State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Learn About Environmental Sustainability and Conservation

EICES caterpillarAs our society becomes more aware of the environmental issues we face, we realize how our actions and choices may impact the environment. To ensure individuals make well-informed decisions with respect to the environment in their professional, personal and community lives, it is important that everyone have a foundational understanding of these issues.

The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability offers an Executive Education Program in Environmental Sustainability and Conservation that is geared toward professionals seeking an understanding of our natural world and our changing environment.

The program is structured to fit a busy schedule. Evening classes meet once a week for five weeks and are held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Columbia University or online. Students may take individual courses or pursue the full 12-course certificate, which can be completed in as little as nine months.

Classes are taught by Columbia University professors, Earth Institute researchers, and experienced sustainability professionals and researchers, including professors and researchers from the Consortium for Environmental Research and Conservation as well as adjunct faculty and practitioners from both the public and private sectors. Students pursuing certification of their studies take five required classes in ecology, biodiversity and conservation, evolution, environmental policy and environmental economics. Students choose their own electives or they may focus on the sustainable food systems track.

The Executive Education Distance Learning Program offers courses through our virtual classroom, where you listen to lectures, take part in discussions, and view presentations in real time or as recordings. This program integrates web-based learning with direct student-to-student and faculty-to-student communication.

Our courses are offered with rolling admissions, and professionals from all sectors may apply. As a student, you have full access to Columbia University’s libraries and resources. Classes are non-credit bearing, but students receive a Certificate in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability upon completion of the 12-course program.

Upcoming spring 2017 courses include:


  • Environmental Markets: The Nexus of Business, Regulation, and Sustainability (begins Jan. 17)
  • Global Change (begins Jan. 18)
  • Coffee from Seed to Cup: A Case Study in Agricultural Sustainability (begins Jan. 19)


  • Hacking the Meat System (begins Feb. 21)
  • A More Resilient World (begins Feb. 22)
  • Introduction to Evolution: From Darwin to DNA (begins Feb. 23)

Spring break: March 15-19

  • Coral Reef Ecology: Bermuda, Field course in Bermuda (March 15-19)


  • Introduction to Environmental Policy (begins Apr. 10)
  • Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature (Apr. 5)
  • Food Security and Sustainability (begins Apr. 6)


  • Forest Management and Conservation, NYC based field course (begins May 11)
  • The Sustainability of Local Food Systems (begins May 16)
  • Chemical Pollution in the Biosphere (begins May 17)

See the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability website for more information, or email:



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