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Both Columbia College and SEAS have a two-semester physical education requirement. If you aren’t a person who likes to exercise, this may seem daunting. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to fulfill the requirement. Most of the classes meet twice a week for an hour, but there are a few classes that deviate from the norm. If you’re looking for something that won’t take up too much of your time or is a bit more lax than your traditional run-around-a-track class, you have a handful of options.


Dodge offers both beginner and intermediate hiking classes. But in addition to hiking trails, you’ll also learn skills such as trail etiquette and even backcountry first aid. These classes meet on Saturdays, and although the hike will take up most of your day (you’ll leave campus at 8 a.m. and return by 4 p.m.) you only have to attend three hikes for the whole semester. Keep in mind though, there is a test (who would have thought you’d be tested in PE?). For beginner hiking, you’ll have to walk four to five miles in 90 minutes or less, and for intermediate hiking you’ll walk 4.5 miles in Inwood Hill Park in under 90 minutes.


  • Instructor: Anne M. Skylis
  • Time: Saturday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Meets weekly? No
  • Fee: $200
  • Fitness test required? Yes, a hiking test


  • Instructor: Anne M. Skylis
  • Time: Saturday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Meets weekly? No
  • Fee: $200
  • Fitness test required? Yes, a hiking test


If you imagine yourself as a new-age Christopher Columbus, you might be interested in sailing on the Hudson River to fulfill your requirement. Both beginner and intermediate sailing involve four four-hour sessions on Fridays. If you’ve taken the beginner course, intermediate Sailing will teach you all you need for the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification (whatever that means). This only has four sessions for the entire semester and no test, so no need to worry about this late into the semester.

  • Instructor: Alex Baum
  • Time: Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Meets weekly? No
  • Fee: $400
  • Fitness test required? No


If sailing is too big of a boat, you can try kayaking. However, instead of being on the Hudson River, you’ll be exploring Uris Pool. This class meets on Thursday nights from 9:00 to 11:30 p.m., so if you’re awake enough to paddle you might learn some pretty sweet skills. You also need to be able to pass a swimming test to take this class (and to graduate, if youre CC).

  • Instructor: Andrew Laiosa
  • Time: Thursday 9 - 11:30 p.m.
  • Meets weekly? Yes
  • Fee: $40
  • Fitness test required? Yes, a swim test


Although scuba is also taught in Uris Pool (and also at night), there’s the opportunity to participate in open-water dives (for an additional fee that is not currently available online) at the end of the class. You’ll also have the chance to receive a Professional Association of Diving Instructors scuba certification. Don’t worry if you don’t have a mask, snorkel, fins, tanks, etc.—these materials are included in the class fee.

  • Instructor: TBA
  • Time: Thursday 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. or Wednesday 6:30 - 10:30 p.m.
  • Meets weekly? Yes
  • Fee: $375
  • Fitness test required? Yes, a 10-minute float/tread

Honorable mentions

Hatha, Iyengar, and Vinyasa Yoga

These three yoga classes are specifically designed to focus on the connection between movement and breathing. You’ll learn different breathing exercising and poses. Hatha seems to be a popular option for beginners, while Iyengar and Vinyasa are designed for more advanced yoga aficionados. While you can still expect to break a sweat, it won’t be as intense as some of the other Phys Ed courses (meaning you’ll actually enjoy yourself!).

  • Instructor: Bonnie Baker (Iyengar), Hugh Millard (Hatha and Vinyasa)
  • Time: Tuesday & Thursday 11:10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:10 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (Hatha, Millard), Monday & Wednesday 2:10 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Iyengar, Baker), or Tuesday & Thursday 3:10 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Vinyasa, Millard)
  • Meets weekly? Yes
  • Fee: None
  • Fitness test required? No

Beginner Golf

It’s not just a sport for preps or old retirees. This is the beginner section of golf, meaning that you don’t need to know anything before you pick up your putter. This is a good option if you want a low-intensity sport (which, if you’re reading this, you obviously do) but also want the opportunity to get out of Dodge. You’ll get to visit various greens around New York, such as Randall’s Island. Bonus: no equipment required—they’ll provide everything for you.

  • Instructor: Amy Weeks
  • Time: Friday 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Meets weekly? Yes
  • Fee: $50
  • Fitness test required? No

Although these are really interesting ways to take a not-so-fun sounding elective, keep a few things in mind. These classes are often harder to work into your daily schedule because they meet at such weird times, and they also involve a fee because of their special nature. But on the other hand, they’re a bit cooler than just strength or cardio training. Good luck!

Know any other really cool PE classes? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Victoria Yang is a SEAS first-year and Spectrum staff writer. PE classes are the only reason she steps foot in Dodge. Reach her at

physed pe physical education core cc seas requirements
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