ADMISSION FAQS

 

What is the application deadline?
Early applications are encouraged. The deadline to apply for Spring enrollment is November 1. The deadline to apply for Fall enrollment is May 15. Applications to the program are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants are notified of admissions decisions within 4 - 6 weeks of receiving their completed applications.

How long is the program?
Full-time students complete the program in three semesters. Part-time students can complete the program in as many as nine semesters. Students can enroll in classes in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

 

How do I choose between the M.S. in Sustainability Science and the M.S. in Sustainability Management?

The M.S. in Sustainability Management prepares students for management careers that are based on strategic, financial, and policy analyses. The curriculum emphasizes general and financial management, economics, quantitative analysis, policy, which students learn in understanding and managing the physical dimensions of sustainability (e.g. energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental infrastructure. Some typical job titles of Sustainability Management graduates may include: Global Director of Product Sustainability; Director of Facilities and Sustainability; Senior Manager, Sustainability & Legal Compliance; Manager, Environment, Policy & Social Initiatives; Energy & Sustainability Project Manager.

The M.S. in Sustainability Science is best suited for prospective students with undergraduate degrees in engineering, math, science, and related fields, who want to pursue technical sustainability careers. These careers focus on the analysis of environmental risks and impacts, the prevention of pollution, and remediation. Sustainability Science graduates could attain management positions in which they oversee science and other technical staff. Some typical job titles of Sustainability Science graduates may include: Director, Division of Environmental Science and Assessment; Environmental Program Manager of Environmental Technologies; Supervisor, Environmental Monitoring; Environmental Engineer; and Environmental Compliance Specialist.​


The graduates of both programs could end up working side by side, but on different aspects of integrating environmental concerns in the operations of organizations.

How do I apply?

For complete details on how to complete and application to the program, please visit the How to Apply section of our website. If you have begun a program application, but have any questions about using the online application system, submitting application components, or checking to see if a component of your application has been received, please contact the School of Professional Studies Office of Admissions at apply@sps.columbia.edu.

What are the prerequisites for admission?

An undergraduate degree is the only formal prerequisite for admission to the program. There are several criteria, none of which in isolation plays a decisive role in granting or denying admission to an applicant. These criteria include grade point average, coursework in math and science, work experience, familiarity with sustainability, clarity of professional goals, especially as they relate to the program, and recommendation letters.

Do I have to take the GRE?
Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test are not required.

Does the M.S. degree lead to a Ph.D.?
The M.S. in Sustainability Science is designed as a terminal, pre-professional degree. The program is designed for students seeking to further their careers as sustainability professionals or transition into a sustainability field. The program is not designed to prepare students to enroll in a Ph.D. in a related field.

Common Application Errors

  • In the Academic History section of your online application, you must list all institutions attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received including: individual courses for academic credit, certifications, certificates, transfer coursework, study abroad, second bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees.

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  • Letters of recommendation should be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied. If you own your own business and are your own supervisor, you may select a client as your recommender. Personal references are not appropriate.

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  • In order for your admissions decision to be released, you must provide consent to participate in our verification process. This consent is granted via a form that will appear within the application system upon your application’s submission. You must upload the PDF of the signed consent form within the application portal.

If you have any questions about our admissions requirements or application process, please contact our admissions specialist at apply@sps.columbia.edu.