First Years & Sophomores

As a Columbia Engineering first year and sophomore student, you’ll be part of an academic experience that engages you in engineering, applied science, and humanities courses, as well as hands-on projects, and faculty-mentored research. Along the way, you’ll develop teamwork, leadership, and communication skills, enhance your problem-solving capabilities, and begin to nurture your inner entrepreneur.

In the Lab

What's the undergraduate experience really like? Professor Helen Lu explains.

The Classes You'll Take

Your first year and sophomore classes are the gateway to your mastery of engineering. In your first year, you will be exposed to the depth and breadth of the various fields to prepare you to choose your concentration in your sophomore year.

The Columbia Core

Columbia’s Core Curriculum is designed to be academically rigorous and personally transformative, providing all undergraduates with a foundation in humanities, engineering, science, and math. Small seminars help enhance your ability to think critically and learn. Find out more about the Columbia Core.

Technical and Nontechnical Courses

The technical and nontechnical courses you will take in your first year and sophomore year are a sequence of study designed to help you engage effectively with engineering and scientific fundamentals. Learn more about the list of technical, non-technical, and elective courses you can expect to take.

Professional-Level Courses

First- and second-year students may take one of a selection of professional-level courses. The courses, which have minimal prerequisites, are designed to introduce students to an area of study in addition to teaching the subject matter.

Once you declare your major, you will be assigned a faculty advisor who, along with your Advising Dean, will help you select the courses that you need to meet your degree requirements, guide you in research and internship opportunities, and mentor you in career and post-graduation planning.

Advanced Placement

You can apply up to 16 points of Advanced Placement credit prior to starting your classes at Columbia Engineering. Learn more about Advanced Placement status. International students can also apply International Baccalaureate credit.

The Art of Engineering

Art of Engineering: Freshman Introduction

Explore Research Opportunities

Our academic environment is hardwired for you to be involved with collaborative research projects as soon as you set foot on campus. 

As soon as you set foot on campus, you can participate in collaborative research projects. Learn about the many research opportunities available for Columbia Engineering first-year and sophomore students.

Meet Your Advisor

Your academic success is important to us. That’s why you’ll be introduced to your academic advisor – or Advising Dean –  before you get to campus. Your academic advisor is here to provide guidance, advice, and encouragement, and help you with important steps like selecting classes and applying for internships. Learn more about the advising partnership.

Study Abroad

Study or work abroad is an excellent way to enhance your education, develop new cultural perspectives, and refine your interpersonal skills. We’ll guide you through the process of finding and applying for a study abroad opportunity in more than 100 cities. Learn about study abroad experiences for Columbia Engineering students.

Find an Internship

Gain work or research experience while you enhance your network. National and international internships are available for undergraduates, and the Center for Career Education facilitates  introductions to alumni and employers who can connect you to the right internship experience.