State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

MPA in Environmental Science and Policy Welcomes the Class of 2014

Members of the MPA-ESP Class of 2014 getting acquainted.
Members of the MPA-ESP Class of 2014 getting acquainted.

On Tuesday, May 28, the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA-ESP) program hosted an orientation day to welcome its twelfth cohort of students. 67 students representing a diverse array of academic and professional backgrounds attended the event, which delved into the program’s curriculum and purpose and provided some icebreakers for the cohort to become better acquainted. The orientation also hosted presentations from various offices throughout the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) including Financial Aid, Health Services, and Career Services. Overall, the event was well received by the new students who were just as excited to learn about each other as they were to begin their studies. The 67 new students join us from 9 different countries and hold undergraduate degrees from 59 different institutions.

“I’m really excited to address some incredibly important global concepts with a cohort of students from a huge range of academic and professional backgrounds,” said Kaysee Tom, one of the new students. “So far, meeting my classmates has been an eye-opening experience about the broad range of disciplines that can come together with the common goal of protecting and preserving the environment. I’m excited to get some hands-on experience interacting with environmental policy and learning how my peers and I can tackle some very relevant global environmental problems in the future.”

Steve Cohen, the Program Director, discussed the degree’s intended vision, purpose and curriculum, followed by an introduction of the program’s faculty. The program’s Assistant Director, Sarah Tweedie, held an open discussion between program alumni and the incoming students. Ten of the program’s 619 graduates joined for two different alumni panels focusing on topics ranging from campus life to their professional endeavors after the program.

Members of the SIPA staff stopped in to the MPA-ESP orientation to discuss the school’s resources with the new class.
Members of the SIPA staff stopped in to discuss the school’s resources with the new MPA-ESP class.

“As an attorney looking to specialize in energy, renewables, and sustainability I was looking for a vibrant and dynamic program that combined the law, economics, and science in a multidisciplinary but cohesive way,” said Monica Pham, a member of the Class of 2013 who sat on an alumni panel. “I am thrilled to see members of each of the aforementioned industries represented in the current ESP class. We have people from finance, government, science and will be able to create policy and communicate to stakeholders in the years to come.”

After the presentations, a reception was held for the students were able to mingle with other members of the cohort, ESP alumni, and the program’s faculty and staff.

Students in the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA-ESP) program enroll in a year-long, 54-credit program offered at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, in partnership with the Earth Institute. Throughout this one-year program, students are immersed in courses that combine Columbia University’s hands-on approach to teaching public policy and administration with pioneering thinking about the environment. During the summer semester, students learn the fundamentals of environmental science, while in the fall and spring semesters, they focus on the policy and economics necessary to becoming successful environmental analysts and managers. Visit our website to learn more about the program.


Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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