Go to m.barnard.edu for the Mobile Barnard web app or download it from the App Store or Google Play.


1203 Altschul Hall
212-854-1950 (fax)

Introductory Laboratory Office:
911 Altschul Hall
Department Administrator: Sarah Boorsma

Chair: John Glendinning (Professor)
Professor Emeritus: Philip V. Ammirato
Professors: Paul E. Hertz (Acting Provost and Dean of the Faculty), Brian Morton
Associate Professor: Hilary S. Callahan
Assistant Professors: Elizabeth Bauer, Jennifer H. Mansfield, Krista McGuire, Kristen A. Shepard, Jonathan Whitehead Snow
Adjunct Assistant Professor: Maria Lokshin
Senior Lecturer: Jessica Goldstein

The Department of Biology

Biology explores the structure, function and evolution of diverse living systems. It addresses some of the most important issues of our time—genetic engineering, stem cell research, obesity, cancer and effects of global warming. Majoring in Biology prepares students to pursue a career in research, teaching or the allied health sciences. It is also relevant to careers as diverse as environmental policy, law, public health, creative writing and textbook development.


The mission of the Biological Sciences major 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 modern scientific 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

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a major in Biological Sciences should be able to attain the following outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the many different life forms on planet Earth.
  • Have the ability to discuss a biological phenomenon from many different levels of organization (e.g., discuss HIV from the perspective of structure through host immune response to evolutionary and epidemiological issues).
  • Describe the basic features of Mendelian genetics and the central dogma of molecular biology; understand the basic physiological processes of at least one organism; demonstrate and understanding of population level processes.
  • Make an oral presentation on either an original research project or a published primary research paper.
  • Generate a testable hypothesis and develop and execute a controlled experimental design.
  • Write an original scientific paper and/or a review article.


Students are strongly encouraged to engage in research at Barnard. Guided Research and Seminar (BIOL BC 3591-3592) and Senior Thesis Research (BIOL BC 3593-3594) may be used to fulfill major requirements as described below while BIOL BC 3597 Guided Research may be used for degree credit.

In addition to conducting research during the academic year, students are encouraged to pursue summer research internships. Barnard faculty engage many students in paid research projects during the summer. The departmental office also has information about summer internships outside Barnard. In addition, the department awards funds on a competitive basis to support summer research not otherwise funded by internships.

Introductory Course Selection

The Biology Department offers several options at the introductory level; students should select courses on the basis of their preparation and background in biology. Students who took advanced biology in high school should enroll in the 1500-level sequence (BIOL BC 1500, BC 1502, and the lab courses BC 1501 and BC 1503). This sequence can be started either in the fall (BIOL BC 1500 and BC 1501) or the spring (BIOL BC 1502 and BC 1503) and fulfills the laboratory science portion of the General Education Requirement as well as the premedical requirement in biology.

Students with little or no experience in biology should enroll in the 1000-level sequence, which provides an appropriate introduction to important concepts in the field. Both BC 1001 and BC 1002 include a laboratory component and together fulfill the laboratory science portion of the General Education Requirement. They must be taken in order. BC 1001 must always precede BC 1002, even if they are taken years apart. Students who wish to move on to the 1500-level courses, which are prerequisites for advanced classes in biology, are eligible to do so upon completion of BC 1001.

AP Course Credit

Students who have passed the Advanced Placement examination in biology with a grade of 4 or 5 are exempt from BIOL BC 1001 and receive 3 points of credit.  Students with an AP biology score of 4 or 5 may complete the Barnard lab science requirement with (a) BIOL BC 1002, (b) BIOL BC 1500 and BC 1501, or (c) BIOL BC 1502 and BC 1503. However, students must complete the entire 1500-level sequence (BC 1500, 1501, 1502, and 1503) for the Biology major or minor and for the biology premedical requirements. AP credit is granted regardless of which introductory courses are completed at Barnard.