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Overview of the Curriculum
for '16-'17

Undergrad Links Page Links






The mission of the B.A. programs in the Dept. of Psychology is to offer students a balanced curriculum in psychological science, including research methods, perception, cognition, neuroscience, developmental, social, personality, and clinical areas. The curriculum prepares majors for graduate education in these fields and provides a relevant background for medicine, law, business, social work, and education. The department offers an honors program for outstanding students and encourages all majors to participate in advanced seminars and supervised research.

Psychology course offerings are designed to meet the needs and interests of a wide variety of students, from those wishing to explore a few topics in psychology or to fulfill the science requirement, to those interested in majoring in psychology or in neuroscience and behavior. Our Program Goals start with the development of a solid knowledge base in psychological science. Consistent with the value psychology places on empirical evidence, courses at every level of the curriculum nurture the development of skills in research methods, quantitative literacy, and critical thinking, and foster respect for the ethical values that undergird the science of psychology.

Most of these Program Goals are introduced in The Science of Psychology (UN1001), which is the recommended first psychology course, is required for all majors, and satisfies the prerequisite for most 2000-level courses. These goals are extended and reinforced in our statistics (1600-level) and research methods (1400-level) laboratory courses, as well as in the 2000-level lecture courses and 3000- and 4000-level seminars. Each of the lecture courses at the 2000 level provides students with the opportunity to study systematically, and in greater depth, one of the content areas introduced in UN1001. These lecture courses are the principal means by which psychology majors satisfy the distribution requirements, insuring not only depth but also breadth of coverage across three central areas of psychology: (1) perception and cognition, (2) psychobiology and neuroscience, and (3) social, personality, and abnormal. To complete the major, students take one or more advanced seminars and are encouraged to participate in supervised research courses, where they have the opportunity to explore research questions in depth and further develop their written and oral communication skills.

All qualified students are welcome to participate in research opportunities within the Department of Psychology. Students may volunteer to work in a laboratory, register for supervised individual research (UN3950), or participate in the Department's two-year Honors Program. Information on faculty research is available on the Department's web site. You are invited to read about the research laboratories on faculty web pages and go to the professor's office hours to discuss potential research opportunities. At the beginning of the Fall term, the department also hosts a lab-preview event for students to learn about research opportunities for the upcoming year.

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Planning Your Program

Majors and concentrators in psychology, and majors in neuroscience and behavior, should begin planning a program of study as early as possible. All necessary forms and information are available outside 406 Schermerhorn or online: Undergraduate InfoPack. Please complete a Major Requirement Checklist before consulting a program advisor, and please see the Program Planning Tips page for more suggestions regarding program planning.

Major Requirement Checklist: Prior to the start of their final semester, all seniors must submit a Major Requirement Checklist showing all major courses they have taken and those they plan to take. The psychology department evaluates each checklist to determine whether or not the course plan completes the major requirements and then notifies the student accordingly. If the student's course plan changes, or if it does not satisfy the major requirements, a revised checklist must be submitted. Departmental approval of an accurate and up-to-date checklist will help ensure completion of all major requirements on time for graduation.

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Contact a Program Advisor when you have questions regarding degree requirements, transfer credit, or other administrative aspects of your degree. Bring a completed Major Requirement Checklist to every meeting with your advisor.

Program Advisors for the Psychology Major and Concentration
Prof. Patricia Lindemann
358E SchX
Prof. Katherine Fox-Glassman
314 SchX
Prof. Norma Graham
372A SchX
Program Advisors for the Neuroscience and Behavior Major
Prof. Carl Hart
401D Sch
Prof. Caroline Marvin
355B SchX
Prof. Donald Hood
415 Sch
Prof. Jian Yang
917A Fairchild
Prof. Debby Mowshowitz
744D Mudd
Program Advisor for the Psychology Post-Bac Certificate Program
358E SchX


314 Sch

the Pre-Clinical Advisor if you would like advising concerning planning a career in psychological treatment and counseling. In particular, the Pre-Clinical Advisor can provide insight and answer questions regarding applying to graduate school in clinical psychology.

