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Biology 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.

I. Required Biology Courses

  1. Two introductory biology courses:
    • C2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology or ENVB 2001 - Environmental & Evolutionary Biology
    • C2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology
  1. Two lecture courses from this list of core courses
  1. One of the following 4 options to fulfill the lab requirement:
    • Option 1: A 5-point biology lab. Current offerings include:
      • W3050 - Project laboratory in protein biochemistry
      • W3058 - Project laboratory in microbiology
      • C3052 - Project laboratory in molecular genetics
    • Option 2: Two semesters of W3500 - Independent research in the same lab + 1 semester of W3600 (if offered)
    • 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, W3500, 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 W3500. W3600 (if offered) is strongly recommended as a co-requisite for W3500.

    • Option 4:W2501 - Contemporary biology laboratory and one of the following
      • W3040 - Lab in Molecular Biology
      • A 3 pt. Barnard lab course.
  1. Two additional 3000- or 4000- level lecture courses for 3 or more pts. The following are recommended. Prior approval is required for any course not on this list.
    • W3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
    • W3005 - Neurobiology II: Development & Systems
    • W3006 - Physiology
    • W3022 - Developmental Biology
    • C3032 or W3031 Genetics
    • C3799 - Readings-Molecular Biology of Cancer
    • W3034 - Biotechnology
    • W3041 - Cell Biology
    • W3073 - Cellular and Molecular Immunology
    • W3193 - Stem Cell Biol & Applications
    • W3310 - Virology
    • W3560 - Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
    • W3990 - Readings in Cell Biology
    • W4008 - The Cellular Physiology of disease
    • W4011 - Neural Syst: Circuits in the Brain
    • W4077 - Survey in Molecular and Cellular Biology
    • W4082 - Theoretical Foundations and Applications of Biophysical Methods
    • W4300 - Drugs and Disease
    • W4310 - Virology
    • W4400 - Biological Networks
    • W4510(CHBC) - Genomics of Gene Regulation
    • W4560 - Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
    • G4008 - Advanced seminar in neurobiology (topic varies)
    • G4035 - Seminar in Epigenetics
    • G4044 - Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
    • G4075 - Biology at Physical Extremes
    • G4095 - Chemical Genomics
    • G4600 - Signal transduction
    • G6055 - Advanced Topics in Immunology (Prereq W3073)

      Every effort is made to keep this list up to date. However, last min. changes do occur. See recent changes for new course updates.

      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. Other Required Courses

  1. Chemistry: One of the following three groups of chemistry courses is required:
    • Option 1: General chemistry-C1403-C1404 or W1403- W1404 and lab W1500
      Organic chemistry- C3443-C3444 or W3443-W3444 and lab W3543 
    • Option2: 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 W3543
    • Option 3: For students who qualify for 1st year organic chemistry
      Intensive general chemistry Lab - W2507
      Organic chemistry for first years C3045-C3046 and Orgo lab C3543 or W3543, C3545 or W3545

  2. Physics: Two semesters of physics are required, including the accompanying labs. The usual choices are General physics (V1201-V1202) and labs (V1291-V1292). The 1400 sequence is recommended if you plan to take 3 terms of physics. Higher level physics sequences are ok too

  3. 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 (W1111 or W1211)

      For students with AP credit, completion of Calculus II (V1102), Calculus III (V1201) or Honors mathematics A (V1207) is sufficient; however, students with AP credit are encouraged to take additional courses in math or statistics at Columbia.

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.