Admissions FAQ

Please see the how to apply section for more details.

No. The program only admits students for the fall semester. 

Applicants should have a background in either natural or social science and/or have the aptitude to absorb the foundations of climate science and quantitative principles. Students come to the program from diverse range academic and professional backgrounds, and those with non-traditional backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should submit references that they believe best support their application. The admission committee would prefer at least two academic references but recognizes that professionals who have worked for several years may have difficulty obtaining references from their undergraduate studies. 

The GRE is not required for Climate and Society applicants.

The TOEFL, IELTS, or the Duolingo English Test is required for applicants who did not complete their undergraduate degree at a four-year English institution. 

Applications for the MA in Climate and Society are handled through the admissions office of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The school allows applicants to apply to two MA programs or one MA and one PhD program. Prospective students can also apply to additional programs administered by other schools at Columbia.

Climate and Society offers a limited number of partial fellowships annually. The fellowships are awarded based on merit and are offered to a limited number of applicants.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Director of Admissions, Alfred Ayoub.

Yes, the Graduate Admissions Office encourages applicants and prospective students to schedule an appointment to discuss the application process or program. All appointments can be scheduled online and take place virtually.

Columbia Climate School offers application fee waivers for candidates who experience financial hardship as well as those who participated in a select group of special programs. The fee waiver request forms are located within the online application. In addition, United States military veterans will automatically receive an application fee waiver. 

Special programs include:

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minorities Students (ABRCMS)
Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar
Careers Opportunity Research/NIMH (COR/NIMH)
Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP)
Creating Connections Consortium (C3)
Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT)
Jackie Robinson Foundation
Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program
Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Program
Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC)
Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (RISE)
National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP)
Peace Corps
Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
Teach for America (TFA)

The Climate School offers admission with the expectation that students will matriculate in the semester specified during the application process. If extraordinary circumstances will prevent you from matriculating, you may submit a request to defer your enrollment for up to one calendar year. Any applicant who has been granted one deferral may not defer a second time.

To request a deferral, applicants must first accept the offer for the current season by paying the tuition deposit. This deposit must be paid on or before the response deadline noted in the admission letter. Then, please email [email protected] to request a deferral. August 15 is the deadline for submission of deferral requests.

Please note that deferral requests are not automatically granted. They must be evaluated by the Academic Affairs department. Students will be notified about the disposition of their deferral request via email. If the deferral request is approved, you will be required to submit an additional tuition deposit to accept the new offer of admission in the following year. Both tuition deposit payments will appear on the student's account as credits toward tuition. 


Our institution code is D144 for the TOEFL and 3470 for the GRE. The Columbia Climate School does not use department codes, as all test scores are reported to the Columbia Climate School Admissions. Scores are then forwarded to the appropriate department. Because ETS requires designation of a department code, you may either select any department of your choosing or enter the default code 99 for the TOEFL and 0000 for the GRE.