMS W3157 Advanced Programing
  • COMS W3107 Clean Object-Oriented Design
  • COMS W4111 Introduction to Databases

4. Biology (3 classes, 11-12 credits)

All students must take the two introductory biology courses:

  • BIOL UN2005 - BIOL UN2006 Intro Bio I & II

Students must take one course from this list of core biology courses:

  • BIOL UN3031 Genetics
  • BIOL UN3041 Cell Biology
  • BIOL UN3022 Developmental Biology
  • BIOL GU4501 Biochemistry
  • BIOL UN3300 Biochemistry
  • BIOL GU4512 Molecular Biology
  • BIOL UN3005 NEUROBIO II: DEVPT & SYSTEMS

5. Lab/research (1 class, 4 credits)

All students must fulfill laboratory/research experience by completing one of the following option after taking Intro Bio (BIOL UN2005 + BIOL UN2006):

  • COMS W4995 TOPICS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE (LAB COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, section 006)
  • COMS W3998 Undergrad Projects in Computer Science
  • COMS W4901 Projects in Computer Science
  • BIOL UN3500 Independent Biological Research (must be taken for four credits in a pre-approved lab, see list below)

A satisfactory research report must be submitted at the end of each semester. This requirement may be substituted by participation in a Columbia summer research program (e.g., SURF) in a pre-approved Columbia University lab or in a lab approved by the program advisors. Pre-approved labs: Peter Andolfatto, Elham Azizi, Andrew BlumbergHarmen Bussemaker, Bianca DumitrascuJellert Gaublomme, David KnowlesItsik Pe’erMolly Przeworski, Guy Sella, Simon Tavare, Saeed Tavazoie 

6. Advanced Electives (2 classes, 6-8 credits)

A biology course at the 3000 or 4000 level from the list of biology major approved core and elective courses (see above).    

One of the following computational biology courses:    

  • COMS W4762 Machine Learning for Functional Genomics
  • CBMF W4761 Computational Genomics
  • BMEN E4480 Statistical machine learning for genomics
  • COMS W4995 (computational biology section)

The Department of Psychology and the Department of Biological Sciences co-sponsor a combined major in neuroscience and behavior. In addition to one year of general chemistry, eleven courses are required to complete the major, six from Biology and five from Psychology.

NOTE: For students entering in Fall 2024 or later, two biology elective courses will be required. For students entering prior to Fall 2024, one biology elective course will be required. 

At least 4 biology courses, and at least 4 psychology courses, must be taken at Columbia. That means that a maximum of one biology course (bio elective only) and one psychology course from another institution (including Barnard) may be credited toward the major. 

If you are planning to study abroad, please be advised that Intro Bio I & II and Neurobio I & II must be taken at Columbia. The required bio elective(s) can be taken abroad with advisor permission prior to travel. 

Questions regarding biology requirements should be addressed to the biology advisor and questions regarding psychology requirements should be addressed to the psychology advisor.

An abridged version for the N&B major is provided here for your convenience: Neuro & Behavior Major Checklist.

Biology

1. Biology UN2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology (Barnard courses cannot be used for Intro Bio)

2. Biology UN2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology (Barnard courses cannot be used for Intro Bio)

3. UN3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

4. UN3005 - Neurobiology II: Developmental and Systems

5. Two additional 3000 or 4000 level biology lecture courses from the list of Upper Level Electives under the Biology Major.

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. 

Transfer Credit for biology Courses taken elsewhere. A student may apply to the biology advisor to have one course from another institution applied toward the biology portion of the Neuroscience and Behavior major. To be approved for transfer credit, the grade received in the course taken at the other institution must be B- or better. To fulfill requirements 1-4, the course must be substantially similar to one offered by the department. If a student has taken a year of introductory biology at another institution, the student has the option of retaking one or two terms of the introductory biology sequence here or taking 4 upper level biology courses instead of the usual 3.

Psychology

For the definitive list of psychology requirements, see the Psychology Dept. web site. 