356 SchX

a Faculty Advisor when you wish to have one-on-one time with a psychology professor to discuss things such as the field of psychology, career opportunities and graduate study, course offerings or research opportunities in the Department of Psychology. Faculty Advisors can provide guidance in planning your academic program, but they are generally not prepared to discuss the fine points of major requirements, exceptions to requirements, or other administrative aspects of your degree. For the full list of Faculty Advisors, please visit the FACULTY ADVISORS WEBPAGE.


Peer Advisors are undergraduate students who are majoring in Psychology or in Neuroscience and Behavior and who have volunteered their time and energy to be an additional resource for psychology students. For a full list of the Peer Advisors and more information on the Peer Advising Network, please visit the PEER ADVISORS WEBPAGE.

The Undergraduate Curriculum Assistant (UCA) is available if you need any assistance with the administrative aspects of your degree. The UCA can address questions concerning transfer credits, science requirement fulfillment, major/concentration requirements, and other administrative matters.

Kathe Blydenburgh
406 Sch

For additional information concerning departmental advising,
please visit

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Email Communication

The department maintains an e-mail distribution list with the UNIs of all declared majors and concentrators. Students are held responsible for information sent to their Columbia e-mail addresses. Students should read these messages from the department regularly and carefully. They are intended to keep students informed about deadlines, requirements, events, and opportunities. Prospective majors or concentrators who would like to be added to the e-mail distribution list should contact the Undergraduate Curriculum Assitant in the departmental office.

Guide to Course Numbers

Course numbers reflect the structure of the psychology curriculum. The 1000 level contains introductions to psychology, introductory laboratory courses, and statistics. UN1001 (The Science of Psychology) and UN1010 (Mind, Brain, and Behavior) are introductory courses with no prerequisite. Either one can serve as the prerequisite for most of our 2000-level courses. However, most students will find it advantageous to take PSYC UN1001 first. The 1400s contain the research methods laboratory courses, and the 1600s contain statistics courses; these two course types are designed to prepare students for the types of research found in many psychology and neuroscience labs. The 2000 level contains lecture courses that are introductions to areas within psychology; most require PSYC UN1001 or UN1010 as a prerequisite. The 3000 level contains more advanced and specialized undergraduate courses; most are given in seminar format and require instructor permission. The 3900s are the courses providing research opportunities for undergraduates. The 4000 level contains advanced seminars suitable both for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

Subcategories within the 2000, 3000, and 4000 levels correspond to the three groups in our Distribution Requirement for undergraduate psychology majors:
(1) Perception and Cognition (2200s, 3200s, and 4200s),
(2) Psychobiology and Neuroscience (2400s, 3400s, and 4400s), and
(3) Social, Personality, and Abnormal (2600s, 3600s, and 4600s).

Note that Barnard psychology courses do not follow the same numbering scheme.

Science Requirement: PSYC UN1001 The Science of Psychology, UN1010 Mind, Brain, and Behavior, and any course numbered in the UN2200s or UN2400s may be used to fulfill the science requirement. UN2600-level and some other psychology courses (including BC1001 Introduction to psychology) may not be used to fulfill the science requirement. For psychology courses that may be applied toward the science requirement, refer to the core requirements section of your College or General Studies Bulletin, and see the "Sci" column in the Table of all Courses.

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The Psychology Major

Thirty or more points are needed to complete the major. The program must include:
  • The Introductory Psychology Course (UN1001 The Science of Psychology)
  • One Statistics Course chosen from among the following:
    • PSYC UN1610 Introductory statistics for behavioral scientists (recommended)
    • STAT UN1001 Introduction to statistical reasoning
    • STAT UN1101 Introduction to statistics (without calculus)
    • STAT UN1201 Introduction to statistics (with calculus)
    • PSYC UN1660 Advanced Statistical Inference
  • One Laboratory Course chosen from among the following:
    • UN1420 Experimental psychology: human behavior
    • UN1450 Experimental psychology: social cognition and emotion
    • UN1455 Experimental psychology: social and personality

    Majors are strongly advised to complete the statistics and laboratory requirements, in that order, by the fall term of their junior year. Students are advised to verify the specific prerequisites for laboratory courses, most of which require prior completion of a statistics course.

