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Our unique one-year program prepares students to tackle the most pressing issues facing the planet.

In This Masters Program You Will…

  • Train for leadership roles in science, management, and policy analysis.

  • Turn your passion for environmental protection into real, tangible change.

  • Learn how to manage organizational change and innovation.

  • Focus on the vital role of public and environmental ethics.

  • Connect policy intent, program design, organizational capacity, and political feasibility.

  • Understand the relationship of sustainability programs to organizational management and finance.

  • Design sustainability studies that are methodologically rigorous and defensible within the constraints of available resources.

  • Learn how to optimize group work and deal with group conflict.

  • Practice professional communication, encompassing written and spoken, online and offline, including mass and social media.

  • Learn how to manage the work of scientists and explain science to non-scientists.

Program Features Include…

  • A visionary curriculum that emphasizes applied environmental science and sustainability, general and financial management, economics and quantitative analysis, and policy and decision making so that students can thrive in the job market.


  • A world class faculty that comprises Columbia Climate School's Earth Institute scientists, experts in the School of International and Public Affairs, and leading sustainability practitioners.


  • Oversight and participation from the Columbia Climate School's Earth Institute, which includes the internationally renowned Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.


  • Stewardship from Columbia’s highly ranked School of International and Public Affairs.


  • Columbia’s location in New York City, a hub for sustainability policy innovation, which facilitates alumni networking and opportunities for employment.


  • Graduates who stand apart in the field for their science-based policy and management decisions.



Graduate Employment

Program graduates are employed relatively equally in business, government, and nonprofit organizations in the United States and around the world. Employers value their management and analytical skills, as well as their knowledge of basic applied environmental science. Recent alumni employers include Apple, the City of New York, Consolidated Edison, JP Morgan Chase, the Sierra Club, and the US Department of State.

A Unique One-Year, Full-Time Cohort Format

The program begins in late May and concludes in May of the following year, saving students money and time compared to two-year public policy programs. Students pay tuition for three semesters (summer, fall, and spring), instead of four. Graduates can re-enter the workforce more quickly.

The one-year format makes for an intensive and rewarding learning experience. During the year, students study and learn as a cohort and form strong bonds that serve them throughout their careers.

Who Should Apply

Individuals with a desire to gain the knowledge and practical skills to turn their passion for the environment into real change. Students with both science and non-science training can excel in the program. The program attracts students with diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, varying levels of professional experience, and a range of professional interests.

A recent cohort of students had the following attributes:

  • Almost all received fellowships. The average award was nearly $16,000.

  • The average age was 25. One-fifth of the cohort was over 29.

  • The female to male ratio was 55% to 45%.

  • Undergraduate majors ranged from Architecture to Zoology.

  • Students came from 13 countries on five continents.


Calendar for the 2023-24 Academic Year

Click here to see Columbia University’s full academic calendar, as well as SIPA’s academic calendar here.

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