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Columbia University Course/Program Name
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National :01 Jan 
International :01 Jan 

BA Physics and Astronomy

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

3 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

46040 USD
46040 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Barnard College
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600

World University Ranking

About this course

In cooperation with the faculty of Columbia University, 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. 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. There is a physics minor as well. Students should consult members of the department early on in their undergraduate careers in order to plan the most effective course of study.

Qualified seniors are invited to participate in the seniors honors program, in which they carry out a year-long research project leading to the thesis.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

To be well-prepared for a college like Barnard, it is important to think about the academic community you are hoping to join. Barnard's general education requirements cover a wide range of subjects: literature, the social sciences, language and the arts, lab sciences, and quantitative areas. For this reason, you should acquire a strong foundation in high school, taking courses from the core academic subjects: math, science, English, history, and foreign language. Do your best to take the most rigorous classes available to you in which you can do your best work. For transfer students, our recommendations are similar. Take courses that are recommended to fulfill general requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. If an area is a relative weakness, continue taking that subject while pursuing advanced coursework in areas of relative strength. Remember, we hope to see how you might contribute to our intellectual community, and your choices tell us what kind of a student you will be.

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Course Modules

Requirements for the Astronomy Major

The courses required for the major in astronomy are as follows:

PHYS BC2001 Physics I: Mechanics *  
PHYS BC2002 Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism *  
PHYS BC3001 Physics III: Classical Waves & Optics *  
Calculus through IV is required, with additional work in mathematics recommended  
ASTR C2001
 - ASTR C2002
Introduction to Astrophysics I
and Introduction to Astrophysics II **
Students are required to take four additional 3000-level ASTR or PHYS courses, including at least one of ASTR C3102 or PHYS W3003, and selected so that at least six total points of 3000-level lecture classes are ASTR courses  
Some of the ASTR courses offered in recent year include:  
ASTR C3101
Modern Stellar Astrophysics II  
ASTR C3102
Planetary Dynamics  
ASTR C3601
General Relativity, Black Holes, and Cosmology  
ASTR C3273
High Energy Astrophysics  
ASTR C3602
Physical Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy  
ASTR C3646
Observational Astronomy  

Students may substitute a Columbia College three-semester calculus-based introductory physics sequence with lab taken at Barnard, as in the physics major.


Students who have taken ASTR BC1753 Life in the Universe-ASTR BC1754 Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology or ASTR C1403 Earth, Moon, and Planets (lecture)-ASTR C1404 Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology may substitute an additional 3000-level ASTR course for ASTR C2001 Introduction to Astrophysics I-ASTR C2002 Introduction to Astrophysics II.

Students planning to study astronomy or astrophysics in graduate school are strongly urged to take PHYS BC3006Quantum PhysicsPHYS UN3003 MechanicsPHYS UN3007 Electricity and Magnetism-PHYS UN3008Electromagnetic Waves and OpticsPHYS G4023 Thermal and Statistical Physics, some additional courses in mathematics, and Computer Science COMS W1001 Introduction to Information Science or COMS W1004 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Java. Note: When any of the required courses is not being given, the department will recommend appropriate substitutions.

Requirements for the Physics Major

The courses required for the major in physics are:

PHYS BC2001 Physics I: Mechanics *  
PHYS BC2002 Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism *  
PHYS BC3001 Physics III: Classical Waves & Optics *  
Calculus through IV is required, with additional work in mathematics recommended; e.g., MATH E1201x,y, APMA E3102y. The calculus sequence should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.  
PHYS UN3003 Mechanics  
PHYS BC3006 Quantum Physics  
PHYS UN3007 Electricity and Magnetism  
PHYS UN3008 Electromagnetic Waves and Optics  
PHYS G4023 Thermal and Statistical Physics  
 - PHYS BC3088
Quantum Physics Laboratory
and Advanced Electromagnetism Laboratory (taken concurrently with their cognate lecture courses)
Select one of the following:  
COMS W1001 Introduction to Information Science  
COMS W1004 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Java  
PHYS UN3083 Electronics Laboratory  

In lieu of the above, any three-semester Columbia introductory sequence acceptable for the physics major in Columbia College will do (e.g., PHYS UN1601 Physics, I: Mechanics and Relativity-PHYS UN1602 Physics, II: Thermodynamics, Electricity, and MagnetismPHYS UN2601 Physics, III: Classical and Quantum Waves, taken with labs at Barnard). The accelerated two-semester Columbia College sequence PHYS C2801 General Physics-PHYS C2802 General Physics is also acceptable.

Students planning to study physics in graduate school should include several 4000-level electives in their senior year program.

Interdisciplinary Major

Special majors in, for example, astrophysics, biophysics, chemical physics, engineering physics, or mathematical physics are all possible and are arranged in conjunction with the relevant second department at Barnard. A student interested in such possibilities should speak to a faculty member early on (i.e., by late fall of her sophomore year) in order to permit the most effective construction of her program of study and the appropriate petition to be made to the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing. The latter is a straightforward procedure associated with the declaration of all special majors at Barnard.

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How to Apply

Submit all supporting materials

  • Request that all official high school and college transcripts be sent to Barnard College along with your high school's profile. Your guidance counselor will also need to submit the School Report.
  • Submit official standardized testing. For more information, please view
  • Submit Teacher Evaluation forms. We require letters from two teachers that taught you in core academic subjects (English, foreign language, history [social science], mathematics, or science) in your final two years of secondary school.
  • Your counselor will submit the mid-year report with your first semester senior grades by March 1st via the common application.
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable). In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for students whose primary language is not English and who have not been enrolled in a school where English is the primary medium of instruction for four consecutive years

Optional Supplemental Materials

  • Students may choose to complete an on-campus or off-campus interview. For information on how and when to schedule an interview, please visit our admissions interview page. 
  • Students may choose to submit supplementary portfolios (art—including film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture—music, dance, theatre, or creative writing) for review via Slideroom. 
    Please note: Supplementary material will not be reviewed by Barnard faculty, and unfortunately, during high volume periods, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

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