University Senate                                                         

Proposed: November 13, 2009
Adopted: November 13, 2009




WHEREAS      There is a growing need for professionals who are trained as sustainability practitioners and stewards, and

WHEREAS      Professionals so trained are in demand in a range of sectors, including building, financial services, public utilities, industrial manufacturing, energy, pharmaceutical, media, transportation, food service, and technology, and

WHEREAS      Columbia University’s Earth Institute is a leader in the field of sustainable development as well as environmental stewardship and committed to direct the proposed program, and

WHEREAS      Columbia University is a hub of significant research and teaching in the field, and

WHEREAS      Columbia University, through its School of Continuing Education, is uniquely positioned to bring together faculty from a range of disciplines in an active exchange of ideas and to attract students from various sectors and at various levels of professional development in the field of sustainability, and

WHEREAS      the proposed degree program neither duplicates nor replaces programs or courses already offered at the University or in the Northeast region of the United States, and

WHEREAS      there is a clear need for trained sustainability management professionals,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED       that the Senate establish the Master of Science Degree in Sustainability Management, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED            that the Senate forward this resolution to the Trustees for appropriate action.

Committee on Education

MS Degree in Sustainability Management
Program Proposal Overview
Description: Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education (CE), and The Earth Institute (EI) at Columbia University.  As such, it will draw from existing courses at the University and will include a number of Earth Institute faculty and researchers who are leaders in their respective fields of earth science, environmental management and the implementation of measures to limit an organization’s environmental footprint. 

Sustainability too frequently is address by by lawyers, MBAs, engineers, marketers, communications professionals, policymakers, research and development product scientists, and procurement leads who have generally evolved into their sustainability leadership role.  This program responds to the demand for these professionals and the dearth of programs available to train them. The new MS in Sustainability Management will provide a defined forum in which to teach sustainability practitioners to use proper environmental measurement tools, CO2 mitigation management skills, and cutting edge environmental science to fully understand the systematic and organizational role of sustainability in any organization.

Course of Study: 36 point curriculum (4000-level courses
I.  Sustainability Management:  Integrative Approach
SUMA K4100 Sustainability Management 3pts
SUMA K6090 Workshop in Applied Sustainability Management 3 pts
Elective 3 pts. (eg. PLAN 4381 – Sustainable Urban Development:  International Perspective)

II. Economics and Quantitative Analysis
Two courses in general and sustainability economics (6 points)
One course in statistics (3 points)

Sample Courses:

III. The Physical Dimensions of Sustainability Management
Three courses are to be taken out of the following categories although all three courses may not come from only one category:
One or two courses in Earth and Environmental Engineering
One or two courses in Environmental Planning, Design or Architecture
One or two courses in Ecology or Earth and Environmental Sciences

Sample Courses:

IV. The Public Policy Environment of Sustainability Management
One course in environmental or sustainability policy or law (3 points)

Sample Courses:


V.  General and Financial Management
Two courses in public, private or nonprofit general or financial management (6 points)

Sample Courses:


Intended students: The MS in Sustainability Management targets working professionals in the New York metropolitan area where there is an increasing demand for sustainability professionals.  Sustainability issues are currently being addressed in all industries and for a myriad of reasons by professionals who are not trained in the field.  MBAs, engineers, marketers, communications professionals, policymakers, research and development product scientists, and procurement leads all address questions of sustainability even though their expertise in the field is limited.  The program targets these professionals.
Professional options for graduates:

Related programs in the Northeast:
The MBA from Green Mountain College in Vermont has a sustainability focus. The degree is earned mainly through distance learning. The 37-credit sequence costs roughly $23,000.

Marlboro College, also in Vermont, offers a similar sustainability MBA that consists of 60 credits and costs $39,000.