Special Programs

Preprofessional Advising

Berick Center for Student Advising
403 Lerner
212-854-6378
preprofessional@columbia.edu

Medical, dental, and other health professional schools prefer that undergraduates complete a four-year program of study culminating in a bachelor’s degree. All health professional schools require prerequisite coursework, but the specific coursework can vary somewhat from program to program and school to school. This coursework can be completed during the undergraduate years along with the Core Curriculum and the major or concentration.

Concentrations and Majors

There is no concentration or major preferred by medical school admissions committees. Students are encouraged to pursue a concentration or major in any field that appeals to them. Students concentrating in a non-science area may wish to take one or two extra science courses to demonstrate their interest and aptitude in the sciences. Students should work closely with their advising deans and preprofessional advisers from the Berick Center for Student Advising, as well as their departmental major adviser in planning a program that meets their interests.

Premedical Requirements

It is very important to note that each medical school in the United States and Canada individually determines its own entrance requirements, including prerequisite coursework or expected competencies. Each medical school also sets its own rules regarding acceptable courses or course equivalents. It is therefore essential that students confirm the premedical requirements for all schools to which they intend to apply.

In addition to medical school course requirements, medical schools currently require applicants to sit for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Students preparing for medical school are advised to take the following courses, as they will meet the prerequisites for most medical schools and will prepare applicants for the MCAT:

  • 1 year of General Chemistry and General Chemistry Lab;
  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Labs;
  • 1 year of Introductory Biology and Biology Lab;
  • 1 year of General Physics and Physics Labs; 
  • 1 semester Biochemistry;
  • 1 semester of Introductory Psychology

At Columbia, the following courses correspond to the above requirements:

Chemistry
Select one of the following three options:
Option 1:
CHEM UN1403
 - CHEM UN1404
GENERAL CHEMISTRY I-LECTURES
and General Chemistry II ( Lecture)
CHEM UN1500General Chemistry Laboratory
Option 2: for students who place into the accelerated track:
CHEM UN16042ND TERM GEN CHEM (INTENSIVE)
CHEM UN1507Intensive General Chemistry Laboratory
or CHEM UN1500 General Chemistry Laboratory
Option 3: available to students depending on results of placement exam:
CHEM UN1507Intensive General Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM UN2045
 - CHEM UN2046
INTENSVE ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
and INTENSVE ORG CHEM-FOR 1ST YEAR (formerly CHEM W3045-W3046)
CHEM UN2545Intensive Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Organic Chemistry
CHEM UN2443
 - CHEM UN2444
Organic Chemistry I (Lecture)
and ORGANIC CHEMSTRY II-LECTURES (formerly CHEM W3443-W3444)
CHEM UN2493
 - CHEM UN2494
Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (Techniques)
and ORGANIC CHEM. LAB II SYNTHESIS
Biology
BIOL UN2005
 - BIOL UN2006
Introductory Biology I: Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology
and INTRO BIO II:CELL BIO,DEV/PHYS
BIOL UN2501Contemporary Biology Laboratory (or other Biology laboratory approved by premedical adviser)
Physics
Select one of the following three options:
Option 1:
PHYS UN1201
 - PHYS UN1202
General Physics I
and General Physics II
PHYS UN1291
 - PHYS UN1292
General Physics Laboratory
and General Physics Laboratory II
Option 2:
PHYS UN1401
 - PHYS UN1402
Introduction To Mechanics and Thermodynamics
and INTRO ELEC/MAGNETSM & OPTCS
Or
PHYS UN1601
 - PHYS UN1602
Physics, I: Mechanics and Relativity
and Physics, II: Thermodynamics, Electricity, and Magnetism
Also select one of the following laboratories:
PHYS UN1291
 - PHYS UN1292
General Physics Laboratory
and General Physics Laboratory II
PHYS UN1493Introduction to Experimental Physics
PHYS UN1494Introduction to Experimental Physics
Experiments in Classical and Modern Physics
PHYS UN3081Intermediate Laboratory Work
Option 3:
PHYS UN2801
 - PHYS UN2802
Accelerated Physics I
and Accelerated Physics II
Also select one of the following laboratories:
PHYS UN1493Introduction to Experimental Physics
PHYS UN1494Introduction to Experimental Physics
PHYS UN2699Experiments in Classical and Modern Physics
PHYS UN3081Intermediate Laboratory Work
Psychology
PSYC UN1001The Science of Psychology

