Columbia University Science Honors Program

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The Columbia University Science Honors Program (SHP), is a highly selective [1]program for tenth-, eleventh-, and twelfth-grade high-school students. Classes are held each Saturday throughout the academic year, from September through May. There are no tuition charges for the program, but students must provide their own transportation expenses, to and from Columbia's campus in New York City. The program receives funding from the university, and donations from corporations and foundations, as well individual donations from students. [2][3] Since 1958, the program has offered [4] courses spanning the full range of the pure and applied sciences, from organic chemistry and physiological psychology, to computer programming in Java and Calculus in the Complex Plane, as well as introductions to particle physics and physical cosmology.[5] The program was directed by educator Donald Barr from its inception until 1964, and during that period admitted students as young as ten years old. It boasts many famous alumni, including the creator of GNU, Richard Stallman. The program was run by Professor Allan Blaer for many years, and has recently been taken over by Professor Jeremy Dodd.

To apply to Columbia SHP, students must go online to the Columbia SHP website; however, this was not the procedure in 1958 when the program started. The main portion of the application process is a rigorous, three-hour examination proctored in the Columbia University campus that contains questions in both mathematics and science. The exam is tripartite, consisting of a 50 question "easy" mathematics section, a 75 question survey science section, and a 15 question "challenge" mathematics section. The average acceptance rate for the program is usually around 15%.[citation needed] As of 2014, 380 new students have been accepted for the year, out of more than 1800 applicants.[6]

Applications are mailed to schools within a 75-mile radius of Columbia's New York City campus, and there are several more requirements beside the test: A transcript of the student's grades, a recommendation by a science or math teacher, and a student essay are also required.


  1. ^ "General Information". Columbia University Science Honors Program. Columbia University. Retrieved 11/01/2014.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ "Columbia University Science Honors: Homepage". Columbia University Science Honors Program. Columbia University. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "General Information". Columbia University Science Honors Program. Columbia University. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Columbia Press Release". 
  5. ^ "SCIENCE HONORS PROGRAM COURSE DESCRIPTIONS FALL, 2011". Retrieved 2011-12-11. 
  6. ^ "Science Opportunities for Students". Retrieved 2011-12-11. 

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