Executive Master of Public Administration, Concentration in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management

Executive Master of Public Administration, Concentration in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management

About the Program

Columbia University has developed the new Executive MPA Concentration in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management to address the need to formally train professionals in the foundations of environmental sustainability and management.

The earth is witnessing human induced environmental change on a scale and at a pace that is unique in its history. Increased levels of greenhouse gases are warming the planet; the extinction of species is occurring at an ever-faster rate; renewable resources such as water are being degraded, and finite resources such as fossil fuels are having widespread negative impacts on fragile, interconnected natural systems.

This concentration, coupled with the rigorous Executive Master of Public Policy and Administration (EMPA) core curriculum, emphasizes integrated thinking and learning so that our graduates will see beyond linear and fragmented approaches to coping with issues of environmental sustainability.

Our goal is to cultivate a new profession that manages earth systems in ways that will ensure the long-term viability of life on our planet. The issue of environmental sustainability has become a core government and business concern. Organizations all over the world are paying increasing attention to issues of environmental impacts, resource use, and waste management.

Graduates of the program develop proficiencies in sustainability management, finance, and accounting from a “green” perspective; and environmental politics and policy analysis, giving them the conceptual and technical skills needed to develop real-world solutions that sustainably manage human interaction with natural systems.

The program is co-sponsored by The Earth Institute and the Picker Center for Executive Education at the School of International and Public Affairs.  Course instructors include both practitioners and Earth Institute faculty and researchers who are leaders in their respective fields of earth science, environmental management and the implementation of measures to limit an organization’s environmental footprint.

Who Should Apply

The EMPA is designed for the experienced and ambitious executive, who is looking for a top-quality and practical graduate program, but cannot take the time out to pursue full-time study. The program represents a unique opportunity for working professionals from the private, public, and non-profit sectors to earn a master’s degree in either two or three years while staying on the job.

EMPA students pursue a variety of different professional interests, but they share a commitment to serving the public interest.  We believe that the program’s rigorous analytical curriculum and its hands-on approach to policy and management problem solving can be of great use to graduates working in any organization.


Core Courses

  • Sustainability Management (to be taken in place of EMPA Public Management)
  • Quantitative Techniques for Policymaking and Administration I & II
  • Microeconomics and Policy Analysis I & II
  • Financial Management in Government
  • Portfolio Presentation Workshop

Context Courses

  • One Sustainability Economics Course (designed to follow the EMPA economics and statistics sequence)
  • Environmental Politics, Policy and Management

Concentration Courses

  • Financing the Green Economy and/or Green Accounting
  • Sustainability Metrics and Analysis
  • The Science of Environmental Sustainability
  • Sustainable Cities and Built Environments
  • One Energy or Environment Elective

Classes are offered on Saturdays starting at 9:00 a.m. during the academic year. Students are granted 9 graduate points of credit of advanced standing for professional and management experience. Those points, along with the 45 points earned during the program of study at SIPA, comprise the 54 points of credit of the Executive MPA program.

To Apply

Admission to the program is highly selective. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to attend an open house and schedule an informational interview with the program’s faculty and administrators.

Applications for the fall semester must be received in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid no later than July 1. Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible.
For more information on how to apply, please visit Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. 

For more information:


Office of Admissions

Valerie Zimmer
Assistant Director of Marketing and Recruitment, EMPA Program

Bismark Diaz
Program Assistant, EMPA Program