Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University!

The Department welcomes all undergraduates interested in biological sciences. Whether you plan a career in basic research, medicine, public health, or the biotech world – or whether you have completely separate career interests but wish to learn what all the excitement in the life sciences is about – we are excited to help you to learn.

If you are interested in enrolling in one of our majors or concentrations, please read carefully through our website and then feel free to consult an advisor. You do not need to declare a major before getting started in the biology department. For more information on requirements, how to declare a major, qualifying for honors, etc. please visit our majors' page. 

If you are interested in doing biological research, please visit our Undergraduate Research Page. 

For information on enrolling in courses for a science requirement or AP credit, please visit our FAQ for first-year students. 

If you are interested in any of our courses, check out our list of course offerings. The list includes all courses normally offered in the department (although some are not offered every year).

If you are planning to go to medical school or law school, please be sure you see your class dean of students or your house dean as soon as possible, to make sure your academic program meets the expectations of your chosen profession. We are not experts in the pre-med or pre-law business. Also, you might want to check out the Pre-Professional Advising Office.

If these links and the questions and answers do not cover your concerns, check with Ellie Siddens in room 600 of the Fairchild Life Sciences building, or send an email to one of the Department’s undergraduate advisors.


Alice Heicklen
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Molly Przeworski
Career Advisor

Major Advisors
Declared or undeclared majors are welcome to contact an advisor in any of our undergraduate majors.

Visiting Campus

The Visitor's Center provides tours of our beautiful campus. You can download the Self-guided Walking Tour. We do not offer tours of the Department of Biological Sciences.

a photograph of a building at Columbia University
Prospective Students

Undergraduate education at Columbia University

spring flowers in front of Butler library
Current Students

FAQs, Major Requirements, Advisors, and more

a blue double helix with the the words SURF undergraduate research fellowship written above it

Summer research for undergraduate students

Diversity / Equity / Inclusion Committee 

Our Department created a Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in summer 2020. For 2022-2023 it consists of three undergraduate students (Alaa Ali, Nicholas Ortega, and Lina Huang), three graduate students (Kirit Limperis, Yasmin Ramadan, and Kwass Wass), a postdoctoral fellow (Panagiotis Oikonomou), and five faculty members (Erin Barnhart, Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Robert Pollack, Lili Yamasaki, and Ron Prywes). The committee is chaired by Ron Prywes.