  • Three Courses meeting the Distribution Requirement.
    In addition to the introductory, statistics, and laboratory courses described above, one course (3 pts. or greater) must be taken from each of the following three groups.
    • Group I - Perception and Cognition: Courses numbered in the 2200s, 3200s, or 4200s. Also UN1420.
    • Group II - Psychobiology and Neuroscience: Courses numbered in the 2400s, 3400s, or 4400s. Also UN1010.
    • Group III - Social, Personality and Abnormal: Courses numbered in the 2600s, 3600s, or 4600s. Also UN1450 or UN1455.

    If a 1400-level course is used to satisfy a distribution requirement, it cannot also be used to fulfill the laboratory requirement, and vice versa.

  • One Course meeting the Seminar Requirement.
  • For students entering Columbia in Fall 2013 or later, one seminar course, numbered in the 3000s or 4000s, must be taken for 3 or more points.

    Seminars are usually taken in the senior year as a culmination of the major program. Enrollment in seminar courses requires the instructor's permission; students are advised to contact instructors at least one month prior to registration to request seminar admission. Note that Honors and Supervised individual research courses (PSYC UN3920 and UN3950) are not seminar courses and will not meet the seminar requirement.

  • Additional Psychology Courses ("electives") for a total of 30 points. As described below, these may include research courses, transfer courses, and Barnard psychology courses not approved for specific requirements.

No course may be counted twice in fulfillment of the above major requirements, with the following exception: a seminar course may fulfill both the seminar requirement and a group requirement if it meets the criteria for both.

Grades: A grade of C-, or higher, must be earned and revealed on your transcript in any Columbia or Barnard course-- including the first-- that is used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements. The grade of P will not be accepted for psychology major, psychology concentration, or neuroscience and behavior major credit. Courses taken on a Pass/D/Fail basis may not be used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements unless the grade of P is uncovered by the Registrar's deadline. Courses offered on a mandatory Pass/Fall basis may not be used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements under any circumstances.

Research credits: No more than 4 points of Supervised individual research (PSYC UN3950 and UN3920) may be taken in any one term, and no more than 8 points total of research and field work courses (PSYC UN3950, BC3466, BC3473, BC3592 and BC3599) may be applied toward the major. (See below for further restrictions on applying Barnard courses toward the psychology major.)

Barnard courses: No more than 9 points (minus any transfer credits) from Barnard psychology courses may be applied as credit toward the major. The table of approved Barnard psychology courses indicates which courses have been approved for specific requirements of the psychology major. Courses not on the approved list may only be applied toward a specific requirement with prior written approval from a program advisor. Courses not on the approved list for a specific requirement may be applied as elective credit toward the 30 points for the major.

Transfer Credits: No more than 9 transfer credits (or a combination of transfer and Barnard credits) will be accepted toward the psychology major. Approval of transfer credits on a student's Entrance Credit Report toward general requirements for the bachelor's degree does not grant approval of these credits toward the psychology major. Approval of transfer credits to fulfill psychology requirements must be obtained in writing from a psychology program advisor using the Major Requirement Substitution Form. To be approved for the major, a course taken at another institution should be substantially similar to one offered by the department, the grade received must be a B- or better, and the course must have been taken within the past 8 years. As noted below, if two courses overlap in content, only one will be applied towards the major. With the exception of approved Barnard courses, students should consult their Program Advisor (DUS) before registering for psychology courses offered outside the department.

Students who have completed an introductory psychology course at another institution prior to declaring a psychology major should consult a Program Advisor (DUS) to verify whether or not this course meets departmental standards for major transfer credit. If transfer credit toward the major is not approved, the student must enroll in PSYC UN1001 or PSYC BC1001 to complete this major requirement. Note that College Board Advanced Placement (AP) psychology scores will not satisfy the PSYC UN1001 requirement, nor will they confer elective credit toward the major.

Overlapping Courses: Students will not receive credit for two courses--one taken at Columbia and one taken at Barnard or transferred from another institution--whose content largely overlaps For example, PSYC W1001 The Science of Psychology overlaps the content of introductory psychology courses offered at many other institutions, including Barnard; only one such course will receive credit. Similarly, PSYC W2630 Social Psychology and PSYC BC1138 Social Psychology have overlapping content; only one will receive credit. Please refer to the table of Overlapping Courses for a partial list of courses known to overlap.

