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GS Biochemistry 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 & Biochemistry Courses

  1. Both semesters of the introductory biology course:
    • C2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology
    • C2006- Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology
  2. Two Semesters of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    • Biochem W3300 - Biochemistry or Biology-Chemistry C3501 - Biochemistry, AND
    • Biol-Chem C3512 - Molecular Biology

II. Required Chemistry Courses

  1. One Year each of General Chemistry & Organic Chemistry:
  • F1403 or C1403 or W1403- F1404 or C1404 or W1404 General chemistry and F3443 or C3443 or W3443 - F3444 or C3444 or W3444 Organic chemistry I and II.

The Columbia College equivalents may be taken instead with the permission of the chemistry advisor.

2. The following physical chemistry courses (two semesters):

  • C3079 - C3080 - Physical chemistry I and II
  • W4082 - Theoretical Foundations and Applications of Biophysical Methods may be substituted for 1 term of PChem.

III. Required Laboratory Courses

  1. One general chemistry lab:
  • F1500 or W1500- General chemistry laboratory or W2507 - Intensive general chemistry lab

2. One organic chemistry lab:

  • F3543 or C3543 or W3543- Organic chemistry laboratory or C3545 or W3545- Organic chemistry lab

3. One of these upper-level biology labs:

  • W3050 - Project laboratory in protein biochemistry (highly recommended!)
  • W3058 - Project laboratory in microbiology
  • C3052 - Project laboratory in molecular genetics
  • W3500 - Independent Research Project, taken for at least 4 points**-- Formerly known as C3500 & F3403

4. At least one of these upper-level chemistry or biology labs:

  • Chemistry W3546 - Advanced organic chemistry lab
  • Chemistry C3085 or C3086 - Physical and analytical chemistry lab
  • Chemistry F3098 or C3098- Senior chemistry lab, taken for at least 4 points
  • Biology W3500 - Independent Research Project, taken for at least 4 points**
  • An advanced Bio lab (W3050 or C3052). The same biology lab cannot be used to fulfill both requirements 3 & 4 -- you must take two different ones to fulfill both requirements.
  • W2501 - Contemporary biology laboratory plus one of the following
    W3040 - Lab in Molecular Biology or
    A 3 pt. Barnard lab course.

**You can take only one term of W3500, 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 W3500 (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 in lieu of the lab requirement only if combined with one semester of W3500; 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 combination are considered to have completed all their upper-level lab requirements (3 & 4 above)-

  • Two semesters of W3500 for 8 credits total in the same lab.
  • One semester of W3500 for a minimum of 3 credits plus Surf in the same lab.
  • One semester of W3500 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 V1201 - V1202 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)
  1. 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:

  1. Math courses:
    • ODE (Ordinary differential Equation) or One additional term of Calculus or Honors Math beyond that used to fulfill the previous Math requirement (IV-2).
  2. Chemistry courses:
    1. C3071 Introduction to inorganic chemistry (strongly recommended)
    2. G4147 Advanced organic chemistry
    3. G4172 Bio-organic topics
  3. Biology courses: Any Biology lecture course at the 3000/4000 level for 3 or more points.
    The following are recommended. Prior approval is required for any course not on this list.

    • C3512 - Molecular biology
    • W3004 Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
    • W3005 Neurobiology II: Development & Systems
    • W3006 Physiology
    • C3032 or W3031Genetics
    • C3799 Readings Molecular Biology of Cancer
    • W3034 Biotechnology
    • W3022 Developmental Biology
    • 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
    • W4400 Biological Networks
    • W4510(CHBC) - Genomics of Gene Regulation
    • W4560 Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
    • G4008 Advanced Seminar in Neurobiology
    • G4035 Seminar in Epigenetics
    • G4044 Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
    • G4075 Biology at Physical Extremes
    • G4095 Chemical Genomics
    • G4600 Signal Transduction

      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.

VI. Recommended Seminar Courses (not required)

  1. Biology C2908 First-year seminar in modern biology - For first year students only
  2. Chemistry C2408 First-year seminar

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.