MS in Sustainability Science Admissions

How To Apply


APPLICATION MATERIALS 1. Completed online application form with $95.00 nonrefundable application fee. You must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the sole exception of submissions by the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST, and by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and Vietnam Education Fund (VEF). If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the admissions office at apply@sps.columbia.edu. 2. Transcripts You are required to disclose and provide official academic transcripts for all post-secondary academic study completed and in progress. This includes individual courses for academic credit, certifications, certificates, transfer coursework, study abroad, second bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees. All institutions attended must be listed in the Enrollment History section of the online application. Instructions for Submission of Transcripts When Applying Applicants should upload a transcript (unofficial transcripts are permissible) of any academic work from each university-level institution you have attended for use in review of your application. Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type, will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Standards of Campus Discipline. If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation for admission consideration. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on institutions of higher education,
adjustments to our WES requirements have been made. Applicants who attended
an institution outside of the United States will not be required to submit
official World Education Services (WES) course-by-course evaluations in
order to be evaluated for admission.

Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript from each institution
attended for use in review of your application, as well as any degree
certificates. For Indian universities, this includes all semester mark
sheets. If your university provides transcripts in a language other than
English, both the original language document and English translation are
required. If admitted, you will be required to provide official WES
course-by-course evaluations (international coursework) for all
post-secondary academic coursework and credentials. Applicants for the
Spring 2021 semester must provide official WES course-by-course evaluations
by no later than December 21, 2020. We recommend starting the WES
course-by-course evaluation process as soon as possible so that you are
able to meet this deadline.

Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type will risk
forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever
an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation,
expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Student Conduct and
Community Standards . Applicants
would not be entitled to request any refund of the application fee,
enrollment deposit or tuition in the case that the official transcript
deviates from the unofficial.
Instructions for using WES WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course-levels) and request to have WES send your evaluation to Columbia University School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting School of Professional Studies. The evaluation provided to the School of Professional Studies becomes an official academic record and sole property of the School of Professional Studies upon its receipt. WES evaluations will be reviewed by the School of Professional Studies administrators and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies. Instructions for Submission of Transcripts When Accepting an Offer of Admission All students who have attended a college or university in the United States must submit electronic transcripts directly from their school or via the vendor that provides that service for their institution to apply@sps.columbia.edu. If a school does not offer electronic delivery, you must write to apply@sps.columbia.edu to provide us with the link to your institution's webpage concerning transcript orders. After verification, we will respond with further instructions. If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, and you have completed additional coursework since the initial WES evaluation was provided, you must request an updated report and have WES send your course-by-course evaluation to Columbia University School of Professional Studies. 3. Résumé Your current résumé should include your employment history, academic history, relevant research experience, volunteer history, leadership roles and activities, awards and honors, and any additional activities related to your career and graduate program goals. 4. Statement of Academic Purpose (500 – 750 words) that addresses the following: your purpose and interest in pursuing a degree in sustainability science how the degree program fits into your overall professional growth, focusing in particular on the connection between the program and your academic and/or professional experience 5. Two Letters of Recommendation These letters should be written by current or former supervisors or by faculty members with whom you have studied, that address your suitability for the program and your ability to commit to the rigorous curriculum. We strongly recommend that all applicants submit at least one academic reference. Applicants who have received their bachelor’s degree within the last five years must submit at least one recommendation from a teacher who can comment on your academic aptitude. Applicants must list recommenders and their contact information within the online application. Please provide your recommender’s professional email address and note that your recommender will receive an email requesting the recommendation upon your completion of the recommendation section of the application. Your recommender will be asked to log into the online application system, answer a few questions, and upload a letter of recommendation typed on professional letterhead. Recommendations must be submitted within the online application system. We strongly suggest notifying your recommender of these requirements prior to entering their information into the application system. You have the ability within the application system to re-notify your recommender of the request, and change your recommender if necessary. Apart from the initial notification sent through the application system, applicants are responsible for notifying and reminding the recommender about the request. Recommendations must be submitted through the application system and by the recommender directly. Applicants who have uploaded their own recommendation letters are not admissible. Information to Share with your Recommenders Before adding their information to the application, please contact your recommenders and inform them that they will receive an email from apply@sps.columbia.edu that will provide instructions regarding their letters. They may wish to add apply@sps.columbia.edu to their address book or list of contacts to ensure that the message is routed to their inbox. Ensure your recommender is aware that they will be asked to complete a brief evaluation form within the application system and upload a letter of recommendation on letterhead (whenever possible). Both components are necessary to fulfill the requirement and must be provided within the application system. We will not accept letters sent via email or post mail. Inform your recommender that they should expect to be contacted by a third party verification provider, Re Vera Services, who will reach out to them via email to confirm that they supplied the recommendation. We strongly suggest you give your recommender a timeline for providing the recommendation and that you proactively follow-up with them until the letter is submitted. 6. Demonstration of English Proficiency 7. Video Essay Spring 2020 applicants and beyond will be required to submit a 1-minute video essay. Once the application and fee are submitted, the video essay section will become available. You will be given time to create test videos to ensure that your system is working properly. When you are ready, you will be given a randomly selected prompt for which you will have one minute to prepare and one minute to record a response.​ 8. ReVera Authorization Columbia University uses Re Vera Services to verify your recommendation letters, and we verify your recommendation letters concurrently while your application is being reviewed for admission. You must submit your ReVera Authorization Release Form directly into the application portal in order to begin the verification process.




