Columbia College is a relatively small, coeducational, residential college situated in a large and complex university. These circumstances work to the advantage of our students, who often enjoy the individual, 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.
Tradition of Excellence
Columbia College has had the best general education curriculum in the country for more than half a century. This common curriculum has created and sustained a community of discourse shared by the current student body with generations of alumni. As with other great traditions, however, this living discourse has not been static, but has evolved and developed across the years. And it will continue to do so. The vitality of any tradition depends upon its constant renewal, and for this reason, among others, Columbia College’s general education is conducted in small seminars. Although many excellent colleges offer one or two semesters of general education courses, such courses tend to be taught as large lectures in large halls filled with students taking notes. At Columbia College, students spend a substantial part of their first years in small classes, reading and discussing primary works of literature, philosophy, history, science, and social and political theory, and studying fine arts and music. Through discussion and debate, through writing, and through direct interaction between instructor and student, our core curriculum helps improve each student’s ability to engage in the kinds of analytic, discursive, and imaginative thinking that will prove indispensable in both subsequent education and later life.
A Spirited Engagement with the World
As a small college in a large research institution, Columbia College also offers a large array of academic programs taught by faculty working at the frontiers of their disciplines. Students can choose from among more than eighty majors, over forty concentrations, and hundreds of electives, which range widely over the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Besides these curricular resources, there are also extensive cultural, athletic, and recreational resources available to students at Columbia. Many opportunities also exist for students to participate in outreach programs that assist less fortunate members of our society. Although virtually all of our first-year students live in residence halls, student life at Columbia extends beyond classrooms and campus experiences. The intensity, excitement, cultural richness, and social variety of urban New York beckons to all of you. The spirit of Columbia College finds its full and deep expression in the combination of our demanding curriculum, our diverse and talented student body, and our challenging location in a great university and a great city.