Science Requirement

General Information: Academic Affairs, cosi@columbia.edu

The objective of the science component of Columbia College’s Core Curriculum is identical to that of its humanities and social science counterparts, namely to help students “to understand the civilization of their own day and to participate effectively in it.” The science component is intended specifically to provide students with the opportunity to learn what kinds of questions are asked about nature, how hypotheses are tested against experimental or observational evidence, how results of tests are evaluated, and what knowledge has been accumulated about the workings of the natural world.

All students in Columbia College must complete three courses in fulfillment of the science requirement. The three courses must be distributed across the three categories detailed below: Science A, Science B, and Science C. 

Each of the three courses must carry at least 3 points of credit. All courses used to satisfy the science requirement must be taken for a letter grade. 

Students should pay careful attention to the prerequisites and instructor approvals required for certain courses. Prerequisite and instructor approval requirements can be found in the course descriptions for each course located in specific departments' sections of this bulletin.

While students are not required to complete a two-term sequence, students may choose to do so, if the two courses together will fulfill both Science B and Science C. For this reason, the Committee on Science Instruction has indicated recommended sequences below. Unless otherwise noted, the first course in the sequence must be taken before the second course in the sequence.

Transfer students may be able to apply transfer credit for science coursework taken elsewhere to the Science requirement. One of the three required science courses must be taken at Columbia, and the coursework taken to fulfill the three-semester science requirement must be distributed across the categories of Science B and Science C.

Unless otherwise indicated, students may not use Barnard College courses to fulfill the Columbia College science requirement.

Science A

Students who enter the College as first-year students are required to take SCNC CC1000 Frontiers of Science during their first or second semester (whichever term in which they are not taking ENGL CC1010 University Writing)

Science B

All College students must complete at least one course offered by one of the following seven Columbia University science departments. (Unless otherwise indicated, students may not use Barnard College courses to fulfill the Columbia College science requirement.)

Courses in the list that are designed for non-science majors are noted with an asterisk.

Astronomy
ASTR UN1234UNIVERSAL TIMEKEEPER (*)
ASTR UN1403EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS (*)
ASTR UN1404STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY (*)
ASTR UN1420Galaxies and Cosmology (*)
ASTR UN1453ANOTHER EARTH (*)
ASTR UN1610THEOR-UNIVERS:BABYLON-BIG BANG
ASTR BC1753LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (*)
ASTR BC1754Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (*)
ASTR UN1836STARS AND ATOMS (*)
Recommended Sequences:
ASTR UN1403
 - ASTR UN1404
EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS
and STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY (*)
ASTR UN1403
 - ASTR UN1420
EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS
and Galaxies and Cosmology (*)
ASTR UN1403
 - ASTR UN1836
EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS
and STARS AND ATOMS (*)
ASTR UN1404
 - ASTR BC1753
STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY
and LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (*)
ASTR BC1753
 - ASTR UN1404
LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
and STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY (*)
ASTR BC1753
 - ASTR BC1754
LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
and Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (*)
Any 3-point ASTR course numbered 2000 or higher
Biology
BIOL UN1130GENES AND DEVELOPMENT (*)
BIOL UN2300Interpreting Scientific Evidence (*)
Any 3-point BIOL course numbered 2000 or higher
Chemistry
CHEM UN1403GENERAL CHEMISTRY I-LECTURES (*)
CHEM UN1404GENERAL CHEMISTRY II-LECTURES (*)
CHEM UN1500GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY (*)
CHEM UN16042ND TERM GEN CHEM (INTENSIVE) (*)
CHEM UN1507INTENSVE GENERAL CHEMISTRY-LAB (*)
SCNC UN1800ENERGY & ENERGY CONSERVATION (* this course is offered through the Chemistry department)
Any CHEM course numbered 3000 or higher
Earth and Environmental Sciences
EESC UN1001DINOSAURS AND HISTORY OF LIFE (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1001, 1004, 1401)
EESC UN1003Climate and Society: Case Studies (*)
EESC S1004Dinosaurs and the History of Life (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1001, 1004, 1401)
EESC UN1009GLOBAL WARMING FOR GLOBAL LEADERS (*)
EESC UN1011Earth: Origin, Evolution, Processes, Future (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1011, 1411)
EESC UN1030OCEANOGRAPHY (*)
EESC UN1053Planet Earth (*)
EESC UN1201Environmental Risks and Disasters (*)
EESC UN1401DINOSAUR & HISTORY OF LIFE-LEC (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1001, 1004, 1401)
EESC UN1411Earth: Origin, Evolution, Processes, Future: Lectures (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1011, 1411)
EESC UN1600EARTH RESOURCES & SUSTAIN DEV (*)
EESC UN2100EARTH'S ENVIRO SYST: CLIM SYST
EESC UN2200EARTH'S ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS: THE SOLID EARTH
EESC UN2300EARTH'S ENVIRO SYST: LIFE SYST
EESC UN2330SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVPT
Any EESC course numbered 3000 or higher
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
EEEB UN1001Biodiversity (*)
EEEB UN1010HUMAN ORIGINS & EVOLUTION (*)
EEEB UN1011BEHAVIOR BIOL-LIVING PRIMATES (*)
EEEB S1115QThe Life Aquatic (*)
Recommended Sequences:
EEEB UN1001
 - EEEB UN3087
Biodiversity
and CONSERVATION BIOLOGY (*)
EEEB UN1010
 - EEEB UN1011
HUMAN ORIGINS & EVOLUTION
and BEHAVIOR BIOL-LIVING PRIMATES (*)
EEEB UN2001ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY I
EEEB UN2002ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY II
EEEB UN3087CONSERVATION BIOLOGY
FSEB UN1020Food and the Body (* this course is offered through the Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology department)
Any EEEB course numbered 3000 or higher except UN3919, GU4321, and GU4700
Physics
PHYS UN1001PHYSICS FOR POETS (*)
PHYS UN1018WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (*)
PHYS UN1111ORIGINS AND MEANING (*)
PHYS UN1201GENERAL PHYSICS I
PHYS UN1202GENERAL PHYSICS II
PHYS UN1401INTRO TO MECHANICS & THERMO
PHYS UN1402INTRO ELEC/MAGNETSM & OPTCS
PHYS UN1403INTRO-CLASSCL & QUANTUM WAVES
PHYS UN1601PHYSICS I:MECHANICS/RELATIVITY
PHYS UN1602PHYSICS II: THERMO, ELEC & MAG
Any 3-point PHYS course numbered 2000 or higher
Psychology
PSYC UN1001THE SCIENCE OF PSYCHOLOGY (*)
PSYC UN1010Mind, Brain and Behavior (*)
PSYC UN1021Science of Psychology: Explorations and Applications (*)
Any PSYC course in the 2200- or 2400-level may be used to fulfill the science requirement
All 3- and 4-point courses numbered in the 32xx, 34xx, 42xx, and 44xx can partially fulfill the science requirement
With prior departmental approval, some additional courses may also be used to partially fulfill the science requirement
PLEASE NOTE: 2600-level and some other psychology courses, including PSYC BC1001 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY and other Barnard psychology courses, may not be used to fulfill the science requirement

