Executive Education Program Information

Important Update


The Earth Institute is undergoing many exciting changes, and there are new plans under development to enhance engagement with the general public and global community.  While this is happening, there will be no classes offered in the Executive Education program, beginning in Fall 2019.

EICES has been running this program for over two decades, and it has been one of the highlights of the Center.

Going forward, the Earth Institute will be reviewing all its non-credit programs with the aim of offering new professional training opportunities that are aligned with our areas of expertise and strategic goals (i.e. climate risk and mitigation, science communication, urban development, food security, resiliency, public health and much more). This review will take some time to complete, and we hope to stay engaged with you during that time by gathering feedback about what kinds of courses/content areas you’d be interested in seeing. We remain committed to providing new learning opportunities outside of our formal degree programs and look forward to involving you in that process.

If you would like to share suggestions for future course offerings, please contact Cassie Xu (cassie@ei.columbia.edu).

We hope you will continue to stay engaged with the Earth Institute in other ways, such as the State of the Planet Blog, events, and videos.



The EICES Executive Education Program is designed for people with professional and/or civic interests in global change, environmental sustainability, and sustainable food systems. Courses are taught by Columbia University professors, researchers, and adjunct faculty as well as current practitioners from both the public and private sectors. The instructors provide a depth and breadth of experience and a diverse set of perspectives on addressing global environmental challenges.

Through traditional classroom and field sessions, the program provides students the opportunity to gain practical knowledge about a range of topics within the context of environmental sustainability. The curriculum incorporates science, policy, economics, and social dimensions of sustainability and addresses environmental issues from local to global perspectives. The program is ideal for professionals and citizens interested in continuing their education, pursuing professional development goals, gaining scientific knowledge prior to applying to graduate school, and/or becoming a more informed citizens with respect to environmental sustainability and environmental issues.


A bachelor’s degree is required to apply to the program. Students are not required to have any previous scientific coursework or knowledge to enroll in the program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and you may apply here at any time. Students who are absent from the program for an extended period of time and wish to resume taking courses may be asked to re-apply to the program.

Program Structure

  • The program is non-credit-bearing* and courses are graded on a pass/fail basis.
  • The full 12-course program may be completed in 10 months (September to June, fall and spring semesters).
  • Students may pursue the Conservation and Environmental Sustainability and/or the Sustainable Food Systems program track; see the program curriculum for more information.
  • The semesters are divided into modules; each module lasts for 5 weeks with 3 courses offered per module. Courses typically meet once a week for a total of 10 hours of instruction per course.
  • Course sessions are typically held in the evenings from 6:10 PM – 8:10 PM EST on the Columbia University Morningside Campus in New York City.
  • The evening sessions are available online via real time webinar and thus students may participate in the program as distance learners; please see the distance learning section below.
  • Some courses include a field component.
  • Courses may be taken on an individual basis if a student does not want to initially commit to the full 12-course program.
  • There is not a required sequence for taking the courses and students are not required to start the program at the beginning of a semester; students may start taking courses at the beginning of any module.
  • You are required to attend 3 of the 5 course sessions (i.e., 6 out of 10 hours or 60% of the course) in person or via distance learning in real time to be eligible to receive a passing grade for a given course.

*The program does not qualify for federal financial aid because it is non-credit-bearing. In addition, EICES does not offer any fellowships or scholarships for the Executive Education Program. Some employers may be willing to cover tuition costs; prospective students should inquire with their employers to determine if this is an option.

Registration and Tuition Rates

The Executive Education Program has a tiered tuition structure in support of the policy that requires students to take at least two courses per semester (not per module). For the 2018-2019 academic year, course tuition is $866 per course for those students who take two or more courses per semester. For students who take one course per semester, tuition is $890 per course.

There is a one-time $105 document fee associated with the creation of new student accounts at Columbia University. International students are charged a $90 International Services Charge each semester.

Field courses may include additional costs such as room and board.

Alumni Registration and Tuition Rate

Alumni of the Executive Education Program may register for EICES courses at a reduced tuition rate of $606 per course during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Dropping Courses and Refund Policy

After registration, a student may drop a course after attending one session if they decide the course does not meet their needs and/or their schedule changes. A student must submit a request to be dropped from a course by emailing eices@columbia.edu by the end of the business day (5:00 PM EST) on the Friday of the first week of the module. For example, if the course to be dropped is taught on Tuesdays during Module 2, you have until the Friday after the first session of the course during Module 2 to submit the drop request. A student who submits a request to drop a course within the time frame described above will not be charged tuition. Students who attend two or more sessions of a course and/or do not submit a request to drop a course according to the policy describe above will be charged tuition for the course and are not eligible to receive a refund.

Distance Learning

With the exception of field-based courses or field trips, the Executive Education courses are offered via real time webinar for students who are not based in the greater New York City area or students whose schedules do not allow them to attend course sessions in person on the Columbia University campus. Students must attend via webinar in real time (6:10 – 8:10 PM EST) and thus students should plan accordingly for any time differences.

The webinars are recorded; however, it is not recommended that a student take a course by only watching the recordings. Prior consent of the instructor is needed if a student’s schedule will not allow the student to participate in real time and the student is planning to only watch the webinar recordings for a given course.


EICES awards a certificate of completion to all students who satisfactorily complete the 12 courses required for the program. Students who complete the program for one track may pursue the second track. Courses taken towards the first track may be applied towards the requirements for the second track.

Student Accounts and Billing

UNI and LionMail
Upon accepting admission to the Executive Education Program, Columbia University will create a student account for the newly admitted student. Once the account is created, the student will receive an email with the instructions for activating their UNI and LionMail, the Columbia University email system. The UNI is used to access all electronic resources (e.g., LionMail, SSOL, library resources). All university-related correspondence, including billing information, is sent to students’ LionMail addresses. Thus, students enrolled in the program should regularly check their LionMail.

Student Services Online (SSOL) is the system students use to monitor their student account, register for courses, pay tuition and fees, view their course schedule, and view grades. Students should check their accounts regularly to make sure they are being charged the appropriate tuition and fees and to pay their bills on time.

Billing and Payments
Columbia does not issue paper bills. You must view your account in SSOL. In addition, Columbia University does not accept credit card payments. Please see the webpages below for information on paying your bill:
How to Pay Your Bill
Other Ways to Pay

Please see Columbia University’s billing schedule to ensure timely payment of tuition and fees. Late fees and a financial hold may be placed on a student’s account if bills are not paid on time. A financial hold will prevent a student from registering for courses.

Questions regarding billing and payments should be directed to Student Financial Services.

If you live in the greater New York City area and would like to obtain a student ID, the instructions for doing so are here.

It is recommend that students obtain their IDs in person at the Student ID Center in the basement of Kent Hall on the Columbia University Morningside Campus. Students can opt to have the card mailed to them.

The ID card allows students registered for courses to enter the libraries on campus. However, students can access the Columbia University electronic library resources with their UNI and password.

Please see the FAQ and contact EICES at eices@columbia.edu if you have questions regarding the program.