Admissions FAQ

Please see the how to apply section for more details.

No. The program only admits students for the fall semester. 

Applicants should have a background in either natural or social science and/or have the aptitude to absorb the foundations of climate science and quantitative principles. Students come to the program from diverse range academic and professional backgrounds, and those with non-traditional backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should submit references that they believe best support their application. The admission committee would prefer at least two academic references but recognizes that professionals who have worked for several years may have difficulty obtaining references from their undergraduate studies. 

The GRE is not required for Climate and Society applicants.

The TOEFL, IELTS, or the Duolingo English Test is required for applicants who did not complete their undergraduate degree at a four-year English institution. 

The Climate School requires the following minimum scores:

  • 100 on the TOEFL internet-based test
  • 7.5 on the IELTS
  • 135 on the Duolingo English Test

Climate and Society offers a limited number of partial fellowships annually. The fellowships are awarded based on merit and are offered to a limited number of applicants.

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

Yes, the Graduate Admissions Office encourages applicants and prospective students to schedule an appointment to discuss the application process or program. All appointments can be scheduled online and take place virtually.

Columbia Climate School offers application fee waivers for candidates who experience financial hardship as well as those who participated in a select group of special programs. The fee waiver request forms are located within the online application. In addition, United States military veterans will automatically receive an application fee waiver. 

Special programs include:

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minorities Students (ABRCMS)
Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar
Careers Opportunity Research/NIMH (COR/NIMH)
Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP)
Creating Connections Consortium (C3)
Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT)
Jackie Robinson Foundation
Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program
Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Program
Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC)
Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (RISE)
National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP)
Peace Corps
Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
Teach for America (TFA)

The Climate School offers admission with the expectation that students will matriculate in the semester specified during the application process. If extraordinary circumstances will prevent you from matriculating, you may submit a request to defer your enrollment for up to one calendar year. Any applicant who has been granted one deferral may not defer a second time.

To request a deferral, applicants must first accept the offer for the current season by paying the tuition deposit. This deposit must be paid on or before the response deadline noted in the admission letter. Then, please email [email protected] to request a deferral. July 15 is the deadline for submission of deferral requests.

Please note that deferral requests are not automatically granted. They must be evaluated by the Academic Affairs department. Students will be notified about the disposition of their deferral request via email. If the deferral request is approved, you will be required to submit an additional tuition deposit to accept the new offer of admission in the following year. Both tuition deposit payments will appear on the student's account as credits toward tuition. 


Our institution code is D144 for the TOEFL and 3470 for the GRE. The Columbia Climate School does not use department codes, as all test scores are reported to the Columbia Climate School Admissions. Scores are then forwarded to the appropriate department. Because ETS requires designation of a department code, you may either select any department of your choosing or enter the default code 99 for the TOEFL and 0000 for the GRE.

Yes. Transcripts that are in a language other than English should be translated into English. The translation must be certified to be an accurate translation of the original and be notarized or otherwise authenticated.

You can resend the recommender notification email to each of your recommendation providers by going to the Recommendations section of your application, clicking the name of your recommender, and selecting "Send Reminder."

If you have already submitted your application, you can still renotify your recommenders. Log back into your application and scroll to the bottom of the Application Status Page, where you will find a link to the Recommendations page. Follow the instructions provided above to resend the notification email to your recommenders.

If you have resent the email but your recommender has still not received it, please check to ensure that you have entered their email address correctly. You should also ask your recommender to check their spam or junk folder. If you have done this and your recommender still has not received the email, please email us at [email protected] for assistance.

Columbia Climate School is now accepting applications from students earning three-year bachelor's degrees in Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, India, Israel, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and any country which is a participant in the Bologna Process.

No. Third-party submissions are not permitted.

Applicants must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the sole exception of submissions by the US Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies IIE, LASPAU and AMIDEAST, and by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF), and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD).

Please also note: Under no circumstances should you upload a letter on behalf of a recommender. All letters must be submitted by the letter-writers themselves. If you upload a recommendation letter, disciplinary action may be taken; consequences may include the immediate rejection of an application or revocation of an offer of admission.

In addition, you will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to Columbia. If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the Columbia Climate School's Office of Admissions at [email protected].

Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist admissions staff and faculty involved in admission reviews in the verification of all documents and statements made in documents submitted by students as part of the application review process.

Please check your email to see if the activation email was directed to a spam or junk folder in your inbox. If you are not able to locate the email, try resetting your password, which will resend the activation email with your temporary PIN.

No. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded as part of your application. However, they should be copies of official transcripts. Unofficial course lists or registration records printed from your student account are not acceptable. If you have a copy of a World Education Services (WES) evaluation, we encourage you to upload it with your unofficial transcript.

Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission has been made and accepted.

Columbia Climate School retains official documents for admitted applicants only. If an official document is sent to us by an applicant who does not enroll, the document will not remain accessible, even if an offer of admission is made at a later time.

Program administration recognizes certain circumstances may warrant part-time enrollment. Students enrolling in the part-time program generally include one or more of the following profiles: people with demonstrated significant work experience in a climate or climate adjacent space, working professionals currently in any space that can reasonably assert that they can readily apply the MA in Climate and Society program to their current work or to easily transition to climate or a related field where they can apply the program to that profession. Applicants seeking part-time enrollment will be required to provide a brief description in the application why they are seeking to enter the program part-time.

Please note, students enrolled in the part-time program do not qualify for the Climate and Society Fellowship.