Recommended for First Years
The following courses are recommended for first year students. Selecting the call number of a course will take you to its description. These include options for introductory biology, journal clubs, and research-related courses. You will find answers to frequently asked questions, such as how to sign up for introductory lab courses/research apprenticeship seminar, in the accordions at the bottom of this page. Please note that for AY2021–2022, several of these courses will not be offered.
|BIOL BC1002/1012||BIOL BC1001||BIOL BC1599|
|BIOL BC1500/1501 & BIOL BC1502/1503||BIOL BC3597||HSPP BC1001/1002|
BIOL BC1002 Global Health and Ecology & BIOL BC1012 Lab — Usually fall only (not offered in AY 21–22)
Please note: For AY21–22, we will not be offering this course.
Fundamentals of human physiology and microbiology are explored in the context of major global health issues. Principles of ecology are outlined, with an emphasis on the bidirectional impact of the interactions of humans with the global environment. Lab exercises introduce biological techniques for studying these topics.
This course is a good first course for students with little background in Biology, but who intend to major in Biology and/or pursue a pre-health career, though it does not fulfill either of these requirements. This is also a good first course for non-science majors wishing to fulfill the Science Lab GER. Students who take BIOL BC1002 in the fall can take either BIOL BC1502/03 or BIOL BC1001 in the spring, depending on their goals and what is being offered in that academic year (see table at the bottom of this page). Students fulfilling a Foundations requirement, may take BC1002 as a one-semester course, with no prerequisites. It also fulfills Thinking through Global Inquiry.
BIOL BC1010 lab is required. Enrollment is limited to 16 students per section.
BIOL BC1001 Revolutionary Concepts in Biology — Usually spring only (offered in fall of AY 21–22)
Exploration of the major discoveries and ideas that have revolutionized the way we view organisms and understand life. This is an introductory survey course that explores basic concepts of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, and evolution. Students will focus on biological concepts, biotechnology, and bioethics, which inundate contemporary society. This is a foundational course intended for less experienced biologists and/or non-science majors.
This course fulfills the Science Lecture GER, but not the Science Lab GER as there is no lab component to this course. For AY21–22, this course may be taken as preparation for the 1500-level sequence (which a student should begin in the spring if they intend to pursue a biology major or pre-health track.
These courses are targeted at prospective biology majors and pre-health students, although non-majors are certainly welcome. This course is most appropriate for students with more than one biology course in high school, AP/IB Biology, or a strong interest in the field. Although most students begin the BC1500-series in the fall semester, it is perfectly acceptable to begin in the spring semester.
The fall semester lecture and lab courses focus on evolutionary and organismal biology. The spring semester lecture and lab courses focus on cell and molecular biology. Common lab times are listed in the table below, but these are subject to change each semester.
|Monday||1pm – 4pm|
|Tuesday||9am – 12pm & 1pm – 4pm|
|Wednesday||10am – 1pm|
|Thursday||9am – 12pm & 1pm – 4pm|
|Friday||10am – 1pm|
The lecture components must be taken either as co- or pre-requisites to lab and the associated asynchronous recitation section. In order to receive credit for lab, students must enroll in a 0 point recitation section, which meets asynchronously and provides pre-lab materials and assignments through the associated CourseWorks page. Lab is not required to enroll in lecture.
Students participating in the Science Pathways Scholars Program will be introduced to the scientific literature by reading a mix of classic papers and papers that describe significant new developments in the field. Seminar periods will be devoted to oral reports, discussion of assigned reading, and student responses. The class meets once-a-week for one hour and is graded on a Pass-Fail basis.
BIOL BC1599: Biology Journal Club (Section 002) (not offered in AY 21–22)
This is a one point seminar course that serves as an enhancement to the Introductory Biology curriculum for first-year students who scored a 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam (or equivalent preparation) and are currently enrolled in the BIOL BC1500-level courses. The class meets once a week for one hour and is graded on a Pass-Fail basis.
