Biological Sciences

Administrative Information

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Undergraduate Programs and Laboratories:
Prof. Deborah Mowshowitz, 744D Mudd; 854-4497;

Biology Major and Concentration Advisers:
Current and prospective majors and concentrators whose last names begin with:
A-H: Prof. Daniel Kalderon, 1013 Fairchild; 854-6469;
I-P:  Prof. Alice Heicklen, 744B Mudd; 854-5952;
Q-Z: Prof. Elizabeth Miller, 617 Fairchild; 854-2264;

Biology Major and Concentration Adviser:
Prof. Deborah Mowshowitz, 744D Mudd; 854-4497;

Biochemistry Advisers:
Biology: Prof. Brent Stockwell, 1208 Northwest Corner Building; 854-2948;
Chemistry: Prof. Virginia Cornish, 1209 Northwest Corner Building; 854-5209;

Biophysics Adviser: Prof. Julio Fernandez, 1011A Fairchild;

Neuroscience and Behavior Adviser:
Biology: Prof. Jian Yang, 917A Fairchild; 854-6161;

Neuroscience and Behavior Advisers:
Biology: Prof. Jian Yang, 917A Fairchild; 854-6161;
or Prof. Deborah Mowshowitz, 744D Mudd; 854-4497;
Psychology: Prof. Carl Hart, 316 Schermerhorn; 854-5313;
or Prof. Donald Hood, 415 Schermerhorn; 854-4587;

Departmental Office: 600 Fairchild, 854-4581;

Walter J. Bock
J. Chloë Bulinski
Martin Chalfie
Lawrence A. Chasin
Julio M. Fernandez
Stuart Firestein
Joachim Frank
John Hunt
Daniel Kalderon
Darcy B. Kelley
Ann McDermott (Chemistry)
James L. Manley
Robert E. Pollack
Molly Przeworski
Carol L. Prives
Ron Prywes
Michael P. Sheetz
Liang Tong
Alexander A. Tzagoloff
Rafael Yuste

Associate Professors
Harmen Bussemaker
Songtao Jia

Associate Professors (continued)
Elizabeth Miller
Dana Pe'er
Guy Sella
Ozgur Sahin
Brent Stockwell
Jian Yang

Assistant Professors
Lars Dietrich

Claire Elise Hazen
Alice Heicklen
Carol Lin

Adjunct Faculty
Ava Brent-Jamali
Nataliya Galifianakis

John Loike

Jozsef Meszaros
Deborah B. Mowshowitz
Solomon Mowshowitz
David Newman
Vincent R. Racaniello

The department offers broad training in basic biological disciplines, with an emphasis in cell and molecular biology. Students have many opportunities to participate in ongoing projects in research laboratories. All the biology-related majors require one year of introductory biology, plus additional courses as detailed in the major requirements and listed on the websites given above.

For the first term of their introductory biology sequence, students may take either BIOL C2005, which has a prerequisite of chemistry, or EEEB W2001, which does not require chemistry. EEEB W2001 may be taken in the first year. BIOL C2005 should be taken later, after general chemistry. For more details, see Introductory Courses under Undergraduate Requirements. All students interested in biology are encouraged to take BIOL C2908 First year seminar in modern biology in the fall semester of their first year.

Premedical students should consult their advising dean or the pre-professional office for relevant details of medical school requirements. Students interested in graduate school should consult the Bio Career adviser, Dr. Chloe Bulinski.

Nonscience majors who wish to take a biology course to fulfill the science requirement are encouraged to take BIOL W1015 if offered and/or BIOL W1130. They may also take, with the instructor’s permission, BIOL W3208, or EEEB W2001.

Interested students should consult listings in other departments for courses related to biology. For courses in environmental studies, see listings for earth and environmental sciences, or listings for ecology, evolution, and environmental biology. For courses in human evolution, see listings for anthropology or ecology, evolution, and environmental biology. For courses in the history of evolution, see history and philosophy of science. For a list of courses in computational biology and genomics, see

Advanced Placement

The department grants 3 credits for a score of 5 on the AP Biology exam. Placement is determined by the department. Students with a 5 on the AP are encouraged to take BIOL C2005 and BIOL C2006, but are not required to do so. For details, see and Introductory Courses under Undergraduate Requirements.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits granted toward the degree are not automatically counted toward the major. The department determines which transfer credits can be counted toward the major. For most majors, at least 4 biology or biochemistry courses and at least 18 credits of the total (biology, biochemistry, math, physics and chemistry) must be taken at Columbia. Barnard courses may not be substituted for the required Columbia courses without advance permission from the adviser. For neuroscience and behavior, one of the five biology course and one of the psychology courses may be transferred. Students who wish a course from outside CU to count toward their major must receive written approval from their adviser or the director of undergraduate studies. Students must supply a syllabus and/or course description to receive approval.


Current and prospective biology majors and concentrators whose last names begin with A-H should consult with Prof. Kalderon. Students whose last names begin with I-P should consult with Prof. Heicklen. Students whose last names begin with Q-Z should consult with Prof. Miller. Current and prospective biochemistry majors should consult Prof. Stockwell for biology course advising and Prof. Cornish for chemistry course advising. Current and prospective biophysics majors should consult Prof. Fernandez. Students who cannot contact their adviser should consult Prof. Mowshowitz. For additional information, including office hours, please see

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program

First-year students, sophomores, and juniors are eligible for the department’s paid internship program (SURF). This program is competitive; the department cannot assure every eligible student a place in any given summer.

Students apply to the program early in the spring term. A faculty committee headed by Dr. Alice Heicklen then matches selected students to appropriate labs.
The deadline for SURF applications is at the beginning of the spring semester.

SURF students must submit a report on their work at the end of the summer ses­sion and participate in the following year’s annual Undergraduate Research Sym­posium. Although it does not carry any academic credit, SURF can be used toward the lab requirement for majors and toward graduation with honors. For detailed information on all summer research programs and how to apply visit the SURF website. Current detailed descriptions of the SURF program and the application procedure are available at SURF:, the Amgen Scholarship Program:, and the NYSTEM summer undergraduate research program: Applications to all of these programs are through SURF.

Departmental Honors

Students must apply for departmental honors. Applications are due no later than one day after spring break of their senior year. For details, see the department website at