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The Core Curriculum

Physical Education Requirement

Successful completion of two Physical Education Activities is required 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 Jeffrey Ryder, Director of Physical Education.

Students may not register for more than one section of physical education each term.

Students who fulfill the attendance participation requirements for the course pass the course. Students who are absent more than the permissible number of times are given a mark of W (Withdrawal), unless they file a drop form with the Department of Physical Education by the official deadline to drop a course.

One point of the Physical Education requirement may be a Barnard Physical Education course or a Barnard Dance technique course. No more than 4 points of physical education courses may be counted toward the degree.

A student who intends to participate in an intercollegiate sport should register for the appropriate section of PHED UN1005 Intercollegiate Athletics. Intercollegiate athletes who attend regularly receive 1 point of credit up to a maximum of 4. Student athletes who leave the team in mid-term but still wish to receive academic credit must notify the Physical Education Office and be placed in another physical education activity to complete the attendance requirement. Student athletes are also responsible for fulfilling the swimming requirement.

For more information, visit the Physical Education Department website:

Eligibility for Intercollegiate Athletics

Any student in the College who is pursuing the undergraduate program or a combined program toward a first degree is eligible for intercollegiate athletics. To be eligible for athletic activities, the student must make appropriate progress toward the degree as defined by the NCAA, the Ivy League, and Columbia University. These criteria are monitored by the Center for Student Advising and certified by the Office of the Registrar.

Questions about athletic eligibility should be referred to the appropriate advising dean or the compliance office in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education.

For more information, visit