Campus Life at CUMC

The Campus
Columbia University was founded in 1754 by King George II as Kings College. In 1767 the College opened the first medical school in the country to grant the M.D. degree. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University is part of the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and is located at the northwestern edge of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. The medical center is located in Washington Heights, one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York City, and home to scenic Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters museum.

The Hammer Health Sciences Center
The Department is housed in the Julius and Armand Hammer Health Sciences Center (pictured right) on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. Faculty laboratories are equipped with virtually every modern apparatus in molecular and cellular biology. In addition, the Comprehensive Cancer Center maintains a suite of shared facilities, including those for DNA sequencing and oligonucleotide synthesis, flow cytometry (cell sorting), animal care, production of transgenic mice, glasswashing and media preparation, computing, and biostatistics. 

Campus Life
The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) coordinates a wide range of social events, including parties, outings, movies, and career seminars. GSO activities are organized by a committee composed of graduate students. The Vector, a monthly newsletter, and the GSO Guide to Washington Heights are published by this group, whose activities are funded by the Office of Graduate Affairs, which serves as a combined admissions office, financial aid office, and student affairs office.

The Graduate Students' Advisory Committee brings together graduate student representatives from all basic science departments with the Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs. The meetings of this committee provide a mechanism for communication between graduate students and the Dean's office. The GSO maintains an active electronic presence, including a mailing list.


Living In New York City

Being a graduate student in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology means more than becoming a good scientist; it means living in New York City, which offers countless opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

New York is a city of many neighborhoods and cultures waiting to be explored. Some of the neighborhoods are based on ethnicity, like Little Italy and Chinatown, others on professional interests like the artists' communities of the East Village and SoHo, and of course, some on economics, both rich and poor. All these neighborhoods are like little worlds, each offering unique experiences.

In the center of the city, Central Park is a wonderful place to watch Shakespeare's plays for free during the summer, play football in the autumn, or just walk through all year round. At Rockefeller Center you can ice skate beneath the huge Christmas tree during the winter. Throughout New York, you can eat any kind of food at any time of the night or day. The city is always awake and exciting, so whenever you want, you can go to a movie, and even at 2 a.m. the problem may be deciding whether your late night food should be Chinese, Indian, Greek or just a hamburger. Many clubs don't open until 10 p.m., and many restaurants stay open 24 hours a day.

The New York City subway system is famous and infamous. It provides a rapid and inexpensive way to get around the city and its many neighborhoods, and the entire system has been overhauled and renewed. The subway can take you from the medical campus to the Columbia Morningside campus in about 10 minutes, or to the attractions of mid-Manhattan in about 20 minutes.

The University operates a free shuttle bus between the two campuses. At the Morningside campus you will find the seminars and courses, theatre and music that you would expect from an Ivy League college, and athletic facilities, in addition to the newly expanded resources of the medical campus.

Although New York City is a busy metropolitan area, rural activities are readily pursued. A one-hour train ride will bring you to the beaches of Long Island or New Jersey, ski slopes are but two hours away, and the idyllic hills of the New England Berkshires are only slightly farther.

The primary reason for coming to our department is the academic experience, which is supplemented by being in New York. Our location allows us to attract outstanding scholars to visit, give seminars, and meet with our students. There are six major research universities in New York City, resulting in an unprecedented density of scientific activity. While we are proud of what our department can offer you, we recognize that your life will be much fuller if you also take advantage of what New York City has to give.