How to Declare a Major in Biological Sciences and Related Fields  Last Updated 08/02/01

There are two steps in declaring a bio or related major.

1. You have to fill out the forms for the University (either the college or GS). This is so the university can send your docket to the right department and/or advisor and keep track of which department has to clear you for graduation. 

2. You have to fill out the forms for the department. This is to be sure that you are actually planning to take the right courses (so that you will fulfill all your major requirements in time for graduation).

The procedure is as follows: Columbia College | General Studies

Columbia College:

1. Fill out a major declaration form and file it in the sophomore class office.  Advising System at Columbia

2. Download a checklist of the requirements for your desired major/concentration. from the web Undergraduate Page or get a copy of the checklist in the bio dept office (600 Fairchild).

3. Get a major planning form the web (Planning Sheet) or in 600 Fairchild. Fill out the planning form as far as you can, using the checklist and the information in the bulletin. Include both courses you have completed AND courses you plant to take to complete your major.

4. Consult the appropriate departmental advisor; finish filling in the form with the advisor's help.

5. Sign the completed form and have your advisor do the same. Take the doubly signed form to 600 Fairchild. The office staff will make you a copy of the form and file the original in your docket. (The docket and all forms are kept in the departmental office so that you can access them even if your advisor is away.)

6.  If you need to change your program or get advice, please pick up the original planning form in from the office and take it with you when you go to consult your advisor. If your advisor is not available, you can get advice and/or permissions from the departmental representative or one of the other advisors. 

If you are planning a joint major, you may consult an advisor in either department to plan your program. A student majoring in Biochem needs approval from either the bio or chem dept, but not both; similarly a student majoring in NS & B needs approval from either the psych or bio dept but not both. Whichever dept. the student chooses will certify the student for graduation (when the time comes). If you have questions about courses in a particular department, or need any sort of exception or special permission, you will need to consult the advisor in that department.

For GS students:

1. Get the GS major declaration form from Lewisohn. 

2. Go to the proper departmental advisor. Students interested in designing a special program should see Dr. Mowshowitz. The requirements for the various majors are listed in the bulletin and on the web on the Undergraduate Page

3. The advisor will plan your program with you and fill out both a departmental form and the GS form. The advisor will NOT sign the GS form until you have gone over the requirements together. 

5. Take the GS form back to Lewisohn. (GS will now send your docket to your advisor.) Your advisor will keep the departmental form, and update it periodically when you come for a consult.

6. For future advice, consult your advisor in person or by e-mail.