1. PSYC UN1001 - The science of psychology

2. PSYC UN2430 Cognitive Neuroscience or PSYC UN2450 - Behavioral Neuroscience

NOTE: Students who have previously taken PSYC UN1010 Mind, Brain and Behavior may use that course to fulfill this requirement.

3. One lab or statistics course from the following:

  • PSYC UNS2210Q - Cognition: Basic Processes or
  • PSYC UN1420 - Experimental Psychology: Human Behavior
  • PSYC UN1450 - Experimental Psychology: Social Cognition and Emotion or
  • PSYC UN1490 - Experimental Psychology: Cognition and Decision Making or
  • PSYC UN1610 - Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Scientists or
  • PSYC UN1660 - Advanced Statistical Inference or
  • STAT 1101 Introduction to Statistics or
  • STAT 1211 Calculus-Based Introduction to Statistics

4. One additional 2000 or 3000 level psychology course from a list approved by the Psychology Departmental adviser to the program. see the department website 

5. One advanced psychology seminar from a list approved by the Psychology Department adviser to the program. see the department website.

Transfer Credit for Psychology Courses taken elsewhere. Students should consult a psychology advisor before registering for psychology courses offered outside the department. With the advisor’s approval, one, and only one, course from another institution, including Barnard, may be applied toward the psychology portion of the neuroscience and behavior major. Students who wish to obtain credit for a course taken at Barnard or at another institution should complete the Major Requirement Substitution FormTo be approved for the major, the course should be substantially similar to one offered by this department and approved for this major, and the grade received must be a C- or better if from Barnard, or B- or better if from another institution. Advanced placement (AP) psychology scores will not satisfy the PSYC W1001 requirement.

Note: No course may be counted twice in fulfillment of the above biology or psychology requirements. A grade of C-, or higher, must be earned in any Columbia course that is used to satisfy the major requirement. Also, courses taken on a pass/fail or pass/D/fail basis may not be used to satisfy the major requirement.

Chemistry

1 year of General Chemistry is required. (CHEMUN1403-1404 or higher level courses, if appropriate).

NOTE: Most graduate programs in Neuroscience require 1 year of calculus, 1 year of physics and chemistry through organic.

 

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

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.

I. Required Biology Courses

  1. Two introductory biology courses (Barnard courses cannot be used for Intro Bio):
    • UN2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology AND
    • UN2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology
  2. One lecture course from this list of core courses:
    • Genetics -- UN3031
    • Cell Biology -- UN3041
    • Developmental Biology -- UN3022
    • Biochemistry -- GU4501 or UN3300
    • Molecular Biology -- GU4512
  3. Additional biology lecture courses, level 3000 or above, to reach the total Biology credits of 22 points required for the concentration. Current offerings include the elective courses listed under the Biology Major. Prior approval is required for any course, not on this list.

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. Either UN2501 or a five-point lab course, but not both, may count towards the 22-point total.

Note: SCNC, HPSC & BIOT (many of which are listed on the biology website) courses do not count 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 and lab UN1500
  • Organic Chemistry - UN2443-UN2444 and lab UN2495-UN2496

Option 2: For students who qualify for intensive chemistry:

  • Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) UN1604 and Intensive lab UN1507 
  • Organic Chemistry - UN2443-UN2444 and lab UN2495-2496

Option 3: For students who qualify for 1st-year organic chemistry:

  • Intensive General Chemistry Lab - UN1507
  • Intensive Organic Chemistry UN2045-UN2046 AND Orgo lab UN2495-UN2496, or Intensive Organic Chem lab UN2545

2. Physics

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 levels of physics sequences are acceptable too.

3. Math

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, an A 4 or 5 in Calculus A/B in high school or a 4 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one term of calculus toward the biology major. A score of 5 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one year of calculus toward the biology major. (Students with these scores are exempt from some bio major requirements, as explained above, but will not receive AP credit if they take Calculus 1, or if they take no calculus at Columbia.) For more details, see the mathematics department website.