Application Timeline


APPLICATION DEADLINES Spring 2021 November 1, 2020 Fall 2021 May 15, 2021 SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION Applicants are encouraged to submit all supporting application materials through the online application system. Unofficial documents will be used for admission consideration. Applications are not considered complete until all required materials listed in the Application Materials section above have been received. Only complete applications will be reviewed. Applicants who are admitted to the program must submit all official documents to the Office of Admissions before the offer is considered official. All submitted materials should clearly bear the applicant’s name and the name of the program to which he or she is applying. ​​ Mailing Address and Contact Information Office of Admissions School of Professional Studies 203 Lewisohn Hall 2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119 New York , NY 10027-6902 212-854-9666 apply@sps.columbia.edu Office hours Monday-Thursday 9:00 AM-6:00 PM Friday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM In-person Walk-In Hours in 203 Lewisohn are suspended until further notice. Effective immediately, the Office of Admissions is launching Virtual Walk-In Hours for prospective students from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET (15-minute sessions), Monday through Thursday. To connect with an Admissions Counselor for Virtual Walk-In Hours, please visit this Zoom room. You can access the Zoom room through a phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. Important Application Instructions You must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the sole exception of submissions by the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST, and by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and Vietnam Education Fund (VEF). If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the admissions office at apply@sps.columbia.edu. Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist admissions staff and faculty involved in admission reviews in the verification of all documents and statements made in documents submitted by students as part of the application review process. Please note that the applicant may upload unofficial transcripts at the start of the application process. Once an applicant has been admitted and has indicated acceptance of our offer of admission, official transcripts must be submitted electronically directly from the applicant’s prior institutions. Please note that incoming students for the Fall 2019 semester will be contacted no later than June of 2019 with specific instructions on electronic submission from the other institutions, with a deadline of August 15, 2019, for receipt of these documents.