While these courses are recommended for MCAT preparation, students should note the following additional information:

  • English: Most medical schools require one year of English, emphasizing skill acquisition in writing. Columbia College students fulfill this requirement with University Writing (ENGL CC1010) and Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy (Literature Humanities) (HUMA CC1001-HUMA CC1002).
  • Mathematics: Although not required by most medical schools, calculus is required for Columbia chemistry sequences and therefore all premedical students should have successfully completed the equivalent of one semester of Calculus. Medical schools that do have a mathematics requirement typically expect one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics. Any Columbia calculus and statistics classes will meet the requirement and it is sometimes possible to use AP credit toward this requirement.
  • Biochemistry: An increasing number of medical schools require one semester of biochemistry. While Columbia's introductory biology sequence covers many foundational concepts of biochemistry, which may prepare students for the MCAT, many medical schools will require a course in Biochemistry prior to matriculation.
  • Advanced Biology: A small number of schools require more than one year of introductory biology and many of these recommend specific advanced level classes.
  • Social and Behavioral Science: A number of schools have begun to add social and behavioral science courses into their requirements, including, but not limited to, psychology and sociology.

Students should note that medical schools’ stated prerequisites are subject to change from year to year and it is the responsibility of students to confirm the prerequisite requirements for the medical schools to which they intend to apply. Most medical schools list their requirements in greater detail on their individual websites. More information can also be found from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Barnard Courses

While it is preferred that students complete their premedical requirements with Columbia College courses, students may take premedical requirements at Barnard if course prerequisites have been satisfied in advance. However, students should keep in mind that the Columbia Biology and Chemistry Departments may not accept Barnard courses toward the concentration and major. Students should consult their departmental advisers before registering for a Barnard course.

Students with Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) credit is accepted by some schools, but not all. Students are responsible for monitoring the requirements of each school to which they intend to apply. 

Generally, students with AP credit are strongly advised to take further courses in the field in which they have received such credit.

Application to Health Profession Programs

For many health professions programs, students apply for admission than a year in advance of matriculation. Most Columbia students take time between undergraduate and health profession school and thus wait to apply to these schools until after graduating. Students who are interested in going directly on to health professional school following graduation should complete all prerequisite courses which will prepare them for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) by the end of the junior year.

Students planning to apply to medical or dental school should meet with preprofessional advisers prior to application and plan to obtain a Premedical Advisory Committee letter as part of their application. A Premedical Advisory Committee application is made available each year in December. For more information regarding this process, please consult with a preprofessional adviser in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner preprofessional@columbia.edu.

Clinical and Research Exposure

Preprofessional Advising maintains an online list of many different clinical volunteer and research opportunities across New York City and beyond. These opportunities can offer students the chance to explore the health profession and to interact with patients, and these experiences are viewed by medical schools as essential preparation. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to spend time volunteering or working in clinical and research environments before applying to medical school.

