Columbia University Physical Education & Recreation
Required Physical Education
Courtesy: Dodge Fitness Center
          Release: 11/30/2011
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The Required Program services the Columbia College and Engineering students at Columbia University. These students have a two-semester Physical Education graduation requirement and may elect to take one or two additional terms of Physical Education for academic credit.One point of the Physical Education requirement may be a Barnard Physical Education course or a Barnard Dance technique course. No  more than four points of physical education courses may be counted toward the degree.

If space is available, undergraduate General Studies students are permitted to take courses in the Required Program. Members not required to fulfill physical education credits are encouraged to take recreational courses offered in the Group Fitness Program.

Students who request to have their physical education activities limited or waived because of a medical condition should contact Professor Lade, Chair of Physical Education. In some situations, students may require an evaluation by a clinician at health Services at Columbia in order to receive a waiver. In consultation with Professor Lade, students may be instructed to contact Dr. Samuel Seward, medical director of Health Services at Columbia, who facilitates these evaluations.

All students are required to pass a swimming test or submit a waiver from the University Health Service. The swimming tests are administered in the Uris Pool the first day of classes and are also offered on the following days throughout the semester: Wednesdays 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fridays from Noon - 2 p.m., Sundays from 3-4 p.m.

A schedule of additional times to take the test will be posted on this website.

Those who do not pass are encouraged to take a beginner swimming course at the first opportunity. The test consists of swimming three laps of the pool (75 yards) without resting, using any stroke or combination of strokes. If a student takes beginner swimming for one term and is still not able to pass the swimming test, the requirement is waived.

The grading in all physical education courses is Pass/Fail. Students who fulfill the attendance and participation requirement receive an Administrative Referral (AR). Those who miss more than the permissible number of classes and who do not drop the course by the official drop deadline (date to be announced) receive an unofficial withdrawal (UW). Students who anticipate attendance problems should contact their instructors or department representative.

The Required Program offers a variety of activities in the areas of aquatics, dance, fitness, martial arts, individual and dual “lifetime” sports, team sports, and outdoor education. It is our goal that the experiences provided by these activities will contribute to the development of an active, healthy lifestyle.

The majority of the activities are offered in ten time preferences. However, there are early morning conditioning activities, Friday-only classes at Baker Field, and special courses that utilize off-campus facilities during weekends and vacation periods. A Directory of Classes and the Course Descriptions for the each semester are available at Students may register for only one section of physical education each term.


Students who have completed their Physical Education requirements will recieve Columbia PE shirt celebrating the requirement completion (See the shirt in the PDF under Related Links at top of page)

To receive the shirt, students need to come by the PE office between 9am and 5 pm and show a copy of their DARS indicating their completion of the PHED requirement.

For 2016:

CC students must have passed both PE classes and swim test  by May 2nd  to receive a shirt

SEAS students must have passed both PE classes by May 2nd  .

2017 and Beyond:

Students will need to complete their  requirements prior to their last semester, to be eligible to get a shirt.



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