Tuition & Financing


Tuition For Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021, tuition is $2,266 per point (credit). Tuition is calculated based on the total number of points registered for in a given semester. Full-time students are registered for 12 or more points in a given semester. The tuition rate for Summer 2020 is $2,266 per point (credit). Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change. Fees This listing is intended to summarize possible charges that could be incurred against a student’s account. Certain charges depend upon specific circumstances, as noted. Fees that are not billed to the student account, such as course fees or placement test fees, may be required but are not listed here. Student Activities Fee $270.00 per term (Fall 2020 only) $300.00 per term University Services and Support Fee* Full-time students (Fall & Spring) $261.00 per term (Fall 2020 only) $531.00 per term (Spring 2021 only) $575.00 per term Full-time students (Summer) $479.00 flat rate (Summer 2019) $275.00 flat rate (Summer 2020 only) Part-time students (Fall & Spring) $132.00 per term (Fall 2020 only) $402.00 per term (Spring 2021 only) $446.00 per term Part-time students (Summer) $240.00 flat rate (Summer 2019) For the Summer 2020 term only, the fee is waived for part-time students. Transcript Fee $105.00 one-time fee for all new students Late Registration Fees $50.00 during late registration period $100.00 after late registration period International Services Charge Required of all international students. $110.00 per term Withdrawal Fee Required of any student who drops all courses for which he or she has registered. $75.00 per term Health Service Fee** $610.00 per term (Fall & Spring) $300.00 (Summer 2020, applies to new summer students only, not spring continuing students) Technology Fee $35.00 per term Expanded CUIT Account Fee (optional) Entitles students to extended CUIT computer lab privileges. $35.00 per term Student Medical Insurance All full-time students must provide proof of insurance or enroll in one of the University plans. This fee is optional for part-time students. See www.health.columbia.edu for details and rates. Tuition and fees are subject to the Columbia University Board of Trustees approval and may change. * University Services and Support Fee – Students are required to pay a University Facilities Fee depending on their registration. Full-time students are those registered for 12 or more points over a 16-week term. This fee is subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change. ** Health Service Fee – Required of all full-time students; optional for part-time students. Includes clinical services provided on campus as well as integrated off-campus services. See www.health.columbia.edu for details. Deposit Requirement In order to secure a place in the program, admitted students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $2,000 to the university by the deadline stated in the acceptance letter. The deposit is credited toward the student’s tuition upon matriculation and is nonrefundable. Under no circumstances can the acceptance deposit be waived. Students who fail to remit their deposit by the deadline forfeit their place in the entering class. Students who make deposits but do not enroll on the agreed date lose their deposits. FINANCIAL RESOURCES Financial Resources available to students include the following: Columbia University Student Financial Services School of Professional Studies Financial Resources Earth Institute External Funding Opportunities Course Grading Assistantships Each semester, the program offers 10 course grading assistantships to highly achieving students on a competitive basis. Students who are awarded these positions assist instructors with the grading of assignments and other administrative duties associated with courses in the program. Assistantships pay students $5,500 per semester. Students will also be eligible to apply for the dozens of curriculum and grading assistantships offered by other Earth Institute-affiliated graduate and undergraduate programs. Earth Institute Internships The Earth Institute offers more than 20 internships to students every academic year. These positions are available throughout the Earth Institute’s research centers, administrative units, and academic programs. Interns are paid an hourly rate of $15, and they may work up to 20 hours per week in the fall and spring semesters, and up to 35 hours per week in the summer. Hiring for internships takes place on a competitive basis. School of Professional Studies Financial Resources The School works to ensure that the cost of continuing education and professional studies do not stand in the way of students’ goals. Most students at the School use a combination of savings, scholarships, loans, outside grants, sponsors, or employer tuition benefits to cover the cost of attendance. Visit the School’s financial resources website for more information.