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

The Combined Plan (3-2) Program

The Combined Plan (3-2) Program is a dual degree program that provides Columbia College students the opportunity to earn a B.A. degree from Columbia College and a B.S. degree from The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science in five years. Columbia College students must apply in their junior year to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. In order to apply, students must have completed or be in the process of completing the pre-engineering courses including:

Mathematics
MATH UN1101
 - MATH UN1102
 - MATH UN1201
CALCULUS I
and CALCULUS II
and Calculus III
MATH UN1202CALCULUS IV
Chemistry
CHEM UN1403GENERAL CHEMISTRY I-LECTURES (at a minimum)
Physics
Select one of the following three sequences:
PHYS UN1401
 - PHYS UN1402
Introduction To Mechanics and Thermodynamics
and INTRO ELEC/MAGNETSM & OPTCS
PHYS UN1601
 - PHYS UN1602
Physics, I: Mechanics and Relativity
and Physics, II: Thermodynamics, Electricity, and Magnetism
PHYS UN2801
 - PHYS UN2802
Accelerated Physics I
and Accelerated Physics II
Some programs require a third semester of Physics
Computer Science
Select one of the following four courses, depending on program:
ENGI E1006Introduction to Computing for Engineers and Applied Scientists
COMS W1004Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Java
COMS W1005Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in MATLAB
COMS W1007Honors Introduction to Computer Science
Economics
ECON UN1105Principles of Economics
Laboratory Requirement (choose one of the following)*:
PHYS UN1493Introduction to Experimental Physics
PHYS UN1494Introduction to Experimental Physics
CHEM UN1500General Chemistry Laboratory
*Note that some majors require a specific lab in either Chemistry or Physics, or both

Students must also complete the requirements for a Columbia College major or concentration, as well as any additional pre-curricular requirements for the specific engineering major (see specific requirements on the Undergraduate Admissions website). In the fourth and fifth years of study, to be completed at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, requirements for the major at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science must be completed in consultation with the major adviser there. Students with more than 35 transfer credits are not eligible for the program. Housing and financial aid will be continued.

Each fall, Undergraduate Admissions conducts information sessions in which students meet with the Combined Plan Program administrator. For more information, students should contact their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner, or email combinedplan@columbia.edu.

The 4+1 Program with Columbia College

The 4+1 Program provides students in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) the opportunity to obtain a B.A. degree from Columbia College, through the completion of one additional year of study after the completion of four years of study and the fulfillment of all requirements for the B.S. degree in engineering.

SEAS students who are interested in the 4+1 Program must declare their interest in the spring of their sophomore year and plan their next three years of study with the program adviser. The fifth year of study commences in the fall semester and students are required to conclude their studies after two full-time semesters of enrollment. Students are expected to earn 31 credits while enrolled at Columbia College.

The program is selective, and admission is based on the following factors:

  1. granting of the B.S. at SEAS at the end of the fourth year;
  2. the fulfillment of all Columbia College Core Curriculum requirements by the end of the fourth year at SEAS;
  3. maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Columbia College Core courses as well as those courses counting toward the Columbia College major;
  4. creating a plan to complete a Columbia College major or concentration by the end of their fifth year that is approved by the appropriate director of undergraduate studies.

For more information, students may contact their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner.

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

The B.A./M.A. option allows Columbia College students to enroll in graduate-level courses at Columbia and apply the earned credit toward a Columbia M.A., assuming admission to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Applicants interested in the B.A./M.A. option should apply at least two months prior to the semester in which they intend to begin taking courses that will count toward the M.A. Some academic programs have more specific application deadlines.

Coursework taken toward the B.A./M.A. option is subject to the following guidelines:

  1. The credit for the coursework must be in excess of the 124 points required for the B.A. degree.

  2. A course used to fulfill a requirement for the B.A. degree may not be counted toward graduate credit.

  3. The student must obtain the approval of both the graduate department(s) offering the course(s) and the undergraduate department in which they are majoring or concentrating.

  4. The maximum amount of graduate credit that an undergraduate can earn toward the M.A. degree requirement in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is 0.50 Residence Unit. For more information on the Residence Units for graduate programs, please consult the relevant website of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Students who are interested in pursuing the B.A./M.A. option must consult the director of graduate studies (DGS) or program director of their intended M.A. program before applying. This consultation is a required part of the application process and must take place before a B.A./M.A. application may be submitted.

