Master of Science in Sustainability Management

Master of Science in Sustainability Management

The Program

The Earth Institute and Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education developed the new Master of Science in Sustainability Management to formally train and educate sustainability practitioners. The program draws upon the most sophisticated environmental measurement tools, cutting-edge environmental science, and world class management and policy studies to help students fully understand the systematic and organizational role of sustainability in any organization. Our common goal is to create a sustainable economy, society and environment. Steve Cohen, executive director of the Earth Institute and director of the M.S. in Sustainability Management says, “A decade from now, all excellent managers will be sustainability managers. Just as the definition of excellent management today includes effective financial, human and information management, soon it will also include effective sustainability management.”

The M.S. in Sustainability Management draws upon the University’s years of experience in bridging research and practice. The program melds academic leadership, scientific rigor and professional practice to form a unique, interdisciplinary community dedicated to making lasting advances in global sustainability practice. It takes a bold and innovative approach to sustainability that prioritizes the protection of Earth’s systems and resources as well as the spread of social and economic opportunities. This program provides practical training for both full-time and part-time students seeking to further their careers as sustainability professionals or transition into a sustainability field.


The M.S. in Sustainability Management program’s students represent a cross-section of the industries and organizations currently incorporating sustainable initiatives into their day-to-day operations as well as those who are looking to make a career switch. Most of the program’s students are enrolled in the program on a part-time basis, and are professionals who take advantage of the program’s evening course offerings while working full time during the day. The program also has a strong cohort of full-time students, completing their degrees in just 3 semesters of study. The program's students are dedicated not only to mastering the theory and science of sustainability, they are passionate about putting their education into practice. You can learn more about the our students and alumni by reading the profiles below:

Student Profiles

Unique Career Path: Utah Ski Slopes to NYC Sustainability Consulting and Columbia

Josh Rosenfield, has been working in sustainable business for the past ten years. After spending three years managing Deloitte’s internal sustainability program, he transitioned into a role that focuses on client services, as a manager with Deloitte’s Global Sustainability and Climate Change Services team. [read more]


Student Earns Recognition as Corporate Social Responsibility Leader

Current M.S. in Sustainability Management (MSSM) student Pamela Alabaster joined the program after a corporate sustainability appointment at L’Oréal USA with the express purpose of honing her skills in the corporate social responsibility field. Through meaningful... [read more]


MSSM Student Inspired to Combat Climate Change

MS in Sustainability Management student Emily Dawson credits her parents and undergraduate studies at Middlebury College with instilling an interest in sustainability and sense of urgency for our warming planet. As a student in the program, Emily hopes to gain the practical skills and managerial training necessary to [read more]

Alumni Profiles

M.S. Alum Applies Program Skills to Fortune 500 Company

Prior to joining the M.S. in Sustainability Management (MSSM) program, Evan Brown (’12) was not sure where he would fit within the sustainability industry. With a background in environmental  [read more]


M.S. Alum Seeks Safer Chemical Policies

M.S. in Sustainability Management (MSSM) alum Mark Buczek (’12) utilized the program to supplement his existing career track in the chemical industry as the Co-Chair for the non-profit organization,, which focuses on helping organizations to understand and manage chemicals and select alternative materials. Mark knew that he wanted to be involved in the area of developing safer chemicals, and the MSSM program helped him figure out how to get involved... [read more]


M.S. Alum Transitions from Hotel Management to Forest Conservation

M.S. in Sustainability Management (MSSM) alum Uta Jungermann (’12) has had a varied array of professional experiences. Prior to joining the MSSM program, she  had worked in the tourism industry as well as in finance. Upon completing the program last spring, Uta’s career path took her to Geneva, Switzerland [read more]

Professional Development

The program’s professional development initiative enriches classroom learning, as students prepare to enter or advance in the field of sustainability management. The Professional Development initiative focuses on skill building, access to leading practitioners, career networking, and specialized job search strategies and tools.

Skill building

The Sustainability Seminar Series comprises half- and full-day non-credit seminars that help students gain cutting-edge skills they can use to succeed in the field.

  • LEED Green Associate Exam Preparation Seminar (Fall 2012)
  • Sustainable Smart Technology and Controls Seminar (Fall 2012)
  • General Motor’s Electric Vehicles and Sustainability Report Seminar (Fall 2012)
  • Advanced and Financial Excel Skills Training (Fall 2012)
  • Networking and Interviewing Skills Seminar (Fall 2012)
  • Climate Adaptation Planning Seminar (Spring 2012)
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Seminar (Spring 2012)
  • Sustainability Metrics (Spring 2012)
  • Greenhouse Gas Protocol's Corporate GHG Accounting and Reporting Standard (Spring 2012)
  • Public Speaking - Communication Strategy and Delivery (Spring 2012)
  • Product Lifecycle Analysis and Carbon Footprinting (Spring 2013)
  • Consulting 101: How Consultants Win Work (Spring 2013)
  • Networking and Interviewing Skills Seminar (Spring 2013)

Access to Leading Practitioners

The Sustainability Executives Speakers Series allows students to engage and learn from leading practitioners.

  • James Gowen, CSO and VP of  Supply Chain Operations at Verizon (Fall 2012)
  • Judy Sanford, Senior Strategist, Addison (Spring 2012)
  • David Walker, Director of Environmental Sustainability, PepsiCo International (Spring 2012)

Career Networking

Students consult with faculty, who are often practicing professionals, and they network with sustainability practitioners at special events and at the annual All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair.

