State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

New Offerings in Earth Institute’s Non-Degree Programs for Spring 2021

Starting in fall 2020, the Earth Institute will over several non-degree educational programs for high school students and adult learners.

After an exciting launch of our non-degree programs this fall, we are back with new professional learning and pre-college workshop opportunities for spring 2021. These workshops will continue to allow learners to personally engage with leading scientists in the field, understand the science behind the headlines, and accelerate individual educational and career goals. Spring 2021 sessions will continue to be remote.

Spring registration is now open on our website. Join us at an upcoming info session to learn more — sign up here.

All non-degree program sessions will be delivered in small group sessions so that participants can receive targeted instruction and network with research faculty and peers. All programming will be taught by world-renowned Columbia faculty, researchers, and practitioners who are experts in their field. Our non-degree programs offer the same level of rigor and quality as our degree programs, allowing us to deliver a high-caliber program to you on a flexible schedule no matter where you are in the world.

Professional Learning

The professional learning program provides working professionals and adult learners with the knowledge and skills needed to further job-related interests and careers across a variety of subjects. This program is for you if: you work in a climate- or sustainability-oriented career and want to gain new skills to enhance your current role; you want to explore a career shift into this area; or if you are simply a lifelong learner seeking new knowledge and experiences. For spring 2021, we are offering the following sessions:

  1. Climate Foundations – Join Lisa Goddard of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society for a climate foundations workshop to gain a fundamental understanding of how the climate system works and why it varies over time and space. Come learn the scientific principles behind Earth’s climate, how our understanding has evolved in recent decades, and what is currently possible for anticipating future climate.
  2. Toward Resilient Cities and Landscapes – Learn with Thaddeus Pawlowski of the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes as he prepares learners to explore how local leaders around the world are remaking cities and landscapes as they face the challenges of climate change, urbanization, and systemic inequity. The interactive workshop will explore these issues on the ground and imagine and evaluate potential policies and projects that could strengthen the resilience of communities and ecosystems.


Our pre-college programs are for high school students in grades 9-12 who are interested in extending their learning beyond the classroom and sharpening their knowledge and skills in the areas of climate change and sustainability. Whether you are a budding climate change activist, or a maker who loves to tinker with new tools and technologies, we will have something for you. Through interactive and hands-on minds-on learning, our pre-college programs will help participants build important skills such as critical thinking and problem solving in a collaborative learning environment with peers. Our programs will take science learning beyond the textbook, and allow students to see and experience science in the real world. For spring 2021, we are offering the following sessions:

  1. Making Sense of Climate Data – Join Dara Mendeloff of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network to explore GIS (geographic information systems) and other important data science tools, perform spatial analysis, and create data products to visualize your results while communicating a story. Participants will get an introduction to tools such as ArcGIS Online, QGIS, and R studio.
  2. Communicating Climate Change Like Your Life Depends on It – Led by Dale Willman of the Earth Institute Initiative on Communication and Sustainability, learners will build strong media literacy skills to be used to communicate science information, particularly surrounding climate change. Participants will practice with the tools available for communication and learn how to use these tools to participate in climate activism and/or climate reporting.

We will be hosting information sessions with all of the instructors for these offerings in the upcoming weeks, so please sign up for an info session. This is a great opportunity to hear about each course directly from the instructor.

We hope to see you at an upcoming info session. In the meantime, please sign up for our mailing list here to get future updates, and contact if you have any questions. Please also feel free to suggest a topic for future programming here.

Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024

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