State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Future Sustainability Managers Arrive to Campus


The M.S. in Sustainability Management is welcoming its new class of aspiring sustainability practitioners to campus this week. The class of some 80 students is entering a program that combines the excellence of Columbia University with the most innovative practice of sustainability. The program’s faculty include both Columbia Earth Institute scholars and scientists, as well as leading practitioners who are working in the New York metropolitan region.


The students—a mix of early- and mid-career professionals, who will be studying either on a part- or full-time basis—were introduced to more than two dozen faculty at a special orientation event last week. These faculty members included Professor Steven A. Cohen, the program’s director and the executive director of the Columbia Earth Institute, who is the most senior faculty member, as well Carter Strickland, a vice president of HDR and a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, who just joined the faculty.

Strickland is teaching a new course, Environmental Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities, which will focus on the development of and funding strategies for infrastructure projects that have environmental benefits. Another new course this semester The Business and Ecology of Sustainable Forestry, which is taught by Professor Ralph Schmidt, a forest manager, with long international experience in sustainable forestry. The course will help students understand the importance of forests in sustainability and the way that sustainable forest management can slow deforestation and reduce the impacts of climate change. The new courses bring the total number of courses in the program to 60—a five-fold increase in courses since the program’s inception in 2010.


At its core, the program teaches students how to transform the way that organizations do business. By studying general and financial management, sustainability, public policy, and economic and quantitative analysis, students learn how to integrate environmental concerns in organizations. In just six years, the program has graduated more than 500 alumni, who are establishing the new field of sustainability management.

The program is accepting applications from talented and dedicated prospective students, who want to enroll in January 2017. The application deadline is Nov. 1, 2016.




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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