The Juilliard School

Exceptionally talented Columbia College students have access to instrumental, composition, and voice instruction at The Juilliard School through two distinct programs.

The Cross-Registration Program

The Cross-Registration Program provides Columbia College students with the opportunity to enroll in weekly instrumental (classical and jazz), composition, and vocal instruction at The Juilliard School. Students must submit a formal application and audition successfully at Juilliard to be accepted into the Cross-Registration Program. Annual juries will be held at Juilliard at the end of each academic year, to determine that students are eligible to continue in the program. The Cross-Registration Program covers weekly instruction only; ensembles and classes at Juilliard are generally not open to participants in the Cross-Registration Program.

Applicants to the Cross-Registration Program may be incoming first-year students or continuing students in Columbia College, and they should submit a Juilliard Application for Admission, including pre-screening materials. Students in the cross-registration program may participate in the program for up to four years of study and have the option of applying to the joint B.A./M.M. program in their junior year.

The Joint B.A./M.M. Program

The joint degree program offers students the opportunity to earn a B.A. degree from Columbia and an M.M. degree from Juilliard in five years. Voice candidates may need six years of study to complete the program depending on preparation. 

Columbia College students must have participated in the cross-registration program for at least one year to be eligible to apply to the joint degree program. There are no prerequisite courses required to qualify for admission to the joint program, but students considering the program are encouraged to complement their cross-registration instruction at Juilliard with music classes and participation in ensembles at Columbia.

College students apply to the joint degree program in their junior year. To be considered for the program, Columbia College students must have completed by the end of junior year 94 points of coursework, including the Core Curriculum requirements and the major or concentration requirements for the B.A., and they must have participated in the cross-registration program for at least one year. If accepted to the joint degree program, students will become full-time graduate students at Juilliard in their fourth year and will be subject to Juilliard’s financial aid policies. While it may be possible to complete 1-2 courses required for the B.A. degree at Columbia College in the fourth year, students must receive permission to do so from the College and will not be eligible for financial aid from Columbia College in that fourth year.

Eligible students should submit the Juilliard Application for Admission by the appropriate deadline. The pre-screening (if applicable) is waived, and live auditions are held at The Juilliard School in early March.

Students who wish to pursue the joint program should consult with Alex España, Associate Dean, in the Berick Center for Student Advising

The Law School

Accelerated Interdisciplinary Legal Education Program

The Accelerated Interdisciplinary Legal Education (AILE) Program provides Columbia College students with outstanding records the opportunity to earn a B.A. degree from Columbia College and a J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in six years. 

To be eligible to apply, students must have enrolled in all six semesters of study for the B.A. from Columbia College on Columbia’s New York campus (i.e., students with transfer credits or study abroad credits, even from Columbia programs, are not eligible to apply to the joint program). Students must have completed by the end of junior year 93 points of credit toward the B.A., including the full Columbia College Core Curriculum requirements and the requirements for a major or concentration. In the fifth and sixth years of study (i.e., the second and third years at the Law School), students must complete 12 points of coursework through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the coursework must have the prior approval of the student’s pre professional adviser.

Interested students should submit an application in the spring of their junior year to the Office of Preprofessional Advising in the Berick Center for Student Advising. Columbia College may nominate one or two juniors each year for consideration, and the final admission determination is made by the Law School Admissions Committee. Prospective participants in this program must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) no later than the February administration in the year of intended enrollment. After formal admission to the Law School, students are withdrawn from the College to become full-time Law School students in their fourth year, and are subject to the financial aid and housing policies of the Law School from that point forward.

AILE students receive Columbia College and Law School degrees at the same time, at the end of six years. AILE students must apply for the B.A. degree the term before they expect to graduate. Students should inform their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising of their plans to graduate in order to be considered for honors and Phi Beta Kappa. 