Science C

All College students must complete one course from the following list of courses, which includes the courses in Science Category B plus a number of courses in other Columbia University academic departments and programs. (Unless otherwise indicated, students may not use Barnard College courses to fulfill the Columbia College science requirement.)

Courses in the list that are designed for non-science majors are noted with an asterisk.

Astronomy
ASTR UN1234UNIVERSAL TIMEKEEPER (*)
ASTR UN1403EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS (*)
ASTR UN1404STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY (*)
ASTR UN1420Galaxies and Cosmology (*)
ASTR UN1453ANOTHER EARTH (*)
ASTR BC1753LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (*)
ASTR BC1754Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (*)
ASTR UN1836STARS AND ATOMS (*)
Recommended Sequences:
ASTR UN1403
 - ASTR UN1404
EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS
and STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY (*)
ASTR UN1403
 - ASTR UN1420
EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS
and Galaxies and Cosmology (*)
ASTR UN1403
 - ASTR UN1836
EARTH, MOON, AND PLANETS
and STARS AND ATOMS (*)
ASTR UN1404
 - ASTR BC1753
STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY
and LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (*)
ASTR BC1753
 - ASTR UN1404
LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
and STARS, GALAXIES & COSMOLOGY (*)
ASTR BC1753
 - ASTR BC1754
LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
and Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (*)
Any 3-point ASTR course numbered 2000 or higher
Biology
BIOL UN1130GENES AND DEVELOPMENT (*)
BIOL UN2300Interpreting Scientific Evidence (*)
Any 3-point BIOL course numbered 2000 or higher
Chemistry
CHEM UN1403GENERAL CHEMISTRY I-LECTURES (*)
CHEM UN1404GENERAL CHEMISTRY II-LECTURES (*)
CHEM UN1500GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY (*)
CHEM UN16042ND TERM GEN CHEM (INTENSIVE) (*)
CHEM UN1507INTENSVE GENERAL CHEMISTRY-LAB (*)
SCNC UN1800ENERGY & ENERGY CONSERVATION (* this course is offered through the Chemistry department)
Any CHEM course numbered 3000 or higher
Computer Science
COMS W1001Introduction to Information Science (*)
COMS W1002COMPUTING IN CONTEXT (*)
COMS W1004Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Java
COMS W1005Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in MATLAB
ENGI E1006INTRO TO COMP FOR ENG/APP SCI
COMS W1007Honors Introduction to Computer Science
Any 3-point COMS course numbered 3000 or higher
Earth and Environmental Engineering
EAEE E2100A BETTER PLANET BY DESIGN (*)
Earth and Environmental Sciences
EESC UN1001DINOSAURS AND HISTORY OF LIFE (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1001, 1004, 1401)
EESC UN1003Climate and Society: Case Studies (*)
EESC S1004Dinosaurs and the History of Life (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1001, 1004, 1401)
EESC UN1009GLOBAL WARMING FOR GLOBAL LEADERS (*)
EESC UN1011Earth: Origin, Evolution, Processes, Future (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1011, 1411)
EESC UN1030OCEANOGRAPHY (*)
EESC UN1053Planet Earth (*)
EESC UN1201Environmental Risks and Disasters (*)
EESC UN1401DINOSAUR & HISTORY OF LIFE-LEC (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1001, 1004, 1401)