HSPP BC1001/BC1002 Research Apprenticeship Seminar (not offered in AY 21–22)
This year-long 3.0 point credit seminar is offered by the Biology Department under the auspices of the Hughes Science Pipeline Project (HSPP). It is open to 16 first-year students who are also enrolled in an introductory lab science sequence; applications will be made available via the first-year class blog.
The course will meet in a seminar format, and will discuss how research problems are defined, how scientists immerse themselves in the existing literature on a topic, how researchers craft experimental protocols and collect data, and how data can be used to test hypotheses. Students will also consider science stories in the New York Times and lead formal debates about ethical and social issues. Occasionally, the seminar period will be devoted to tours of faculty science labs to learn about the research that Barnard professors conduct and the research opportunities available on campus.
Additionally, students will participate in a month-long laboratory rotation each semester. During the rotation period, each student will spend 3 hours per week shadowing a Barnard junior or senior Research Intern who is conducting a year-long research project. In addition to this exposure to research at Barnard, students will discuss how to obtain summer science internships in laboratories off campus. Seminar assignments will include readings about the research process, as well as short library-based research projects about scientific claims in textbooks. In the fall, students will develop their presentation skills in a session with Barnard’s Speaking Fellows. In the spring, each student will deliver an oral presentation about the research career of a scientist of her choosing.
This is a variable-point course without a seminar component that is offered during the academic year in order for students conducting research (either on or off campus) to receive degree credit for their work based on the number of hours they are working. Once you have planned your project with your mentor, and discussed it with your internal Barnard advisor (if your lab is off campus), you should complete and submit a Project Approval Form.
Each Barnard faculty member has their own section of Guided Research; all sections automatically place students on a wait list. You should sign up for the section assigned to your Barnard Research Mentor. If your lab is outside of Barnard, you must have an Internal Advisor and will sign up in that advisor’s section. Please note that you must contact an internal advisor PRIOR to signing up for their section in order for them to remove you from the wait list and PRIOR to submitting a Project Approval Form. Students should also note that BIOL BC3597 Guided Research does not count toward the major, but rather, counts toward degree credit. Those who are interested in receiving Major credit for research should enroll in the yearlong research & seminar courses that are offered.
For more information on undergraduate research at Barnard, including credit for research, visit: Undergraduate Research.
The following table summarizes which course(s) you should take depending on your goals and background in biology. Visit the First Year & Prospective Major FAQ for more information.
LITTLE EXPERIENCE IN BIOLOGY
STRONG BACKGROUND IN BIOLOGY
Science major or pre-health career
Start by taking BIOL BC1002 in the fall. Then, take BIOL BC1502/03 in the spring, and BIOL BC1500/01 the following fall
Note: for AY 21–22, BIOL BC1002 will not be offered in the fall; students should instead enroll in BIOL BC1001 (which does NOT have an associated lab) in the fall then take BIOL BC1502 lecture + BIOL BC1503 lab in the spring. In the fall of their sophomore year, they will need to complete BIOL BC1500 lecture + BIOL BC1501 lab.
Take BIOL BC1500/1501 in the Fall, and BIOL BC1502/1503 in the spring (order does not matter)
Fulfill lab science GER**
Take BIOL BC1002 in the fall with lab, and BIOL BC1001 in the spring
Note: for AY 21–22, BIOL BC1002 will not be offered in the fall; students should instead enroll in BIOL BC1001 (which does NOT have an associated lab) in the fall then take BIOL BC1502 lecture + BIOL BC1503 lab in the spring.
**You are no longer required to take two science lectures from the same discipline to satisfy the Lab Science GER. Therefore, you may take BIOL BC1001, BIOL BC1500, or BIOL BC1502 lectures, in combination with a lecture+lab from a different scientific discipline. Or you may take the lecture + lab combinations of BIOL BC1002/1012 (Fall), BIOL BC1500/1501 (Fall), or BIOL BC1502/1503 (Spring) with a lecture from a different discipline.
Introductory Biology Labs (BC1012 & BC1501/BC1503)
Sign-up for BC1012 and BC1501/BC1503 labs are the same as all other courses. Please note that BC1012 will not be offered in AY 21–22.
