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. (Please note that an exception is made for major courses taken in Spring 2020, when all courses were Pass-Fail).
Students may substitute Barnard College courses only with prior permission from an Advisor.
For transfer students, at least 4 biology or biochemistry courses and at least 18 credits of the total (biology, biochemistry, math, physics and chemistry) must be taken at Columbia. Barnard courses may not be substituted for the required Columbia courses without advance permission from the advisor.
If you are planning to study abroad, please meet with your Advisor before you go. You'll need prior approval for any major courses that you take abroad.
I. Required Biology & Biochemistry Courses
1. Introductory Biology. (Barnard courses cannot be used for Intro Bio):
- UN2005 - Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology or ENVB UN2001 - Environmental & Evolutionary Biology
- UN2006 - Introductory Biology II: Cell Biology, Development & Physiology
***GS Majors may take UN2401/2 (contemporary biology) in lieu of Biol UN2005/6, with their Advisor's permission.
For a description of the differences between UN2401/2 and UN2005/6 see FAQ for GS Students, Q5. Transfer students who have completed 1 year of intro bio elsewhere must take UN2005/6 or UN2401/2 before taking upper level bio classes at CU. Exceptions will not be readily granted and require prior approval of the DUS, (Dr. M)
2. Two lecture courses from this list of core courses:
- Genetics -- UN3031
- Cell Biology -- UN3041
- Developmental Biology -- UN3022
- Biochemistry -- BIOC UN3501/GU4501 (Biochemistry) or BIOL UN3300
- Molecular Biology-- BIOC UN351/GU4512 (Molecular Biol)
3. Laboratory Requirement: One of the following choices:
- Option 1: A 5-point biology lab. Current offerings include:
- Option 2: Two semesters of UN3500 - Independent research in the same lab for either 3 or 4 credits each semester
- Note: Only 5 points of UN3500 will count toward your overall points for your major.
- Option 3: One summer of SURF program is sufficient to fulfill the bio lab requirement for the bio major. (Students who complete SURF are encouraged to continue working in the same lab by enrolling in independent study, UN3500, or working on their own terms but it is not necessary. Summer lab work under other auspices may not be substituted for SURF. Paid laboratory work may not be substituted for SURF or UN3500.
- Option 4: Two labs for 3 or more points each. Current offerings include:
UN2501 - Contemporary biology laboratory and one of the following
- UN3040 - Lab in Molecular Biology
- A 3 pt. Barnard lab course (Bio advisor approval required)
4. Electives: Two additional 3000- or 4000- level lecture courses for 3 or more points. For students who have not taken introductory biology at Columbia, one of these electives must be chosen from the list of core courses above. Current offerings include the courses listed above in (2) and the following. Prior approval is required for any course not on this list.
UN3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
UN3005 - Neurobiology II: Development & Systems
UN3006 - Physiology
UN3022 - Developmental Biology
UN3025 - Neurogenetics
UN3031 - Genetics
UN3034/GU4034 - Biotechnology
UN3799/GU4799 - Molecular Biology of Cancer
UN3041 - Cell Biology
UN3073 - Cellular and Molecular Immunology
UN3193/GU4193 - Stem Cell Biol & Applications
BIOC UN3300 - Biochemistry
UN3310/GU4310 - Virology
UN3404 - Antimicrobial Resistance
BIOC UN3501/GU4501 - Biochemistry
BIOC UN3512/GU4512 - Molecular Biology
UN3560 - Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
GU4002 - Macromolecular Structure and Interactions
GU4008 - Advanced seminar in neurobiology (topic varies)
GU4011 - Neural Syst: Circuits in the Brain
GU4035 - Seminar in Epigenetics
GU4044 - Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
GU4075 - Biology at Physical Extremes
GU4080 - Ancient and Modern RNA Worlds
GU4082 - Theoretical Foundations and Applications of Biophysical Methods
GU4290 - Biological Microscopy
GU4300 - Drugs and Disease
BIOC GU4323 - Biophysical Chemistry I
BIOC GU4324 - Biophysical Chemistry II
GU4510 - Genomics of Gene Regulation
GU4560 - Evolutionary Biology in the Genomic Era
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.
II. Other Required Courses
- Chemistry: Chemistry through organic, and accompanying laboratories, are required: One of the following options will fulfill this requirement.
- Option 1: General chemistry - UN1403-UN1404 and lab UN1500
Organic chemistry - UN2443-UN2444 and lab UN2495-UN2496
- Option 2: For students who qualify for intensive chemistry
Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) UN1604 and Intensive lab UN1507
Organic Chemistry - UN2443-W3444 and lab UN2495-UN2496
- Option 3: For students who qualify for 1st year organic chemistry
Intensive General Chemistry Lab - UN1507 (Previously W2507)
Intensive Organic Chemisty UN2045-UN2046 and Orgo lab UN2495-UN2496, or UN2545 (Previously W3045-3046, W3493-3545)
- Physics: Two semesters of physics are required, including the accompanying labs. The usual choices are General physics (UN1201-UN1202) and labs (UN1291-UN1292). The 1400 sequence is recommended if you plan to take 3 terms of physics. Higher level physics sequences are ok too
- Math: The math requirement can be fulfilled by taking either of these
- Two semesters of calculus
- One semester of calculus plus one semester of statistics (UN1101 or UN1201)**
- For students with AP credit, A 4 or 5 in Calculus A/B in high school or a 4 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one term of calculus toward the biology major. A score of 5 in B/C calculus fulfills the requirement of one year of calculus toward the biology major. (Students with these scores are exempt from some bio major requirements, as explained above, but will not receive AP credit if they take Calculus 1, or if they take no calculus at Columbia.) For more details, see the mathematics department web site.
**Note: old course numbers W1111/W1211 still count for the statistics portion of the math requirement. Please consult with your advisor if you are unsure if your course counts toward your major.