#ask a chemist
Q: I am thinking about college and chemistry interests me: why should I choose Barnard?
First-Years and Sophomores
Q: I want to study chemistry at Barnard: which course should I take first?
Q: I am a premedical (or predental) student. What chemistry courses should I take?
Q: Can I place out of BC2001x with AP or IB?
Everyone: General and Procedural Questions
Everyone: Student Research
Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors
Q: What about doing a double major?
Q: What Physics is required for the major?
Q: What Calculus is required?
Q: Who is invited to participate in the Senior Thesis Program?
I am thinking about college and chemistry interests me: why should I choose Barnard?
Barnard is a small undergraduate liberal arts college for women in New York City. Small liberal arts colleges are usually places where the faculty is deeply dedicated to teaching. Barnard science faculty are available to students not just in the classroom, but in formal and informal office hours, in labs, and as academic advisors. Barnard faculty are committed to the success of all their students, and if you are willing to make the effort, we are willing to be there working with you throughout your college career.
Many undergraduate liberal arts colleges also have an excellent record in doing first-rate scientific research and preparing students for success in science and medicine. Barnard chemistry faculty have active research programs, often supported with funding from external public and private agencies like the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, or the Petroleum Research Fund. At universities, professors generally carry out their research with a large group, including postdoctoral students, graduate students, and undergraduates. At Barnard, undergraduates are the primary co-workers of the faculty. Thus if you do research chemistry here, you will have a lot of individual attention. Moreover our research instruments are here for your use. (At larger institutions, you might have a lower priority to use a state-of-the-art NMR, for example.)
Our New York location and our relationship with Columbia mean that there are also opportunities to work in a larger scale science environment, if you wish. Barnard chemistry and biochemistry majors frequently choose to do their senior theses in research groups in the Columbia Chemistry or Biology departments, at the Columbia University Medical Center, and at other nearby institutions.
First-Years and Sophomores
I want to study chemistry at Barnard: which course should I take first?
If you might be a chemistry or biochemistry major, we strongly urge you to take chemistry your first year. Even if you will major in Biology, starting with chemistry can make good sense.
Most students begin their study of college chemistry with BC2001x. This one-semester General Chemistry course includes both lectures and laboratory. It is designed for students with some familiarity with chemistry from high school and a good foundation in mathematics (algebra).
Students with no previous chemistry background or with weaker mathematics may choose to take BC1002y in the spring of their first year, following it with BC2001x the following fall.
What about taking General Chemistry at Columbia?
The Barnard and Columbia General Chemistry courses are not interchangeable: the subject matter is covered in different order. The Barnard course is designed to include in the first term those subjects important for understanding organic chemistry. For this reason, if you take General Chemistry I at Columbia (C1403), then you must also take General Chemistry II at Columbia (C1404) along with the General Chemistry Lab (C1500) before taking Organic Chemistry, either at Barnard or Columbia.
Similarly, students who have taken even a single semester of Organic Chemistry, whether at Barnard, Columbia or elsewhere may not take BC1002y or C1404 for credit – these are introductory courses and are not appropriate for an advanced chemistry student.
For more details, see the Information for First Year and Prospective students .
I am a premedical (or predental) student. What chemistry courses should I take?
The appropriate sequence for completing the chemistry pre-health requirement at Barnard College is: