Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Climate and Society program. For questions about admissions, please see the Admissions FAQ

Climate and Society FAQ

The MA in Climate and Society will be the inaugural education program of the Columbia Climate School starting in Fall 2021. Students who matriculate in this program in Fall 2021 will be students of the Climate School.

The program requires 12 months (3 semesters) of full-time study. It begins in September and ends in August.

The program can not be completed part-time.

Climate and Society is designed to be completed in-person at Columbia University. Students are permitted to attend the summer course remotely if their internship is located outside of New York City. 

Each year, there are usually 75-85 students in the program. Our students complete the core curriculum together as a cohort.

Yes, the MA in Climate and Society is a STEM-designated program. The STEM designation offers an additional benefit by allowing students in F-1 status to apply to extend their 12-month optional practical training (OPT) by an additional 24 months. 


Broadly speaking, our students typically come from the earth, natural and social sciences and are split roughly in even thirds across those disciplines. That said, students from non-traditional backgrounds such as music, architecture and photography have also successfully completed the program. People from those backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Our graduates work in a variety of positions that span the NGO, public and private sectors. They work for employers as diverse as the Nature Conservancy, City of Los Angeles, Washington Post and World Bank.

Climate and Society is not affiliated with any PhD program and does not guarantee admission to a PhD program. Approximately 30% of graduates, however, go on to PhD, law or other graduate studies within three years of graduating. 

The MA in Climate and Society partners with the Earth Institute. The Earth institute provides students with opportunities and support for research assistantships, internships, extracurricular programming including speaker series, networking, professional development and other practical skill-building activities.

The MA in Climate and Society degree is awarded by Columbia Climate School.

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