Physical Education

Departmental Office: 336 Dodge Physical Fitness Center; 212-854-3439 

Director of Undergraduate Studies: The Director of Physical Education, 332 Dodge Physical Fitness Center; 212-854-4001;

Departmental Administrative: Belgica Ramirez, 212-854-3439;

The Physical Education Department offers a variety of activities in the areas of aquatics, fitness, martial arts, individual and dual “lifetime” sports, team sports, and outdoor education. Most of the activities are designed for the beginner or intermediate level. However, advanced courses are offered at selected times. The courses are designed to develop and/or improve the student’s fundamental skills and to help realize his or her potential. Activity that promotes one’s fitness level is emphasized. A major goal is to provide a positive, enjoyable experience for students. It is our hope that these activities will contribute to the development of an active, healthy lifestyle.

The majority of the activities are offered in ten time preferences. However, there are early morning conditioning activities, Friday-only classes at Baker Athletics Complex, and special courses that utilize off-campus facilities during weekends. A description of the scheduled activities for each time preference is included in the Department of Physical Education  website.

A list of the activities for the term is included in the Directory of Classes and on the website. Students may select physical education courses during on-line registration.  Students may register for only one section of physical education each term.

Physical Education Requirement

Successful completion of two Physical Education Activities is a Columbia College requirement that students are advised to complete by the end of the first year. Students may elect to take one or two additional terms of Physical Education Activities for credit. Students receive 1 point of academic credit for each completed term of physical education for a possible total of 4 points.

For more information on this requirement, please visit the Core Curriculum—Physical Education Requirement section of the bulletin.

Medical Conditions

Students who request to have their physical education activities limited or waived because of a medical condition should contact the chair of Physical Education. In some situations, students may require an evaluation by a clinician at Health Services at Columbia in order to receive a waiver. In consultation with the Director of Physical Education, students may be instructed to contact Dr. Melanie Bernitz, medical director of Columbia Health Programs, who facilitates these evaluations.


The grading in all physical education courses is Pass/Fail. Students who fulfill the attendance and participation requirement receive a Pass. Those who miss more than the permissible number of classes and who do not drop the course by the official drop deadline receive a W (Withdrawal). Those who anticipate attendance problems should contact their instructors or the director of undergraduate studies.

Swim Test

Passing Physical Education OC1001-OC1002 is a requirement for the degree. All students are also required to pass a swimming test or take beginning swimming for one term to fulfill the swimming requirement. A waiver of the swimming test requirement may be granted if a student has a disability certified by a medical authority that precludes swimming. Students may also request waivers and accommodations on the grounds of religious observance or gender identity/expression. All requests for waivers and accommodations are reviewed by the Director of Physical Education.

Locker and Towel Service

Students have access to a lock/towel service ($18 fee) and, with the exception of tennis, equipment for the activities is supplied by the Physical Education Department.

Intercollegiate Athletics

Students who are participating on an intercollegiate team should register for the appropriate team section of PHED UN1005 Intercollegiate Athletics. Intercollegiate athletes are responsible for taking the swimming test. Student athletes who cannot pass the test should take beginning swimming at the first possible opportunity.

Student athletes who register correctly and participate on a team receive a Pass; those who drop off a team in midterm and still wish to receive academic credit must notify the Physical Education Office and be placed in an activity to complete the attendance requirement. Otherwise, the student must officially drop Intercollegiate Athletics or they receive a mark of W (Withdrawal).

Director of Physical Education Programs


Cemi Abreu

Scott Alwin

Kevin Anderson

Michael Aufrichtig

Tracey Bartholomew

James Bolster

Christie Bonn

Samantha Carr

Diana Caskey

Brian Chenoweth

Demerae Christianson

Andrea Cofrin

Elizabeth Grubb

Pete Cruz

Emerson Curry

Derek Davis

Adriano Di Peco

Howard Endelman

Bid Goswami

Jumpie Harada

Matt Herhal

Colleen Irby

Daniel Ireland

Brian Jines

Lauren Kahn

Brie Katz

Luke Kelly

Faimie Kingsley

Amphone Keovongmanysar

Gustavo Leal

SeoungWoo Lee

Kelly McPartland

Gaurav Misra

Richard Mueller

Caroline Nichols

Ed Nickoloff

Joshua Osit

Alex Padron

Nich Lee Parker

Ken Pollard

Scott Ramsey

Joanne Schickerling

Anne Marie Skylis

Chris Smith

Jen Spicer

Marquise Stancil

Erik Supplee

Jennifer Teague

Dan Tischler

Jacques Swanepoel

Sara Negrette

Steve Santos

Cassie Vondrak

Ilene Weintraub

Amy Weeks

Ajaya William