New 5-Year Program in Sustainable Development & Sustainability Management

Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of Continuing Education, in collaboration with Columbia College and General Studies, are pleased to announce the launch of an Accelerated Program in Sustainable Development and Sustainability Management. Through this new program, majors and special concentrators in sustainable development can earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in just five years, saving time and money.

sus dev snip“This program creates an opportunity for undergraduates to take full advantage of the unique suite of sustainability education programs offered by Columbia University and the Earth Institute. Graduates will be equipped with the skills and experience to make them competitive candidates in the workforce”, explained Steven Cohen, Sustainability Management program director.

Beginning in the summer of 2015, juniors and seniors in the Sustainable Development program may apply to the Sustainability Management program. Admitted undergraduate students may take up to two Sustainability Management courses that count toward the master’s degree (these courses may not be counted toward students’ undergraduate degree requirements). The undergraduates and program directors alike are thrilled about the initiative: “We are very excited about this new educational opportunity. The accelerated program offers a compelling new pathway for our students who are interested in expanding on their foundational knowledge in sustainable development by acquiring practical and professional sustainability management and analytical skills”, said co-director Jason Smerdon. Armando Antao Domingos, a current student in the Sustainable Development program, helped to write a student proposal in support of this new initiative: “Students know a graduate level degree opens up more possibilities. With the help of this program, we will be able show employers that we are well versed in both the theory and the practical applications of sustainable development.”

Undergraduates in the Sustainable Development program are uniquely prepared for this graduate program, having undertaken interdisciplinary studies focused on the natural and social sciences, and the theory and practice of sustainable development. Students develop expertise in critical areas, such as food, water, health and climate change, and are trained in important skill areas such as economic analysis and GIS modeling. The M.S. in Sustainability Management gives students the practical skills in management, quantitative analysis, and sustainability to transform the way that organizations do business.

Building upon the strong foundation from undergraduate coursework, students who are accepted into the Sustainability Management program will learn to draw from interdisciplinary perspectives in general and financial management, quantitative analysis, public policy, and the physical dimensions of sustainability. Students will receive practical professional training to help them to understand the systematic and organizational role of sustainability in any organization. Undergraduate co-director Ruth Defries is confident that the program “will prepare students to help society find the path to a sustainable world.”

This is the first time that the Earth Institute — which, for many years, has collaborated with departments and schools across the University to offer top quality sustainability education programs — has offered a combined undergraduate-graduate program. Strong support from current students, particularly the executive board of the Student Union for Sustainable Development (SUS-D), and senior faculty and administrators at the University, helped to move this initiative from an idea to reality this year. “This program is testament to the amazing opportunity that Sustainable Development students have to shape their major and college experience — if students want to help create something new, it’s possible to make it happen!”, said Katharyn-Alexis Huseby, current student and co-president of SUS-D. For more information on the Accelerated Program in Sustainable Development and Sustainability Management, including application process and deadlines, please visit the website.


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