Frequently Asked Questions from Majors & Prospective Majors in Biology & Related Fields Last update 07/08/2016

Note: Course prefixes (C, F, etc.) will be changed in July 2016. The old prefixes are used below. The new prefix for both C & F classes will probably be UN.


Q1: I am a student in SEAS or CC. I need to take Biology C2005 or C2006 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 Biology Undergraduate Page 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 Biology Undergraduate Page. There are links there to advisors (names, hours, e-mail addresses), major requirements, etc.

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 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

Q7: Which is easier, C2005 (the undergraduate intro bio class) or F2401 (the post bac intro bio class)? Answer 

Q8: What is the best way to find out which biology courses are offered in the upcoming term(s)? Go to Courses.

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 index of web pages with information for undergraduates, go to Overview.

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Q1. I am a student in SEAS or CC. I need to take Biology C2005 or C2006 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 C2005 (& C2006)? 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 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 C2005 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 (C2015 ). Recitations start the second week of classes.

If you need additional information, contact Dr. Mowshowitz (dbm2 at columbia.edu) or see the C2005/F2401 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: We are in the process of updating the math requirement. As of now, you need to take the equivalent of two terms of calculus, or one term of calculus and one term of statistics. A course in computing/programing, or a bio course that includes a computing component, is highly recommended.   For information on placement in math courses, see http://www.math.columbia.edu/programs-math/undergraduate-program/calculus-classes/

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Q7: Which is easier, C2005 or F2401?

Ans: Neither -- they're both the same! The only difference is that C2005 has required recitations and F2401 has optional recitations. (That's why C2005 is 4 pts and F2401 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 C2005 (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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