Earth and Environmental Engineering Master's Degree

Online Program Overview

Degree Level
Master's Degree
Total Credits
Fully Online
Contact Us
Minimum GPA
Qualifying Exam
GRE Required

The sustainability of human society on Earth is likely to be one of the dominant challenges of the 21st century. Continued population growth, coupled with urbanization and industrialization throughout the globe, has resulted in rapid consumption of our natural resources, extensive waste production, environmental degradation, threats to human health, and climate change. Much has been said about these problems, but thus far not enough has been done. Needed are better engineering solutions for a sustainable planet.

The Columbia University Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering (EEE) strives to develop effective solutions to these complex and multidisciplinary problems, reconciling a deep concern for the environment with the needs of our global industrialized society. Our central theme is the conscientious stewardship of our finite natural resources, namely minerals, fuels, energy, water, and land. EEE maintains the Henry Krumb School of Mines' longstanding tradition of responsibly providing essential materials to society, while pioneering important new environmental initiatives.

EEE now offers the 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. The focus of the 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 must complete 30 credits of graduate level coursework and can choose a pace that allows them to complete the MS requirements while being employed.

The department also offers the professional degree, Engineer of Mines, for engineers who wish to do advanced work beyond the level of the M.S. degree but who do not desire to emphasize research. For more information:

"(CVN's distribution/ technical staff) is exceptionally good. (They appear) to be totally student-centric and designed to motivate the students (and) serve as a model for other institutions offering distance education."
Ram Seshan, Hewlett Packard

Admissions Requirements

Degree required for admission: Students admitted to the program must possess an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, mathematics, computer science or other related field (subject to the approval of the Earth and Environmental Engineering Program) from an accredited academic institution. Applicants should have a strong undergraduate record to be competitive for admission.

GPA required: Minimum of 3.0 

GRE requirements: General test required 

Other application requirements: 3 recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required.  If you have not earned a degree from an undergraduate or graduate institution in which the instructional language was English, you may be required to take the TOEFL/IELTS. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application. 



Students must complete all core courses (described below) and selected electives (described below) for a total of 30 graduate points of academic work via CVN with an academic average of 2.5 or better. All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of the beginning of the first course credited toward the degree. This includes courses taken in the non-degree program.

Course List


Core Courses (12 credits):

The core courses provide a student with a foundation in the fundamentals of Earth and Environmental Engineering. The core courses contribute 12 points of graduate credit toward the degree. Students must complete four of the following seven courses:

  • CHEE E4252: Introduction to Surface and Colloid Chemistry
  • EAEE E4003: Introduction to Aquatic Chemistry
  • EAEE E4200: Introduction to Sustainable Mineral Production
  • EAEE E4550: Catalysis for Emissions Control
  • EAEE E4901: Environmental Microbiology
  • EAEE E6208: Combustion Chemistry and Processes
  • ECIA W4100: Management and Development of Water Systems

Elective courses (9 credits):

In addition to the required four Core Earth and Environmental Engineering courses listed above, students will need to complete three additional courses from the courses listed below for a total of nine credits in Earth & Environmental Engineering or related fields such as Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering. Approved courses that will fulfill this category of course requirements include (but are not limited to) the following classes. Additional courses not listed below can be applicable towards this requirement, subject to the approval of the faculty advisor. All of the courses below have already been recorded by CVN.

  • APPH E4090: Nanotechnology
  • CHEE E4050: Principles of Industrial and Environmental Electrochemistry
  • CHEE E4530: Corrosion of Metals
  • CHEE E6252: Applied Surface and Colloid Chemistry
  • CHEN E4010: Chemical Process Analysis
  • CIEE E4252: Environmental Engineering
  • EAEE E4160: Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
  • EAEE E4190: Photovoltaic Systems Engineering
  • EAEE E4950: Environmental Biochemical Processes
  • EAIA W4200: Alternative Energy Resources
  • MSAE E4215: Mechanical Behavior of Structural Materials
  • MSAE E4132: Fundamentals of Polymers and Ceramics


  • MSAE E4250: Ceramics and Composites
  • MSAE E4202: Thermodynamics and Reactions in Solids
  • MSAE E4206: Electronic and Magnetic Properties of Solids
  • APMA E4001: Principles of Applied Mathematics
  • APMA E4200: Partial Differential Equations

Free Electives (9 credits):

A student must select three elective courses for a total of 9 points of graduate credit. These elective courses allow the student to pick subjects from a variety of areas within the Engineering School to complement the core program. The determination of which courses are applicable towards the elective requirements is subject to the approval of the faculty advisor.

Tuition & Fees

2023–2024 Tuition & Fees

Please note that all tuition and fees are in U.S. dollars and are estimated. Tuition and most fees are prescribed by statute and are subject to change at the discretion of the Trustees.

CVN Credit Tuition: $2,462.00 per point (Credit Hour)
CVN Fee: $395 non-refundable fee per course
Transcript Fee: $105 non-refundable one-time fee
Tuition Deposit: $1,000 (More information on our Resources page)

Estimated cost of one nondegree course: $7,886.00
Estimated total cost of certification (four courses): $31,229.00

Estimated total cost of MS (ten courses): $77,915.00
*Estimated total cost of DES (ten courses plus a minimum of 12 research credits): $108,249.00

Graduate Admission Application Fee: $85 non-refundable one-time fee 
Certification Program Application Fee: $85 non-refundable one-time fee 

Late Registration Fee: $100 non-refundable fee

CVN Withdrawal Fee: $75, plus prorated tuition and all non-refundable fees
For example: A three-credit course would be $7,781 + transcript fee $105 (one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $7,886

*Assumes DES student enrolls in two six-credit research courses.

For Drop/Withdrawal fees and dates, refer to the Academic Calendar for the current term.

Please note: CVN no longer offers courses for audit.

Payment should be mailed to:

Attn: Shewanna House
Accounting & Business Management
Senior Student Services Rep
Payments & Deposits
210 Kent Hall, Mail Code 9205
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Before you mail your check or money order, please take careful note of the following requirements to ensure the timely processing of your payment:

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