Major Requirements

 The New Biology Major

Applies to all students in the class of 2019 and onward.

For students graduating in 2016, 2017, or 2018 click HERE for information on how the new requirements apply to you.

There are four possible ways to complete a major within Biology. A student can obtain a general Biology Major or may complete one of the three majors that concentrate on a specific level of Biological organization: Cell and Molecular Biology, Physiology and Organismal Biology, or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Introductory Biology and Genetics
All students complete the 1500-level introductory sequence followed by a course in Genetics:
BIOL BC1500x          Introduction to Organismal and Evolutionary Biology
BIOL BC1501x          Introductory Lab in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology
BIOL BC1502y          Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL BC1503y          Introductory Lab in Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL BC 2100           Molecular and Mendelian Genetics
It is recommended, but not required, that Genetics be taken immediately after completing the 1500-level introductory sequence.
 
Upper-level Courses
Students must complete five courses from the three categories below. To complete one of the three concentrations, at least 4 courses must be from the appropriate category and at least 1 from another category. To complete the Biology Major without a concentration, the five courses must include at least one course from each of the three categories. Although some courses are listed in multiple categories, a student can only use a course towards one of the categories. Additional Columbia courses that can be used to fulfill the major requirements are provided elsewhere (click here for details). If a student completes courses which make her eligible for more than one of the four majors then she may select which one is reflected on her transcript.
 
Cell & Molecular Biology
  • BIOL BC2278 Evolution
  • BIOL BC3308 Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • BIOL BC3310 Cell Biology
  • BIOL BC3320 Microbiology
  • BIOL BC3352 Development
  • BIOL BC3362 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
  • CHEM BC3282 Biochemistry I
  • BIOL W3034 Biotechnology
  • BIOL W3073 Cellular and Molecular Immunology
  • BIOL W3310 Virology
Physiology & Organismal Biology
  • BIOL BC2262 Vertebrate Biology
  • BIOL BC2280 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL BC2286 Statistics and Research Design
  • BIOL BC3320 Microbiology
  • BIOL BC3360 Animal Physiology
  • BIOL BC3367 Ecophysiology
  • EEEB W3011 Behavioral Biology of Living Primates
  • EEEB W3208 Explorations in Primate Anatomy
  • EEEB W4112 Ichthyology
  • BIOL W3005 Neurobiology: Development & Systems
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • BIOL BC2240 Plant Evolution and Diversity
  • BIOL BC2262 Vertebrate Biology
  • BIOL BC2272 Ecology
  • BIOL BC2278 Evolution
  • BIOL BC2286 Statistics and Research Design
  • BIOL BC3280 Applied Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL BC3367 Ecophysiology
  • BIOL BC3388 Tropical Ecology
  • EEEB W3087 Conservation Biology
  • EEEB W4110 Coastal Estuarine Ecology
The four majors are summarized in the following Table:
Major
Course Selection
Biology
Five courses with at least one course from each of the three categories
Cell & Molecular Biology
Four courses from the Cell & Molecular Biology category, one from another category.
Physiology & Organismal Biology
Four courses from the Physiology & Organismal Biology category, one from another category.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Four courses from the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology category, one from another category.
Three upper-level laboratory courses
Students may take any upper-level Biology lab courses for which they meet the pre- or co-requisite. A year-long research-seminar course (Guided Research and Seminar) may substitute for lab courses, as described below. Students may also take laboratory courses at Columbia (or other institutions) to satisfy the lab requirement, with permission from the department chair.
 
Guided Research and Seminar
Enrollment in the year-long sequence of Guided Research and Seminar (BIOL BC3591x, 3592y) fulfills two upper-level labs. This course is only available as a Fall-Spring sequence.
 
Senior Capstone Experience
Students complete the Senior Capstone Experience with either of the following two options:
 
One semester of Senior Seminar BIOL BC3595 -OR-
The year-long Senior Thesis Research and Seminar (BIOL BC3592x, 3593y)
 
Chemistry Requirement
All majors, regardless of their track, must complete at least one semester of General Chemistry (with laboratory) and at least one semester of Organic Chemistry (with laboratory).