  • Sustainability Career Networking (Fall 2012)
  • All Ivy-League Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair (Spring 2012)

Job Search Strategies and Tools

Students have access to an array of resources to help them with their job search, including the distinguished practitioners who serve as faculty in the program, consultations on resume writing and interviewing, an online resume book accessible to employers, and a student-only, password-protected job and internship website, which at any given time, features some 300 active job postings. Some recent postings have included positions such as, Energy Engineer in New York City; Senior Manager for Sustainability Reporting, Assurance and Compliance in Colorado; and Business Development Manager for Energy Efficiency Projects in California.

The Curriculum

The Sustainability Management requires the successful completion of 36 credits divided among five comprehensive content areas:

  1. Integrative Courses in Sustainability Management (nine credits)
  2. Economics and Quantitative Analysis (nine credits)
  3. The Physical Dimensions of Sustainability (nine credits)
  4. The Public Policy Environment of Sustainability Management (three credits)
  5. General and Financial Management (six credits)

To learn more about our curriculum developed to train and educate sustainability practitioners for a broad range of fields and to hear from current faculty and students, watch our new video.

The following courses have been developed specifically for the Sustainability Management program:

In addition to the courses designed specifically for the program, sustainability management students can take classes across Columbia’s graduate schools, including the School of International and Public Affairs, the Mailman School of Public Health and the Law School, as well as in the many academic departments that constitute the Graduate School of Arts and Science.

Integrative Capstone Workshop

The Integrative Capstone Workshop serves as the culminating educational experience for students in the M.S. in Sustainability Management Program, enabling them to apply the practical skills and analytical knowledge learned through the curriculum into an applied project, giving students hands-on managerial experience.  The workshop also serves the purpose of sharpening the students’ analytical and communication skills by allowing them to apply their previous experience and knowledge gained from the program to real-world problems. The workshop program is specially designed to integrate the distinct fields introduced in the program as students and faculty work to address critical sustainability management issues.

The capstone workshop is offered in the fall and spring semesters. Students will work in teams and undertake special analytic projects as consultants for public and nonprofit agencies, increasing their understanding of the real-world constraints under which sustainability managers operate.  Current and previous workshop clients include New York City Mayor' s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability,  the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the city of Philadelphia,  and GreenBlue. The required outputs for the workshop are a project control plan (PCP), a midterm briefing to the class, a final briefing to the class and the client, and a final report. The specific form of the report generated by each project is negotiated between the agency, the faculty advisor and the members of each consulting team.

The final reports and briefings from previous editions of the Integrative Capstone Workshop can be found below:

Spring 2013

  • Living on the Edge – Integrating Renewable Resource Strategies on the Urban Periphery in Oaxaca, Mexico (Clients: Instituto Internacional de Recursos Renovables (irri) Mexico, The Yansa Group, The Ashoka Foundation Mexico)
  • Opportunities for Climate Resilience: The Beaches of Stamford, CT (Client: City of Stamford, Land Use Bureau)
  • Sustainability Certification System For Tourism Companies In Chile (Client: Chilean Federation of Tourism Enterprises, FEDETUR)
  • Energy Systems for New York City Multifamily and Commercial Buildings (Client: New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA))
  • Developing a Business Plan for New Jersey Audubon (Client: New Jersey Audubon)

Fall 2012

Summer 2012

  • Sustainability Reporting and the Natural Resources Defense Council

Spring 2012

Fall 2011

Spring 2011

The Faculty

Courses are taught by an expert faculty, including renowned practitioners in fields ranging from environmental law to alternative energy financing and researchers who are leaders in the fields of earth science, engineering and environmental management. The program utilizes environmental and sustainable development research and practitioner experience to provide practical training in sustainability management to a new generation of professionals who will address critical interdisciplinary issues.

The Community

The Earth Institute is affiliated with 30 academic programs at Columbia University and has developed numerous innovative courses training students to understand and address the pressing and complex issues of environmental protection and sustainability. The Earth Institute, with its 30 research centers and programs, is conducting and applying interdisciplinary scientific research to address many cross-cutting issues, while training a new generation of problem solvers to tackle these issues in all areas of society. Finding solutions to one problem involves tackling other related challenges within complex systems. This is at the core of sustainability management.

The Earth Institute also hosts seminars and events in the field. Expert panel discussions on bringing sustainability into routine management decisions and New York City as a sustainable city are two examples of events designed to complement the sustainability management curriculum. Students enrolled in the M.S. in Sustainability Management are an integral part of the Earth Institute’s engaging and forward-looking community.

To Apply

Admission to the program is highly selective. Prospective students interested in learning about the program and meeting with program directors and faculty are encouraged to contact Allison Ladue, Program Manager, by email at or by phone at (212) 851-9361.

The deadline for fall 2013 enrollment has passed.

For more information on how to apply to the M.S. in Sustainability Management, please visit Columbia’s School of Continuing Education.  

Office of Admissions
203 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119,
New York, NY 10027-6902.
(212) 854-9666
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.;
Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Earth Institute Sustainability Management (EISM) Fellows Program

The Earth Institute and the M.S. in Sustainability Management program (MSSM) are pleased to announce the creation of the Earth Institute Sustainability Management (EISM) Fellows program. The EISM Fellows Program will provide a total of $50,000 in fellowship funding for use toward the cost of tuition for MSSM program. Current and incoming students are eligible to apply to be EISM Fellows for the fall 2013 semester. The average fellowship award is expected to be $5,000 per recipient. The MSSM Admissions and Fellow Committee will determine fellowship recipients and award amounts. Awards will be determined by an applicant's demonstrated financial need and academic and professional merit.

The fellowship application will be available online as of May 15, 2013 and should be submitted no later than July 1, 2013. EISM Fellows for the fall 2013 semester will be selected and announced by August 1, 2013.

Both admitted applicants and current students in the M.S. in Sustainability Management program are eligible to apply for the program for the fall 2013 semester.


Allison Ladue
Program Manager
2929 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10025
(212) 851-9361