EEE offers a Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering degree, designed for engineers and scientists who plan to pursue, or are already engaged in, environmental management/development careers.

MS in Earth and Environmental Engineering (MS-EAEE)

The focus of the MS-EAEE program is the environmentally-sound mining and processing of primary materials (minerals, energy, and water) and the recycling or proper disposal of used materials. The program also includes technologies for assessment and remediation of past damage to the environment. Students can choose a pace that allows them to to complete the MS-EAEE requirements while being employed.

MS-EAEE graduates are specially qualified to work for engineering, financial, and operating companies engaged in mineral processing ventures, the environmental industry, environmental groups of in all industries, and for city, state, and federal agencies responsible for the environment and energy/resource conservation. At the present time, the U.S. environmental industry comprises nearly 30,000 big and small businesses with total revenues over $150 billion. Sustainable development and environmental quality has become a top priority of industry and government in the U.S. and many other nations.


The MS-EAEE requires 30 points (letter grade) of graduate coursework.

Depending on your ​academic ​background, you may also need to take some undergraduate level ​science ​courses to bone up on the basics. MS-EAEE candidates have three options:

  • To take 24 points in the form of lecture courses recommended by the Department (see a later section of this document) plus 6 points in the form of research (EAEE E9721) culminating in a Master’s Thesis consisting of original, publication-quality research. Their thesis will be published on the web page of their research group and enrich their professional dossier.
  • You may also opt for taking 27 points in the form of lecture courses​ approved by your advisor​ plus 3 points of research (EAEE E9272)​,​ by arranging ​to assist a member of the faculty ​with ongoing analytical or experimental research​;​ and write a Term Paper describing their part in that research. A 3-point ​​report may be accepted in case of candidates for some joint degree (e.g., MS/MBA).
  • With permission of their faculty advisor, ​MS-EAEEE candidates may also take all 30 points in the form of lecture courses approved by the Advisor. However, a thesis is strongly recommended for MS-ERE candidaes. New MS-EAEE students must have a faculty approved plan of studies by the second month of their first semester at Columbia.

MS-EAEE Concentrations

M.S. candidates may select one of three concentrations (descriptions below)​ within the M.S. degree program:

  • Water Resources and Climate Risks
  • Sustainable Energy
  • ​Sustainable Mining and Materials

​Alternatively, you may be able to design your own concentration around a specific interest; however, it should be approved by your faculty advisor. For any questions relating to the MS-ERE thesis, please contact the EAEE department graduate committee chair.

MS/PhD Track

Students interested in eventually earning a doctoral degree ​at Columbia University ​can apply as an M.S./Ph.D. candidate, in which they complete a MS-EAEE before pursuing either a Ph.D. or Eng.Sc.D. degree, without having to reapply.

EEE doctoral candidates must already hold a master's degree in a related engineering or science discipline.​

Graduate Student Affairs

For more information on graduate admissions and policies, refer to the Columbia Engineering Graduate Student Affairs website.