For more information, students may contact Preprofessional Advising, 403 Lerner, 212-854-6378; preprofessional@columbia.edu.

The Mailman School of Public Health

The 4+1 program between Columbia College and Columbia School of Public Health is a dual degree program that offers students the opportunity to earn a B.A. degree from Columbia College and an M.P.H. degree from the Mailman School of Public Health (Mailman) in five years. 

Students accepted into the program spend the fall semester of their senior year taking the multidisciplinary Public Health Core Curriculum at Mailman, then complete their undergraduate coursework for the College’s B.A. degree in the spring semester of their senior year. After graduation from the College, students in the program enroll full-time at Mailman and engage in coursework, thesis work, and a practicum. The practicum takes place in the summer following the academic year of coursework and thesis work at Mailman.

College students may apply to the program in their junior year. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, and are expected to have taken at least one semester of calculus, statistics or other appropriate quantitative course. Particular M.P.H. disciplines – specifically, the Biostatistics program and the Environmental Health Sciences program – have additional prerequisites. More information, including application instructions, can be found on the Mailman website.

For more information, students may contact their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner. 

The School of International and Public Affairs

The International Affairs Five-Year Program

The International Affairs Five-Year Program offers Columbia College students the opportunity to earn both a B.A. degree and an M.I.A. degree from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in five years.

Students apply to the program during their junior year through the School of International and Public Affairs Admissions Office. Admission to the joint program does not constitute admission to SIPA. Once admitted to the joint program, students complete their senior year at Columbia College, by taking mostly graduate-level courses that are approved by SIPA to count toward the M.I.A. degree.

To be eligible for the program, students must have, by the end of their junior year, been enrolled in Columbia College for at least four semesters; completed a minimum of 93 credits; achieved competence in a modern foreign language; completed all Columbia College Core Curriculum requirements; and satisfied all major/concentration requirements, with the possible exception of two courses (i.e., needing no more than 6-8 credits to complete the major/concentration). These two courses toward the major or concentration may be taken during the senior year while completing 24 points of other coursework that will be accepted by SIPA. One 3-point course approved by SIPA may be taken in the junior year. It may be possible to take courses toward the M.I.A. degree during the summer between the junior and senior year with prior approval. To progress in the M.I.A. program in the fifth year, students must receive the B.A. from the College with a satisfactory GPA. Upon formal admission to SIPA after their senior year, students may apply for housing and financial aid through SIPA.

For more information, students may contact their advising deans in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner.

Public Policy and Administration Five-Year Program

The 4+1 program in Public Policy and Administration is a dual degree program that offers students the opportunity to earn a B.A. degree from Columbia College and an M.P.A. degree from the School of International and Public Affairs in five years. 

Interested students should apply during their junior year through the School of International and Public Affairs Admissions Office. Admission to the joint program does not constitute admission to SIPA. Once admitted to the joint program, students complete their senior year at Columbia College,, by taking mostly graduate-level courses that are approved by SIPA to count toward the M.P.A. 

To be eligible for the program, students must have, by the end of the junior year, been enrolled in Columbia College for at least four semesters; completed a minimum of 93 credits; achieved competence in a modern foreign language; completed all College Core Curriculum requirements; and satisfied all major/concentration requirements, with the possible exception of two courses (i.e., needing no more than 6-8 credits to complete the major/concentration). These two courses toward the major or concentration may be taken during the senior year while completing 24 points of other coursework that will be accepted by SIPA. One 3-point course approved by SIPA may be taken in the junior year. It may be possible to take courses toward the M.P.A. degree during the summer between the junior and senior year, with prior approval. To progress in the M.P.A. program in the fifth year, students must receive the B.A. from the College with a satisfactory GPA. Upon formal admission to SIPA after their senior year, students may apply for housing and financial aid through SIPA.

For more information, students may contact their advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner.

 

Please note: This Columbia College Bulletin page will be updated as information on exchange programs is confirmed. Thank you.