Climate and Society is a 12-month interdisciplinary M.A. program. A set of tailor-made core courses provide a scientific basis for inquiry and stresses interdisciplinary problem-solving. Elective courses allow students to apply their climate knowledge to other subject matters.

Students start as a cohort in the fall, attend classes full-time during the fall and spring semesters, and complete an internship over the summer.

Course of Study

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Summer Semester

Dynamics of Climate
Variability and Change
3 credits
Regional Climate
and Climate Impacts
3 credits
Summer Internship: Climate and Society
6 credits
Quantitative Models of
Climate-Sensitive Natural
and Human Systems
4 credits
Applications in Climate and Society
3 credits
Managing and Adapting to Climate
3 credits
Elective #2
min 3 credits

Elective #3
min 3 credits
Elective #1
min 3 credits
Elective #4*
min 3 credits

13 credits

15 credits

6 credits

*One elective must be a social science course.

Program Requirements

Students must complete a minimum total of 34 graduate level credits for a letter grade and maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate. An overall average of a 3.0 GPA must also be maintained across the core courses. The core courses are:

  • GU5400 Dynamics of Climate Variability and Change
  • GU5401 Quantitative Models of Climate-Sensitive Natural and Human Systems
  • GU5403 Managing and Adapting to Climate
  • GU5404 Regional Climate and Climate Impacts
  • GU5407 Application in Climate and Society
  • GU5406 Summer Internship: Climate and Society

In addition to the core courses, Climate and Society students take a minimum of four graduate-level elective courses for a letter grade for a total of 12 elective credits. Any graduate level course at Columbia can be taken as an elective however, one elective course must be taken in the social sciences. Courses taken pass-fail or for R credit will not count toward the degree.

During the summer semester, students complete an internship for academic credit. Internships can be completed domestically or abroad and must be relevant to the intersection of climate and society. Students must complete a minimum of 184 internship hours.

Students can monitor their progress with this C+S Worksheet.

Students must complete one residence unit in the fall, one residence unit in the spring, and an extended residence unit in the summer.

Degrees for the M.A. Program in Climate and Society are awarded in October.