International Students


APPLICATION PROCESS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS The program welcomes international applicants. Please refer to the important information below regarding transcripts, English language proficiency, visas, and work-eligibility. If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation for admission consideration. Instructions for using WES WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course-levels) and request to have WES send your evaluation to Columbia University School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting School of Professional Studies. The evaluation provided to the School of Professional Studies becomes an official academic record and sole property of the School of Professional Studies upon its receipt. WES evaluations will be reviewed by the School of Professional Studies administrators and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies. English Language Proficiency To be considered for admission, students must be comfortable with rapid and idiomatic spoken English. If the language of instruction of your undergraduate degree conferring institution was English and you completed two of more years at the institution, you need not take further steps to prove fluency. However, if your undergraduate education was not conducted in English, or you completed fewer than two years at your degree conferring institution where English was the language of instruction, you must provide official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS. Applicants who are required to provide test scores must submit a current TOEFL iBT or IELTS score report and have a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL iBT or receive a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS. If you have TOEFL paper scores, please contact apply@sps.columbia.edu to discuss their use. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program. Unofficial scores should be included as part of your application; however, official test scores will be required for your application to be considered complete and ready for admission review. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years after your test date. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.) Visa Requirements International students must fulfill visa requirements. Since the Sustainability Science program offers a full-time study option, international students enrolled in a full-time course load—registered for at least 12 points of credit-bearing courses a term—are eligible for a student visa. Eligible international students who wish to apply for a student visa should do so immediately after they have received their letter of admission to Columbia University. This should be done by completing the Application for Visa Certificate (AVC). Applicants should be aware that after admission into a program it may take up to four weeks to receive the documents needed from Columbia to obtain a student visa, so please plan accordingly. International students who require a student visa to study at Columbia are required to pay an International Services fee. You can find the online application for visa certificate by clicking here: http://isso.columbia.edu/. While you are not permitted to submit the application until you have gained admission, we strongly encourage you to read the instructional information provided. For questions about individual cases, please contact:
International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)
212-854-3587
isso@columbia.edu Begin the Visa Process (Admitted Students Only) Complete and submit the application for the form I-20 to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). Please note that this is only required of international students requiring a student (F-1) visa. If you are not a United States citizen or permanent resident, you must be a full-time student at Columbia in order to be eligible for a student (F-1) visa. If you have questions about the visa application process you can email the ISSO at newintlstudent@columbia.edu. Fee payment must accompany the online application. New Student Webinar Series (Admitted Students Only)
The School of Professional Studies produces a webinar series to address many of the questions you may have, and we invite you to view the webinars below, to learn about important topics. Welcome Webinar for International Students
Download the presentation slides (PDF, 2.9 MB) Tips on Apartment Hunting
Download the presentation slides (PDF, 6 MB) WORK ELIGIBILITY On-Campus Work Eligibility Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa are allowed to be paid for work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year when classes are in session, and unlimited hours during any recess periods, such as winter break or summer vacation. On-campus employment is work done for and paid by Columbia University. This also includes work for a commercial firm on the campus if it provides direct services to all Columbia students. Off-Campus Work Eligibility Curricular Practical Training is authorization for off-campus employment that is an integral part of the established curriculum of your degree program. The M.S. in Sustainability Management program does not require the completion of an internship as part of the program’s curriculum, but approved students are eligible to undertake a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) internship. Eligibility to Work Upon Graduation M.S. in Sustainability Management graduates who hold an F-1 student visa may gain experience in their field of study by applying for off-campus work authorization in United States for a period of up to three years, as part of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. M.S. in Sustainability Management graduates are able to request “STEM OPT extension,” or Optional Practical Training extension for an additional 24 months. Please contact the Columbia International Student and Scholars Office for more information about eligibility requirements and how to apply.




Admission FAQs


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 or by phone at 212-854-9666. 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 but may be submitted in support of your application. GRE school report code: 3602. Do I have to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)?
Applicants whose native language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by submitting official scores from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The requirement is only waived if: The applicant has completed all coursework for and earned their undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in a country where English is the sole official language. Please note that graduate level work does not exempt applicants from meeting this requirement.
The applicant has completed at least two years at an undergraduate US institution or at an institution in a country where the sole official language is English and earned the undergraduate (or bachelor’s) degree at that institution. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit unofficial documents through the online application system at the time of application. Candidates offered admission will later be required to supply official scores sent directly from either TOEFL or IELTS prior to enrollment for verification before the admission offer is considered official. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.) Applicants taking the TOEFL must have a score of at least 100 on the Internet-based version (600 paper based). Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of 7.5 or higher. Applicants receiving scores below the posted minimums may be advised to apply directly to the American Language Program. How do I submit my transcripts? You are required to disclose and provide official academic transcripts for all post-secondary academic study completed and in progress. This includes individual courses for academic credit, certifications, certificates, transfer coursework, study abroad, second bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees. All institutions attended must be listed in the Enrollment History section of the online application. Instructions for Submission of Transcripts When Applying Applicants should upload a transcript (unofficial transcripts are permissible) of any academic work from each university-level institution you have attended for use in review of your application. Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type, will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment. Forfeiture may occur whenever an integrity lapse is discovered, and may include admissions revocation, expulsion, or another sanction outlined within the Standards of Campus Discipline. If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the United States, the Office of Admissions also requires you to submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services, Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation for admission consideration. ​​ Instructions for using WES WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course-levels) and request to have WES send your evaluation to Columbia University School of Professional Studies. The school can be found by searching Columbia University and then selecting School of Professional Studies. The evaluation provided to the School of Professional Studies becomes an official academic record and sole property of the School of Professional Studies upon its receipt. WES evaluations will be reviewed by the School of Professional Studies administrators and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of the School of Professional Studies. Does the M.S. degree lead to a Ph.D.?
The M.S. in Sustainability Management 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. · 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. · 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.