5-Year BA/MS

Accelerated 5 Year Program: Sustainable Development (B.A.) and Sustainability Management (M.S.)

Launched in Fall 2015 this companion degree program — offered in collaboration with The Earth Institute, Columbia College, the School of General Studies and the School of Professional Studies — allows students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in just five years. Students are trained to become sustainability practitioners who understand the complex environmental challenges facing the world.  They develop practical skills in management, quantitative analysis, and sustainability to transform the way that organizations do business.

Building upon the strong foundation of their undergraduate coursework, Sustainable Development students who are accepted into the Sustainability Management program will learn to draw from interdisciplinary perspectives in general, as well as develop specific skills and knowledge in financial management, quantitative analysis, public policy, and the physical dimensions of sustainability. Students will receive practical professional training to help them to understand the systematic and organizational role of sustainability in any organization.


Students must fulfill both the major/special concentration undergraduate requirements as well as the M.S.in Sustainability Management graduate requirements (36 credits).

Admitted undergraduate students may take up to two Sustainability Management courses (6 credits) that count toward the master’s degree. NOTE: These courses will be accepted for advanced standing in the Sustainability Management program, but may not be counted toward students’ undergraduate degree requirements.

These courses are:

  1. SUMA 4100 Sustainability Management
  2. One of the following approved Physical Dimensions of Sustainability Courses:
    • SUMA 4130 Sustainable Cities
    • SUMA 4145 Science of Sustainable Water
    • SUMA 4235 Science of Urban Ecology
    • SUMA 5030 Hungry City Workshop
    • Additional Area 3 coursework

The remaining graduate requirements (30 credits) are divided among five comprehensive content areas and are completed in the fifth year of the accelerated program:

  1. Integrative Courses in Sustainability Management (9 credits)
  2. Economics and Quantitative Analysis (9 credits)
  3. The Physical Dimensions of Sustainability (9 credits)
  4. The Public Policy Environment of Sustainability Management (3 credits)
  5. General and Financial Management (6 credits)


Current students in the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development of Columbia University who are in good academic standing may apply to the M.S. in Sustainability Management program in the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year. Students will receive provisional acceptance and will be required to maintain a 3.0 GPA in Sustainability Management classes. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted for the purpose of the application; official transcripts must be submitted once the undergraduate degree is conferred. The application fee for sustainable development students will be waived. For more information, please review the application instructions.

Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students who wish to have a decision in advance of registration for the following semester should submit by the earlier deadline noted below.

• Fall Admission (Juniors): May 1 (Early Deadline: March 15)
• Spring Admission (Seniors): November 1 (Early Deadline: October 1)

Application Materials

• Completed Online Application form
• Application Fee (waived)
• Transcripts
• Resume
• Statement of Academic Purpose
• Two Letters of Recommendation
• Demonstration of English Proficiency

SUMA Program Contacts

Please reach out to the Sustainability Management team at [email protected]