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 or by phone at 212-854-9666.

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?
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 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.

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.

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.

Is the application fee refundable?

No, the application fee is non refundable.

What are the next steps after I submit the application and pay the application fee?

1. Video Essay

You will be given a randomly selected prompt for which you will have one minute to prepare and one minute to record a response.  The questions are random and have no right or wrong answers (like ice breaker questions). 

2. Re Vera Authorization and Release Form

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 and Release Form directly into the application portal in order to begin the verification process.

What are the next steps if I am admitted?

If you are admitted into the program, you will be required to submit an electronic, official copy of your OFFICIAL transcript(s) prior to enrolling in the program to A transcript is considered final if it includes all final grades for your coursework at the institution. Institutions where you pursued a degree should include the date of degree conferral.

If your prior institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, you must write to with the link to your prior U.S. institution’s webpage concerning transcript orders to confirm that paper is the only option and obtain permission to submit a paper transcript.

WES report accepted as your official transcript

Once we receive your WES report for international transcripts, we will not need a separate official copy of those transcripts.  

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