Frequently Asked Questions from Majors & Prospective Majors in Biology & Related Fields Last update 08/23/2020
Q1: I am a student in SEAS or CC. I need to take Biology UN2005 or UN2006 but it conflicts with another class I need (or want) to take. What can I do? Answer
Q2: I took AP calculus in high school. How much math do I need to take to complete the biology major? Answer
Q3: I want to work in a research laboratory. How do I get started? See the section titled "Undergraduate Research" on the Undergraduate program of the Biology Department Web Site or go directly to "Undergraduate Research."
Q4: I declared my major with GS or my CC class center, but I'm not sure who my advisor is, or how to plan my program. What should I do? Ans: Look at the Undergraduate program Page of the Biology Department Web Site. There are links there to advisors (names, hours, e-mail addresses), major requirements, etc. Note: Even if you have NOT yet declared your major, you may consult an advisor in the bio dept!!! See Q5.
Q5: I haven't declared my major yet, but I need advice. I looked at the undergraduate page and read all the FAQ's but I still have questions. Who can I talk to? Check the list of Advisors. (This is also easily reached from the Undergraduate Program Page). Feel free to consult the appropriate advisor (the choice depends on the major and your last name) whether you have declared or not. You don't have to be a bio major to ask a question (or get an answer!).
Q6: How can I get (or apply for) honors in biological sciences at graduation? See Honors
Which is easier, UN2005 (the
undergraduate intro bio class) or UN2401 (the GS/post bac intro bio class)?
Q8: What is the best way to find out which biology courses are offered in the upcoming term(s)? Go to Courses and also see Course Updates for 2020.
For additional questions often asked by First Year Students, see FAQ's for First Year Students.
For additional questions often asked by GS students, see FAQ's for GS Students.
For an overview of what is available, see 'How to Find What you Need.'
Q1. I am a student in SEAS or CC. I need to take Biology UN2005 or UN2006 but it conflicts with another class I need (or want) to take. What can I do?
Ans: Did you know that there are two sections of UN2005 (& UN2006)? The lectures are given twice a day, at 10:10 am and again at 4:10 pm. You can register for either section. Whichever section you are registered for, you can attend lectures at the 'other' time if your schedule changes, you oversleep, etc. Exams for both sections are usually given at night, and arrangements are made if you have a class that conflicts with the evening exam time. If you have to take a course that overlaps with UN2005 for only a few minutes, you can fill out an overlap form (obtainable from your class office) and register for both courses. Whichever lecture section you sign up for, be sure to register for -- and attend -- a recitation (UN2015 ). Recitations start the second week of classes.
If you need additional information, contact Dr. Mowshowitz (dbm2 at columbia.edu) or see the UN2005/UN2401 web page which should direct you to the most recent Course Works web site that includes notes from last year's lectures, a sample exam, etc.
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Q2: I took AP calculus in high school. How much math do I need to take to complete the biology major?
Ans: You need to complete the equivalent of two terms of college level calculus, or one term of calculus and one term of statistics. A course in computing/programming, or a bio course that includes a computing component, is not required, but is highly recommended. Completion of advanced math in high school may fulfill part or all of the calculus requirement. For information on placement in math courses, and evaluation of your high school calculus, see http://www.math.columbia.edu/programs-math/undergraduate-program/calculus-classes/.
Note that completion of AP calculus courses may fulfill some or all of the bio major requirements, but AP but may not fulfill premed admission requirements.
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Q7: Which is easier, UN2005 or UN2401?
they're both the same! The only difference is that UN2005 has required
recitations and UN2401 has optional recitations. (That's why UN2005 is 4 pts and
UN2401 is 3 pts.) The exams in the two courses and the grading
scales for the exams are the same - the scale is set using the
scores of the UN2005 (undergraduate) students. Therefore the exam scores needed to earn an
A are exactly the same in each class. However
the percentage of A's in each class is often different because the composition
of the two classes is not the same.
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