In planning your Psychology Major, please refer to the Program Planning Tips page and use the appropriate Major Requirement Checklist from the Undergraduate InfoPack.

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The Psychology Concentration

A concentration in psychology requires a minimum of 18 points, including The Science of Psychology (PSYC UN1001) and courses in at least two of the three groups listed under Distribution Requirements above. Restrictions on research credits, Barnard credits, and transfer credits are modified from those of the major as follows: (1) only 4 points total from research or field-work courses, including PSYC UN3950, UN3920, BC3466, BC3473, BC3592 and BC3599, (2) only 5 points from Barnard (including PSYC BC1001), and (3) only 5 points total (including any Barnard points) from psychology courses taken outside the department may be applied toward the concentration. Except as noted above, other regulations outlined in the Psychology Major section regarding grades, transfer credits, and overlapping courses also apply toward the concentration.

In planning your Psychology Concentration, please refer to the Program Planning Tips page and use the appropriate Major Requirement Checklist from the Undergraduate InfoPack.

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The Neuroscience & Behavior Major

The Department of Psychology and the Department of Biological Sciences co-sponsor a combined major in neuroscience and behavior.

Biology Advisors

Psychology Advisors (CC & GS)

Program Requirements

In addition to one year of general chemistry (or the high school equivalent), ten courses are required to complete the major, five from the Department of Biological Sciences and five from the Department of Psychology.

I. Required Biology Courses

  • B.1. Biology UN2005 - Intro. Bio I: Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology
  • B.2. Biology UN2006 - Intro. Bio II: Cell Biology, Development, and Physiology
  • B.3. Biology UN3004 - Neurobio I: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
  • B.4. Biology UN3005 - Neurobio II: Development and Systems
  • B.5. One additional 3000 or 4000 level biology course from a list approved by the Biology Department advisor to the major.
    • UN3501 - Biochemistry: Structure and Metabolism
    • UN3512 - Molecular Biology
    • UN3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology or
    • UN3005 - Neurobiology II: Development & Systems
    • UN3006 - Physiology
    • UN3032 or UN3031 - Genetics
    • UN3799 - Readings Molecular Biology of Cancer
    • UN3034 - Biotechnology
    • UN3022 - Developmental Biology
    • UN3041 - Cell Biology
    • UN3073 - Immunology
    • UN3990 - Readings in Cell Biology
    • UN4011 - Neural Syst: Circuits in the Brain
    • UN4300 - Drugs and Disease
    • UN4400 - Biological Networks
    • UN4510 - (CHBC) Molecular Systems Biology I
    • GU4008 - Advanced Seminar in Neurobiology
    • GU4044 - Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
    • GU4095 - Chemical Genomics
    • GU4260 - Proteomics Lab
    • GU4305 - Seminar in Biotechnology
    • GR6002 (sec 2) - Protein Thermodynamics (counts as 1/2 course)

    Every effort is made to keep this list up to date. However, last minute 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.

II. Required Psychology Courses

  • P. 1. The Science of Psychology:
  • P. 2. A Neuroscience Intro course:
  • P. 3. A Research Methods or Statistics course:
    • PSYC UN1610* or PSYC S1610* Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Scientists
    • STAT UN1101*
    • STAT UN1201*
    • PSYC UN1660* Advanced Statistical Inference
    • PSYC UN1420 * or S1420* Exp. Psych.: Human Behavior
    • PSYC UN1450 * Exp. Psych.: Social Cognition and Emotion
    • PSYC UN1455 * Exp. Psych.: Social and Personailty

