Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Student Advising

Technical Requirements: Physics

What is required?

At least a one-year sequence of introductory physics. Some majors may require one or more additional courses.

First-year Columbia Engineering students may choose from three physics sequences:

  1. PHYS C1401: Introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics
    PHYS C1402: Introduction to electricity, magnetism, and optics

  2. PHYS C1601: Mechanics and relativity
    PHYS C1602: Thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism

  3. PHYS C2801: Accelerated physics I
    PHYS C2802: Accelerated physics II

All CE students are required to take physics in their first year. Most students take PHYS C1401-C1402, regardless of past preparation. It is possible to place into the Accelerated physics course in one of two ways: (1) by taking a placement test during Orientation; or (2) by having scored a 4 or 5 on both the AP Physics Exam and AP Calculus Exam. All students interested in taking Accelerated physics should attend the information session offered during Orientation.


First year, fall and spring.

Can I test out?

No. However, previous background in physics will help to determine placement level.

Physics Department:

704 Pupin
Departmental Homepage

James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2458

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Walk-in Hours
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.