EESC UN1411Earth: Origin, Evolution, Processes, Future: Lectures (* students will only receive credit for one of these courses: 1011, 1411)
EESC UN1600EARTH RESOURCES & SUSTAIN DEV (*)
EESC UN2100EARTH'S ENVIRO SYST: CLIM SYST
EESC UN2200EARTH'S ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS: THE SOLID EARTH
EESC UN2300EARTH'S ENVIRO SYST: LIFE SYST
EESC UN2330SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVPT
Any EESC course numbered 3000 or higher
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
EEEB UN1001Biodiversity (*)
EEEB UN1010HUMAN ORIGINS & EVOLUTION (*)
EEEB UN1011BEHAVIOR BIOL-LIVING PRIMATES (*)
EEEB S1115QThe Life Aquatic (*)
Recommended Sequences:
EEEB UN1001
 - EEEB UN3087
Biodiversity
and CONSERVATION BIOLOGY (*)
EEEB UN1010
 - EEEB UN1011
HUMAN ORIGINS & EVOLUTION
and BEHAVIOR BIOL-LIVING PRIMATES (*)
EEEB UN2001ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY I
EEEB UN2002ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY II
EEEB UN3087CONSERVATION BIOLOGY
FSEB UN1020Food and the Body (* this course is offered through the Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology department)
Any EEEB course numbered 3000 or higher except UN3919, GU4321, and GU4700
Electrical Engineering
ELEN E1101THE DIGITAL INFORMATION AGE (*)
Food Studies
FSPH UN1100FOOD, PUBLIC HEALTH & PUBLIC POLICY (*)
History and Applied Math
HSAM UN2901DATA:PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Mathematics
MATH UN1003COLLEGE ALGEBRA-ANLYTC GEOMTRY (*)
PHIL UN3411SYMBOLIC LOGIC (*)
PHIL GU4424MODAL LOGIC (*)
Any 3-point MATH course numbered 1100 or higher
CSPH GU4801MATH LOGIC:COMPLETENESS RESULT
CSPH GU4802Math Logic II: Incompletness
Physics
PHYS UN1001PHYSICS FOR POETS (*)
PHYS UN1018WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (*)
PHYS UN1111ORIGINS AND MEANING (*)
PHYS UN1201GENERAL PHYSICS I
PHYS UN1202GENERAL PHYSICS II
PHYS UN1401INTRO TO MECHANICS & THERMO
PHYS UN1402INTRO ELEC/MAGNETSM & OPTCS
PHYS UN1403INTRO-CLASSCL & QUANTUM WAVES
PHYS UN1601PHYSICS I:MECHANICS/RELATIVITY
PHYS UN1602PHYSICS II: THERMO, ELEC & MAG
Any 3-point PHYS course numbered 2000 or higher
Psychology
PSYC UN1001THE SCIENCE OF PSYCHOLOGY (*)
PSYC UN1010Mind, Brain and Behavior (*)
PSYC UN1021Science of Psychology: Explorations and Applications (*)
Any PSYC course in the 2200- or 2400-level may be used to fulfill the science requirement
All 3- and 4-point courses numbered in the 32xx, 34xx, 42xx, and 44xx can partially fulfill the science requirement
With prior departmental approval, some additional courses may also be used to partially fulfill the science requirement
PLEASE NOTE: 2600-level and some other psychology courses, including PSYC BC1001 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY and other Barnard psychology courses, may not be used to fulfill the science requirement
Science
SCNC UN1212Foundations of Science (*)
Statistics
STAT UN1001INTRO TO STATISTICAL REASONING (*)
STAT UN1010Statistical Thinking For Data Science (*)
Any 3-point STAT course except STAT 3997

Summer Session Courses

Students who wish to take summer courses to fulfill the Science requirement may do so through the Summer Session offered by the School of Professional Studies (SPS). 

For policies regarding summer study, see the Academic Regulations—Summer Study section of this Bulletin. 

For a list of summer courses approved for the science requirement, students should consult the annually updated List of Approved Summer Courses.