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Neuroscience and Behavior Major - Requirements

Biology (CC) - Professor Jian Yang, 917A Fairchild, 854-6161,
Biology (GS) - Professor Debby Mowshowitz, 744D Mudd, 854-4497,

Psychology (CC & GS) - Professor Carl Hart, 316 Schermerhorn; 854-5313; and Professor Donald Hood, 415 Schermerhorn; 854-4587;

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 (or the high school equivalent), ten courses are required to complete the major, five from Biology and five from Psychology.

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. 

At least 4 biology or biochemistry courses, and at least 4 psychology courses, must be taken at Columbia. That means that a maximum of one biology course and one psychology course from another institution (including Barnard) may be credited toward the major. (See below for details.) Barnard courses may not be substituted for the required Columbia courses without advance permission from the advisor.


1. Biology C2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology

2. Biology C2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology

3. W3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

4. W3005 - Neurobiology II: Developmental and Systems

5. One additional 3000 or 4000 level biology lecture course from the following:

  • C3501 - Biochemistry
  • C3512 - Molecular Biology
  • W3002 Intro to Animal Structure and Function
  • W3004 Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology or
  • 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
  • W3208 Intro to Evolutionary Biology
  • W3310 Virology
  • 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
  • W4300 Drugs and Disease
  • W4400 Biological Networks
  • W4510(CHBC) Molecular Systems Biology I
  • G4008 Advanced Seminar in Neurobiology
  • G4044 Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
  • G4095 Chemical Genomics
  • G4600 Signal Transduction
  • G6002(sec 2) Protein Thermodynamics (counts as 1/2 course)

    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 your 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 beapproved 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. For more details, see FAQ #4 for GS and transfer students at


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

1. W1001 - The science of psychology

2. W1010 - Mind, brain, and behavior or W2450 - Behavioral neuroscience

3. One lab or statistics course from the following:
W1420 - Exp. Psych.: Human Behavior or
W1440 - Exp. Psych.: Learning & Motivation or
S1440 - Exp. Psych.: Learning & Motivation, or
W1450 - Exp. Psych.: Social Cognition and Emotion or
W1480 - Exp. Psych.: Perception & Attention or
W1490 - Exp. Psych.: Thinking & Decision Making
W1610 - Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Scientists or
S 1610 - Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Scientists (summer 2005), or
STAT 1111 or STAT 1211

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 the psychology advisor before registering for psychology courses offered outside the Department. With the advisor's approval, one Barnard psychology course, but not more than one, may be applied toward the 1st, 3rd, 4th, or 5th psychology requirement. Alternatively, a student may apply to the advisor to have one course from another institution applied toward the psychology portion of the Neuroscience and Behavior major. To be approved for transfer credit a course taken at another institution should be substantially similar to one offered by the department and the grade received must be B- or better.

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 or the high school equivalent is required.

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