If you receive a spot in a lab, you MUST attend the first lab. If you are absent from the first lab, you will be dropped from the course and your spot will be filled. Introductory labs typically meet starting the 2nd week of classes.
Sign-up for HSPP BC1001 Research Apprenticeship Seminar. You will automatically be added to a wait-list, which is checked periodically during the shopping period. Once you have been accepted into the course, the professor teaching the course will approve you off of the wait-list and you will see it in your schedule on Student Planning marked with a green checkmark.
Note: Students who have not applied/have not been accepted will not be allowed into the course on Student Planning. Accepted students must take this course in the fall and HSPP BC1002 in the spring. This course is not being offered in AY 21–22.
BIOL BC1002 Contemporary Issues in Biology (Lab & Lecture) — Usually offered in the Fall Semester Only
Step 1: Sign-up for BC1002-Contemporary Issues in Biology (4.5 credit course).
Step 2: Sign-up for BC1012-BIOL BC1002 Lab (0.0 credit course). This is the lab section.
Note: The 3-point BIOL BC1001 Revolutionary Concepts in Biology lecture usually offered in the spring semester no longer has a lab component.
Please note that BIOL BC1002+BIOL BC1012 will NOT be offered in AY 21–22, but BIOL BC1001 will be offered in the fall.
BIOL BC1501 Introductory Lab in Organismal & Evolutionary Biology (Lab & Recitation) — Fall Only
Step 1: Sign-up for BIOL BC1501 Introductory Lab in Organismal & Evolutionary Biology (2.0 credit course).
Step 2: Sign-up for BIOL BC1511 BIOL BC1501 Recitation (0.0 credit course). This is the asynchronous lab recitation. All lab course pre-lab materials and assignments as well as grades will be posted through this course's associated CourseWorks page. To be fully enrolled in BC1501, you must be enrolled in the asynchronous recitation.
BIOL BC1503 Introductory Lab in Cell and Molecular Biology (Lab & Recitation) — Spring Only
Step 1: Sign-up for BIOL BC1503 Introductory Lab in Cell and Molecular Biology (2.0 credit course).
Step 2: Sign-up for BIOL BC1513 BIOL BC1503 Recitation (0.0 credit course). This is the asynchronous lab recitation. All lab course pre-lab materials and assignments as well as grades will be posted through this course's associated CourseWorks page. To be fully enrolled in BC1503, you must be enrolled in the asynchronous recitation.
Note: although the 3-hour introductory lab sections do not begin until the second week of classes, you may have assignments that are due at the start of the first lab section. These will be posted on the recitation CourseWorks page.
The lab is 3 hours long and meets once a week in either 907 Altschul or 912/913 Altschul. You will perform activities that complement the material you are learning about in lecture.
On the first day of lab, an attendance sheet will be posted on the door.
For the 1500-level labs, there is an asynchronous recitation that accompanies the lab. The CourseWorks page for this recitation is where all pre-lab materials and assignments are posted. The lecture and the lab are separate courses and you must take them during the same semester.
Signing up for labs will take place over the summer at the same time that you sign up for your first year seminar & PE class. Follow the instructions above. You are enrolled in a section once you are able to see it checkmarked as green in Student Planning.
Introductory labs begin on the first Monday of classes (first full week of school). You must attend the first lab having completed any pre-lab assignments posted on the Recitation CourseWorks page. If you are absent from the first lab, you will be dropped from the course and your spot will be filled.
Upper-level labs start during the first week of classes (a week before the introductory labs start). First years cannot take upper-level labs.
If the lab section you would like is already full, you may choose to add yourself to the wait-list on Student Planning. You can generally determine whether any seats remain in a section by looking at the # of students enrolled on the CU Directory of Classes by selecting the present semester listed under Biological Sciences @Barnard. For additional questions regarding the wait-list function, please contact the Registrar. You can contact the intro bio team regarding registration by emailing Senior Associate Lab Director James Casey (firstname.lastname@example.org).