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Though Columbia College, School of General Studies, and Barnard require at least two science courses for graduation, don’t worry if you’re not so scientifically inclined. You don’t have to take General Chemistry or Cell Biology. We’ve consulted Columbia's list of courses designed for nonscience majors, the Columbia Undergrad Listing of Professor Ability (CULPA), and course reviews on Vergil+ to find courses offered in fall 2019 that will allow you to knock out the science requirement without tanking your GPA.

Astronomy

If you’ve always been the starry-eyed type, consider learning more about the vast beyond—sans quantum physics—through some of these astronomy courses.

Earth, Moon and Planets (ASTR UN1403)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS, BC

This course on the overall architecture of the solar system was rated on Vergil+ by 35 out of 40 respondents from the fall 2018 section as either “good,” “very good,” or “excellent.” Though the course does require some math, 25 of the respondents rated it as either having a “lighter workload” or “much lighter workload” than other classes they had taken.

Life in the Universe (ASTR BC1753)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS, BC

Life in the Universe is the Barnard equivalent to Earth, Moon and Planets.

Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (ASTR UN1404)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS, BC

This is a very popular course for fulfilling the science requirement for non-STEM majors. Though Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology does require some math and physics, most students who end up taking it enjoy it: The almost 50 percent of respondents who rated the course as “excellent” on Vergil+ can probably testify.

Computer Science

Introduction to Information Science (COMS W1001)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS

This course includes an introduction to Python, in addition to an overview of concepts in information science such as human-computer interfaces and database concepts. Though there aren’t any course reviews on Vergil+ for this particular class, professor Adam Cannon has a silver nugget on CULPA.

Computing in Context (COMS W1002)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS

This introduction to Python is also taught by Cannon, and it’s an intro-level course for computer science that is very popular.

Environmental/Earth Science

Environmental Risks and Disasters (EESC UN1201)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS, BC

This course focuses on the impact of environmental hazards including natural disasters, toxic substances, and environmental change. 14 of 15 respondents from the fall 2018 section rated the class as either “good,” “very good,” or “excellent,” but generally reviews from Vergil+ and CULPA both agreed that some understanding of statistics was necessary.

Dinosaurs and the History of Life (EESC UN1001)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS, BC

If you’re one of those people who went through a huge dinosaur phase as a kid, then this course, which tackles where dinosaurs come from, why they were so successful, and why they eventually went extinct, is made for you. However, it’s important to consider that this class does have a lab component, which increases the course’s workload and time commitment.

Food Studies

Food, Public Health, and Public Policies (FSPH UN1001)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS

If your passion lies in either sociology, anthropology, or political science, then this course, which explores how our food choices are actually determined by a complex web of socioeconomic and environmental influences, might be the perfect treat for you.

Physics

Physics for Poets (PHYS UN1001)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS

Though physics is normally thought of as a subject for the especially quantitatively-inclined, this physics course, designed for humanities majors, is by general consensus on Vergil+ a great way to fulfill the science requirement. As one respondent put it: “The experiments before most classes are fun to watch. Overall the class is not worried about understanding difficult formulas and concepts, but rather gaining an understanding in several complex topics at a basic level. No previous knowledge of physics is required to succeed in this class, it is made for everyone to succeed.”

Mathematics, Philosophy, and Statistics

Symbolic Logic (PHIL UN3411)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS

This course in formal logic lies at the intersection of mathematics and philosophy. Among the professors teaching in the fall, Tamar Lando has much more positive reviews on Vergil+ than Haim Gaifman.

Introduction to Statistical Reasoning (STAT UN1001)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS

The general consensus on Vergil+ is that this non-calculus based introduction to statistics comes with easy professors and a light workload. As of now, it’s already filled, so you might want to get on those waitlists ASAP.

Psychology

The Science of Psychology (PSYC UN1001)

Counts towards science requirement for: Columbia College, GS, BC

This introductory psychology course includes units on sensation and perception, learning and memory, emotions and motivation, development, and social psychology. It is the prerequisite for all further psychology classes and a perfect course to take if you’re undecided on your major. It’s likely to have a long waitlist though, so you should sign up promptly.

Introduction to Psychology (PSYC BC1001)

Counts towards science requirement for: BC

Introduction to Psychology is the Barnard equivalent of The Science of Psychology.

Staff writer Michelle Zhuang can be contacted at michelle.zhuang@columbiaspectator.com. Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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