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The Certification of Professional Achievement (CPA) in Sustainable Finance prepares students to meet the growing demand for professionals who understand and can integrate the fundamentals of both corporate sustainability and financial analysis. Courses cover the unique risks and opportunities revealed by the integration of environmental, social, and governance factors in capital markets, innovative financing methods to fund the transition to a global low-carbon economy, sustainable project and infrastructure finance, responsible and impact investing, green and carbon accounting, and environmental markets.

"The move to a low-carbon economy challenges conventional investment wisdom, compelling investors to refine and redefine their investment strategies. Sustainable Finance is a hands-on program that offers next-generation solutions to today's most pressing challenges. It equips students to demonstrate how investments in sustainability-driven businesses lead to improved financial performance and create a resilient long-term investment portfolio."

- Dazzle Bhujwala, MS in Sustainability Management, 2018


Students learn traditional financial and accounting tools supplemented with sustainability-specific methods and topics. The CPA equips graduates with the practical information and tools they need to understand the impact of environmental sustainability in corporate financial management and financial markets and enables them to prepare for and manage the consequences of both.

The CPA comprises courses that cover concepts at the intersection of sustainability and financial management, such as sustainability economics, investment, accounting, risk management, and communication. Students will gain a foundation in the core concepts of corporate finance and an understanding of the sustainability drivers in finance. Students will also learn to analyze the non-financial metrics of businesses.

Courses completed in the CPA can be credited towards the Master of Science (MS) in Sustainability Management if a student decides to transfer from the CPA to the MS program. It is important to note that each course can only be counted once towards either the CPA or MS. Alternatively, students may choose to pursue the CPA in Sustainable Finance as an independent, stand-alone program without transitioning to the MS program.


Course instructors include expert faculty and practitioners who are leaders in sustainable finance, economics, accounting, corporate sustainability, environmental markets, and risk management.



The CPA in Sustainable Finance is geared toward professionals interested in sustainability and finance. The certification is well-suited to practitioners in one or both of these areas who desire formal training in sustainable finance, as well as professionals who aspire to enter this field. The CPA is applicable to industries such as energy, financial services, real estate development, technology, transportation, and utilities.



The CPA can be completed through part-time or full-time enrollment, online or in person. Courses are offered in the evening on the Columbia University campus to accommodate the schedules of students working full-time. Students enrolled on a part-time basis can complete the requirements in as many as four semesters. Students enrolled on a full-time basis can complete the requirements in one semester. The CPA requires the successful completion of four courses, or 12 points, from the following course offerings.

SUMA PS4190 Economics of Sustainability Management

SUMA PS5020 Cost Benefit Analysis

SUMA PS5033 Decision Models & Management

SUMA PS5035 GHG Emissions: Measuring and Minimizing the Carbon Footprint

SUMA PS5142 Sustainable Finance

SUMA PS5150 Energy and Sustainable Development

SUMA PS5155 Energy Markets and Innovation

SUMA PS5160 Climate Finance and Sustainable Development

SUMA PS5169 Sustainability Metrics

SUMA PS5195 Accounting, Finance, and Modeling of Sustainable Investments

SUMA PS5197 Financing the Clean Energy Economy

SUMA PS5220 Sustainable Entrepreneurship

SUMA PS5240 Sustainable Agriculture

SUMA PS5320 Sustainable Investing and Economic Growth

SUMA PS5650 Solar Project Development

SUMA PS5700 Ethics for Sustainability Management and Finance

SUMA PS5770 Sustainable Management of Forests

SUMA PS6132 Climate Risk and Scenario Analysis


The students who enroll in the Sustainable Finance Certification are members of the Earth Institute, the School of Professional Studies, and the greater Columbia University community. The Earth Institute reaches across the University to draw and integrate expertise from numerous academic disciplines, in order to propose solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. The Earth Institute comprises two dozen research centers, and it is affiliated with more than 30 academic programs. Students who pursue the Certification have access to the Institute’s leading experts in the field of sustainability, as well as the rest of the University’s world renowned faculty. The students study alongside a new generation of problem solvers who are enrolled in the Earth Institute’s academic programs. All students have access to the Earth Institute’s Professional Development program and the hundreds of extracurricular activities that the Institute organizes each year.


Application Type: Master's Affiliated CPA Program

Admission to the program is highly selective. Prospective students interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to meet with the director, the associate director, and the faculty.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2025

Enrollment: November 1, 2024

Need help applying? Click here.

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