Two terms of physical education (UN1001-UN1002) are a degree requirement for Columbia Engineering students. No more than 4 points of physical education courses may be counted toward the degree. One point of the physical education requirement can be fulfilled with a Barnard physical education course or a Barnard dance studio/technique course. A student who intends to participate in an intercollegiate sport should register for the appropriate section of UN1005: Intercollegiate athletics. Intercollegiate athletes who attend regularly receive 1 point of credit up to the maximum of 4. Students who are advised to follow a restricted or adapted activity program should contact the Director of Physical Education and Recreation. The physical education program offers a variety of activities in the areas of aquatics, fitness, martial arts, individual and dual sports, team sports, and outdoor education. Most activities are designed for the introductory/ beginner levels. Intermediate/advanced courses are indicated on the schedule.

The majority of the activities are offered in ten time preferences. Additionally, there are early-morning conditioning activities, Friday-only classes at Baker Athletics Complex, and special courses that utilize off-campus facilities during weekends and vacation periods. The courses offered by the department for each term are included in the online Directory of Classes, and a description of the scheduled activities for each time preference is posted on the website. Students may only register for one section of physical education each term.