Biophysics Major 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.

NOTE: Numbering does not reflect difficulty but rather whether UGs & 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; sometimes the 3000 (UGs) & 5000 (Grad.) are different versions of the same course, i.e. same time, location and lectures

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 (listed in bulletin as biol-chem not biochem):

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

  1. 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, 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 web site.
    • UN3027 - Ordinary differential equations

**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.

  1. Chemistry: One of the following three groups of chemistry courses is required:
    • Option 1: General chemistry - UN1403-UN1404 and lab UN1500-UN1501

Organic chemistry - UN2443-UN2444 and lab UN2493-UN2494

  • Option 2: For students who qualify for intensive chemistry 

Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) UN1604 and Intensive lab UN1507 

Organic Chemistry - UN2443-W3444 and lab UN2493-UN2494

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

Intensive General Chemistry Lab - UN1507

Intensive Organic Chemisty UN2045-UN2046 and Orgo lab UN2493-UN2494, or UN2545

IV. Additional Course Requirements

  • BIOL GU4002 (Macromolecular Structure and Interaction)  or GU4070 (Single Molecular Approaches) or GU4323-4324 (Biophysical Chemistry) or One additional 3000- or 4000-level course from physics or biology, chosen in consultation with the advisor.

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. 

 

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
500 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2401
Columbia University
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Academic Office

Department of Biological Sciences
600 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2402
Columbia University
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
biology@columbia.edu
212 854-4581