  • P. 4. One additional 2000- level psychology lecture course from a list approved by the Psychology Departmental Advisor to the program:
  • P. 5. One advanced psychology seminar from a list approved by the Psychology Department Advisor to the program:
    • UN3225 - The Wandering Mind: Psychological Approaches to Distraction
    • UN3250/GU4230 Seminar in Space Perception / Sensation and Perception
    • UN3255 - Modern Classics in Visual Percept., Vis. Science, and Vis Neuroscience
    • UN3265 * Auditory Perception
    • UN3270 * Computational Approaches to Human Vision
    • UN3280 or S3280* Seminar in Infant Development
    • UN3285 - The Psychology of Disaster Preparedness
    • UN3290 - The Self: A Cognitive Exploration
    • GU4215 - Memory Representations
    • GU4220 - Cognition and Psychopathology
    • GU4222 * The Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging
    • GU4223 * Memory and Executive Function Thru the Lifespan
    • GU4225 - Consciousness and Attention
    • GU4232 - Production and Perception of Language
    • GU4235 * Special Topics in Vision
    • GU4250 * Evolution of Intelligence, Consciousness, and Language
    • GU4270 * Cognitive Processes
    • GU4272 - Adv. Seminar in Language Development
    • GU4275 - Contemporary Topics in Language & Communication
    • GU4280 * Core Knowledge
    • GU4285 * Multidisciplinary Approaches to Human Decision Making (for 3 credits)
    • UN3410 - or S3410 - Seminar in Emotion
    • UN3435 * Neurobiology of Reproductive Behavior
    • UN3440 - Issues in Brain and Behavior
    • UN3450*/GU4450 Evolution of Intelligence and Consciousness
    • UN3460 - Evolution of Behavior
    • UN3470 - Brain Evolution: Becoming Human
    • S3483 - The Dynamic Brain: Plasticity from Birth to Old Age
    • UN3484 - Life Span Development: Theories and Method
    • UN3496 - Neuroscience and Society
    • GU4410 - Human Psychophysiology
    • GU4420 * Animal Cognition Seminar
    • GU4430 * Learning and the Brain
    • GU4440 * or S4440 * Topics in Neurobiology and Behavior
    • GU4460 * Cognitive Neuroscience and the Media
    • GU4470 - Psychology & Neuropsychology of Language
    • GU4475 - Neurobiology of Social Behavior
    • GU4480 * Psychobiology of Infant Development
    • GU4485 - Affective Neuroscience
    • GU4486 * Developmental and Affective Neuroscience
    • GU4490 * Inheritance
    • GU4492 - Psychobiology of Stress
    • GU4495 - Ethics, Genetics and the Brain
    • GU4498 * Behavioral Epigenetics
    • GU4499 - Behavioral Psychopharmacology
    • UN3615 - Children at Risk (seminar)
    • UN3620 - Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology
    • UN3625 * or S3625 * Clinical Neuropsychology
    • UN3680/GU4685 Social Cognitive Neuroscience
    • GU4635 *The Unconscious Mind
    • GU4690 * Soc. Factors & Psychopathology
    * Offered in 2016-17

Click on a course number to see course description, prerequisites, term, and time offered. Syllabus links are provided for most courses. Also see the Table of All Courses and the Psychology Information Packet. For assistance in planning the psychology portion of your Neuroscience and Behavior Major, please refer to the Program Planning Tips page and use the appropriate Major Requirement Checklist from the Undergraduate InfoPack.

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 and revealed on your transcript for any Columbia or Barnard course --including the first-- that is used to satisfy the major requirements. The grade of P will not be accepted for neurosciene and behavior credit; the P must be uncovered by the Registrar's deadline for the course to be applicable toward the major requirements.

Exceptions to Biology Requirements. Any exceptions must be approved in advance by a Biology Advisor and you must receive an email notification of that approval. A maximum of one biology course from another institution (including Barnard) may be credited toward the major. Barnard College courses may not be substituted for the required Columbia courses without advance permission from the Advisor.

Transfer Credit for Psychology Courses taken elsewhere. Students should consult a Psychology Advisor before registering for psychology courses offered outside the department. With the Advisor�s approval a maximum of one psychology course from another institution, including Barnard, may be applied toward the psychology portion of the neuroscience and behavior major. Students who wish to obtain credit for a course taken at Barnard or at another institution should complete the Major Requirement Substitution Form. To be approved for the major, the course should be substantially similar to one offered by this department and approved for this major, and the grade received must be a C- or better if from Barnard, or B- or better if from another institution. Advanced placement (AP) psychology scores will not satisfy the PSYC UN1001 requirement.

