Go to m.barnard.edu for the Mobile Barnard web app or download it from the App Store or Google Play.


608 Altschul Hall  
212-854-2310 (fax)
Department Administrator: Sarah Meadows (608 Altschul Hall)
Department Administrative Assistant: Molly Gill (504A Altschul Hall)

Chair: Dina Merrer (Associate Professor)
Professor: Christian Rojas
Assistant Professors: Marisa Buzzeo, Andrew Crowther, John Magyar, Mary Sever
Senior Lecturer: Toby Holtz
Directors of General Chemistry Laboratories: Jacob Alexander (Senior Lecturer), Olympia Jebejian (Senior Associate)
Director of Organic Chemistry Laboratories: Meenakshi Rao (Senior Lecturer)
Lecturer: Jean Vadakkan
Associates: Craig Allen, Mandy Bennett, Suzanne Charnick, Grace Lee, Su Qing Liu

The Department of Chemistry

The department aims to provide Barnard College students with a working knowledge of chemistry—the study of matter and its transformations, particularly at the molecular scale—within a vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff.  Students gain familiarity with the core areas of the field; inorganic, physical, organic, analytical, and biological chemistry; while developing broadly applicable skills in problem solving and critical thinking.  Through extensive laboratory work, students apply chemical concepts and theories to the tangible world, and there are ample opportunities for independent research with faculty members. 


The department strives to prepare majors and non-majors alike to meet post-graduation goals, including graduate study in chemistry, employment in chemistry or related technical fields, science teaching, and professional school (particularly in the health-related professions).  The department is an important contributor to Barnard’s effort to produce scientifically literate graduates and to be a source of distinguished women scientists.

Student Learning Objectives for Majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry

Students who graduate from Barnard College with a major in chemistry or biochemistry will be able to attain the following objectives:

  • Demonstrate a thorough grounding in the core areas of chemistry: inorganic, physical, organic, biological, and analytical;
  • Work effectively and safely in the chemistry laboratory, designing and conducting experiments, analyzing experimental results, and drawing conclusions from that data;
  • Access, search, and interpret the chemical literature to obtain and critically evaluate scientific information;
  • Clearly communicate scientific ideas and results both in writing and orally;
  • Conduct themselves professionally and ethically as members of the scientific community;
  • Pursue careers that require a high degree of technical expertise, including those in chemistry, science teaching, and the health professions.

Chemistry is the study of the nature of substances and their transformations. In a three-year sequence of core courses, a chemistry or biochemistry major gains familiarity with the basic areas of the field: inorganic, organic, physical, analytical, and biological chemistry. In addition, she acquires sufficient skill in laboratory work that she is prepared for research.

The laboratories of the department are modern and well-equipped for both coursework and independent projects. Students may undertake research projects under the guidance of members of the department during the academic year or the summer. Opportunities are also available for research with Columbia faculty as well as staff members of the many medical schools and research institutions in New York City.

AP credit: Students with scores of 4 or 5 on the Chemistry Advanced Placement Test receive credit for Fundamentals of Chemistry, BC 1002 (3 points). They may enroll in BC 2001x.  No AP credit is given for lab.   

Pre-medical program: Non-majors wishing to fulfill the minimum two-year chemistry requirements for medical school should take General Chemistry I, CHEM BC 2001x; Organic Chemistry with laboratory, CHEM BC 3328y and 3230y; Organic Chemistry II, CHEM BC 3231x; and Intermediate General Chemistry, CHEM BC 3232y. The laboratory courses CHEM BC 3333x (Modern Techniques of Organic Chemistry) and CHEM BC 3338y (Quantitative and Instrumental Techniques) are recommended.

Introductory course selection: Based on their preparation and background in chemistry, most students begin their study with CHEM BC 2001x (General Chemistry I), an integrated lecture and laboratory course. For a limited number of students with a weaker background in chemistry and mathematical problem-solving skills who want to complete further courses in chemistry, the department offers the preparatory lecture course CHEM BC 1002y (Fundamentals of Chemistry). Consult the department regarding this choice.

Regardless of a student's background in chemistry, first-year students may also take CHEM BC1010s (Pumpkin Pie to CSI: Chemistry in Everyday Life). This 1.0-point seminar is limited to 14 students and is open to first-year students only.