STEM Discipline of the Month
Each Month of the Barnard Year of Science will be devoted to a particular STEM discipline, highlighting the work of the respective academic departments and centers. Each will be hosting events and activities for students and faculty, with select events open to alumnae and the community.
Computer Science & Math
Barnard’s Computer Science program offers meaningful computing education and experiences to all Barnard students and partners with Columbia's Computer Science department to offer a major in Computer Science. The program aims to expand students' use and understanding of computation and data analysis across disciplines; offer students opportunities to think critically about the social implications of technology, including how to harness it for social good; promote curricular and pedagogical advances in computer science and its multidisciplinary applications; and provide new models for engaging students and enhancing diversity in computing.
Mathematics is wonderful training for the mind, a great training if you are thinking of being a lawyer for example, and it has an increasing range of applications, from the study of the genome and climate change to financial mathematics and medical statistics. Mathematics has always been the language of physics, and, with the advent of computer modeling, is an essential component of almost all science. An undergraduate degree in mathematics opens the door to many professions and to graduate study in a wide variety of disciplines.
Neuroscience & Behavior
The Neuroscience and Behavior major at Barnard College provides a strong background in the biological underpinnings of behavior and cognition. Students electing this major are offered introductory and advanced courses in neuroscience and behavior, as well as the possibility of taking courses in cognate disciplines including psychology, biology, chemistry, and physics. Students learn to think analytically and how to conduct research through experience in laboratory courses as well as working in faculty laboratories, both during the academic year and summer. Majors must choose one of two areas of concentration. The behavior concentration places greater emphasis on behavioral and systems neuroscience, while the cellular concentration places greater emphasis on cellular and molecular neuroscience.
The Barnard College Chemistry Department offers courses for undergraduates who plan to major or minor in the physical and life sciences, as well as for students pursuing other liberal arts degrees. The department offers majors and minors in chemistry and biochemistry, both approved by the American Chemical Society.
In a three-year sequence of core courses, students gain familiarity with the basic areas of the field: inorganic, organic, physical, analytical, and biological chemistry. Extensive laboratory work prepares students for success in graduate or professional research programs. The department contains modern laboratories designed for coursework and independent projects, and students may undertake independent research projects under faculty guidance during the academic year or over the summer.
The Department of Psychology offers a rigorous exposition of the study of the mind in action. In classroom courses, in instructional laboratories, and in research conducted with the faculty, students explore intellectual perspectives and empirical methods expressed across the discipline of psychology. The department also links our students to many forums in the College and University for discussion and refinement of scientific work.
Physics & Astronomy
Barnard offers a thorough pre-professional curriculum in both physics and astronomy. The faculty represents a wide range of expertise, with special strength and distinction in theoretical gravitational and condensed matter physics, and observational astrophysics.
Separate majors in physics and astronomy are offered, as well as a minor in physics. A major in astrophysics is also possible. Furthermore, there are many special interdisciplinary majors, such as biophysics, chemical physics, engineering physics, mathematical physics, and astrochemistry.
The mission of the Department of Biological Sciences is to provide students with a broad education in biology. To this end, students are offered a range of lecture courses that span the molecular, physiological, and ecological levels of organization. Students also complete laboratory courses that help them learn how to design and test hypotheses, use cutting edge equipment, and interpret data. Finally, students learn scientific communication skills by critiquing research articles, writing laboratory reports and research papers, and participating in oral presentations and debates. The department encourages students to become involved in a research project under the guidance of a faculty member at Barnard or elsewhere in New York City.
Environmental Science, Conservation and Sustainability, & Climate Action
Barnard College’s Environmental Science Department provides highly motivated young women with challenging and rewarding programs in Environmental Science, Environmental Biology, and Environment and Sustainability. High academic standards, multidisciplinary courses, and training in methodologies such as field work, measurements, and data analysis, ready our students with the tools needed to think critically, evaluate and solve problems, and understand and communicate science to address the needs of society. Faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized scholars and educators, active in research and curriculum development. Courses are innovative, featuring multimedia and technologically advanced resources. The urban setting, the proximity to the Hudson River, and the numerous affiliations we maintain with Columbia University through Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the Earth Institute, and the School of Public Health, as well as Black Rock Forest, the American Museum of Natural History and other institutions, allow us to offer undergraduates unparalleled opportunities for student research and educational experiences. Upon successful completion of our program, our students are well prepared to continue their academic studies as graduate students or to pursue successful careers in a wide range of fields.
Sciences & the Humanities
Barnard College's core curriculum, Foundations, allows students to take courses in a range of disciplines across the sciences and humanities. The Distributional Requirements also cover a wide spectrum, with each category offering dozens of course options. Interested in pursuing STEM? Maybe a class on scientific writing can expand your viewpoint. Love to dance? Maybe a lab in human anatomy is right for you. Providing education in both the sciences and humanities ensures that, no matter the major, a Barnard graduate has honed their ability to skillfully interpret information, think critically, and powerfully communicate ideas.
Collaboration is key to discovery. At Barnard, individuals across disciplines come together to leverage varying perspectives and advance STEM research beyond one field.