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

Revised September 3, 2016

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Double Majors/Concentrations

All students attempting to complete double majors, double concentrations, or a combination of a major and a concentration must complete separate sets of required and related courses for each field. Generally speaking, a single course may not be counted twice. Students should consult with one of the directors of undergraduate studies or the undergraduate curriculum assistant if they have questions. Note one exception: students attempting to complete two programs with a statistics requirement are able to use one course�e.g., STAT W1201 Calculus-Based Introduction to Statistics (formerly STAT W1211)�to satisfy the requirement for both programs (i.e., the student does not need to take two different statistics courses).

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Evening and Summer Courses

The department normally offers at least one lab course (currently PSYC UN1420 and UN1450) in the late afternoon with evening labs. A number of other courses are occasionally offered in late afternoon and evening hours. No more than one quarter of the courses required for the major are normally available in the evening. Working students may find the wide variety of early morning (8:40 a.m.) classes, as well as Summer Session offerings, helpful in completing degree requirements.

Any "S" course offered by the Psychology Dept. in the Summer Session is applicable toward the same degree requirement(s) as a "UN" course of that same number offered during the academic year. (For instance, S1001D meets the same requirements as UN1001X or UN1001Y.) To see what requirements each course may be applied toward, please see the last three columns in the Table of Courses.

Honors Program

The department offers a two-year Honors Program, designed for a limited number of juniors and seniors interested in participating in research. Beginning in the first term of their junior year and continuing through senior year, students take the Honors Seminar (Psychology UN3910) and simultaneously participate in an Honors Research Course (Psychology UN3920) under the supervision of a member of the department. Students make a formal presentation and complete an honors essay based on this research toward the end of the senior year. To qualify for honors, students must take a total of 6 points beyond the number required for their major, and satisfy all other requirements for the major. The additional 6 points may include the Honors Seminar and Research courses; up to 12 points of credit from UN3920 and UN3950 will be accepted toward the major. Interested students should apply at the end of their sophomore year by completing the application available on the web and turning it in to the department office by the deadline.

For additional information, see the Department of Psychology Honors Program

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Requirements for Admission to Graduate Programs in Psychology

Most graduate programs in psychology, including those in clinical psychology, require an undergraduate course in introductory psychology (PSYC UN1001), a course in statistics (PSYC UN1610 or STAT UN1001, UN1101, or UN1201), and a laboratory course in experimental psychology (PSYC UN1420, UN1450, or UN1455). Students should also take a variety of more advanced undergraduate courses and seminars, and participate in supervised individual research (PSYC UN3950). Students are encouraged to apply for the Psychology Honors Program at the end of their sophomore year.

Students interested in clinical psychology should obtain experience working in a community service program, in addition to supervised research experience. Consult the department's pre-clinical advisor, Prof. E'mett McCaskill, and attend the department's pre-clinical advising events for more information. Prof. McCaskill is available by e-mail appointment. For additional web-based resources, be sure to consult this information on preparing for a career in clinical psychology. Also see: "How to Get In: Your guide to applying to graduate schools in psychology." Also see "Applying to Grad School."

Research Participation

All qualified students are welcome to participate in research project opportunities within the Department of Psychology. Students may volunteer to work in a lab, register for supervised individual research (UN3950 Supervised Individual Research), or participate in the department�s two-year honors program. Information on faculty research is available on the departmental website. Students are advised to read about research laboratories on faculty lab sites and visit the professor�s office hours to discuss opportunities. At the beginning of the fall term, the department also hosts a lab-preview event for students to learn about research opportunities for the upcoming semester.

Additional Information & Updates

Check the Undergraduate Info Pack for regular updates on course offerings. Also see the undergraduate bulletin boards on the 3rd and 4th floors in Schermerhorn for course information and announcements regarding internships, applying to graduate schools, etc. Students interested in summer research opportunites should read about the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF).

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This page is maintained by Lois Putnam and Kathe Blydenburgh.
It was last modified by keb2208 on September 9, 2016 6:12 PM.

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