Columbia College, founded in 1754, is a small, coeducational, residential college situated in a large and complex university. These circumstances work to the advantage of our students, who often enjoy the personal attention that only a small college can provide and, at the same time, attend classes that offer an impressive array of intellectual challenges and rewards.
This bulletin describes the programs of study offered by the College in the academic year 2012–2013. As a small college in a large research institution, Columbia College offers a wide array of academic programs taught by faculty working at the frontiers of their disciplines. Students can choose from among more than seventy majors, more than concentrations, and hundreds of electives, which range widely across the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.
Prior to completing a major or concentration, Columbia College undergraduates complete a program of general education conducted in small seminars and guided by the College’s celebrated Core Curriculum. “The Core,” as it has come to be known by generations of Columbia College students, is a common curriculum of primary works in literature, philosophy, history, political theory, science, fine arts and music. Through discussion and debate, regular writing, and direct interaction between instructor and student, the Core Curriculum creates an extraordinary community of shared discourse about great ideas and influential elements of great cultures. It also develops in our students the kinds of analytic, discursive, and imaginative thinking that will prove indispensable in subsequent education and in later life.
Besides these curricular resources, Columbia offers extensive cultural, athletic, and recreational resources, as well as opportunities to participate in community outreach programs and public service activities. Although virtually all of our first-year students live in residence halls, student life at Columbia extends beyond classrooms and campus experiences to include the excitement, cultural richness, and social variety of New York City. The spirit of Columbia College finds its full and deep expression in the combination of our demanding curriculum, our dedicated faculty, our diverse and talented student body, and our special place in a great university and a great city.
James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College