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Columbia University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 Oct 
International :01 Oct 

BS Earth and Environmental Engineering

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

218016 USD
218016 USD

Application fee

International 85 USD
National 85 USD
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
SAT (avg)1520
ACT (avg)34

World University Ranking

About this course

All undergraduates are offered a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth and Environmental Engineering (B.S.-EEE), which prepares students for a wide range of careers that value the Earth, its environment, and its resources. In addition to learning traditional environmental engineering topics related to pollution control, the B.S.-EEE degree provides exposure to a suite of emerging 21st-century problems associated with global sustainability. It is one of the first engineering programs of its kind to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The program consists of the following requirements:

  • Completion of the EEE–required core curriculum, which includes technical courses spanning all four years of the undergraduate program.
  • Completion of 18 credits (approximately six courses) of technical electives during the final two years, which must be approved by an EEE undergraduate advisor. Preapproved electives have been established for each of three undergraduate concentration areas offered.
  • Completion of the Columbia liberal arts core. This requirement is primarily satisfied during the first two years, although some nontechnical electives can be taken during the final two years.

3-2 Combined Plan B.A./B.S.

The Combined Plan is an educational affiliation between the School of Engineering and Applied Science of Columbia University and nearly one hundred liberal arts colleges, including Columbia College and Barnard College. The Combined Plan offers the following two options:

  • The 3-2 Program enables a student to devote three years to the study of liberal arts and sciences at one of these colleges before transferring to Columbia for two years of engineering studies. This five-year program leads to two degrees: the B.A. or other bachelor's degree from the student's first college, and a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering (or other engineering degree) from Columbia University.
  • The 4-2 program is designed for students who have completed their bachelor's degree at an affiliated liberal arts college and wish to complete a two-year engineering program leading to a master's degree in engineering from Columbia University.

The Combined Plan is one of the first dual-degree engineering programs in the U.S. and was instituted at Columbia University because it provides the perfect model for an engineering education. Students study broadly in the humanities, social sciences, arts, mathematics, and sciences before entering an intense program in an engineering or applied science discipline. The program is designed to give the student the best of both worlds: liberal arts and engineering. As a result, Combined Plan students have a reputation for excellence. EEE is an enthusiastic participant in this program, since a liberal arts background provides a valuable and broad context for understanding and appreciating the scope of 21st-century environmental problems. Each EEE undergraduate class typically consists of 25–50% 3-2 Combined Plan students, who generally do very well in the EEE undergraduate program.

Prospective students apply for admission to the School of Engineering and Applied Science using special Combined Plan application forms that are available from the pre-engineering liaison professor at your college, or from SEAS Undergraduate Admissions. There is no application fee. Applications to the program may be submitted at any time after completion of the sophomore year. However, the engineering curriculum is sequential, so students can be admitted only to the fall semester. Guaranteed admission is offered to students who satisfy a few basic requirements. Details are provided at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Combined Plan Web Site.

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Eligibility Criteria

Columbia University committee looks at a variety of factors to help us inform our decision on a candidate including:

  • The student’s curriculum and grades - we hope to see that a student is challenging herself or himself with a rigorous course load
  • The context of a particular candidate, including family circumstances, secondary school, community, interests and access to resources
  • The quality of a student’s involvement in activities beyond the classroom
  • The character and personality of a candidate, and the impact she or he will make on our diverse, residential campus
  • The candidate’s fit for the distinctive Columbia experience, which includes the Core Curriculum; a both traditionally collegiate and unmistakably urban campus life; and an Ivy League school where curious thinkers come to grow
  • Recommendations - which provide evidence of intellectual curiosity and promise, classroom and school and community participation, and overall potential for the candidate to make an impact at Columbia, in the classroom and beyond

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Course Modules

Earth and environmental engineering is an inherently broad and multidisciplinary field. Therefore the approach of the EEE curriculum is to expose students to multiple facets within this engineering specialty, while focusing in-depth on one of three particular problem areas that are of critical importance in the 21st century. A strong foundation in basic math/sciences and liberal arts is also an important part of the EEE curriculum, since these fundamentals are needed to understand and address the technical and socioeconomic aspects of all environmental problems.

The EEE curriculum also spans a broad spectrum of educational methods and research/professional experiences. Traditional lecture classes are complemented with physical laboratory and computer modeling components, and specific classes are devoted to laboratory and field methods relevant to EEE. A number of introductory and upper-level elective courses are taught using a project-team–oriented approach, with student groups working semester-long on a problem, or components of a larger problem in a studio setting. Service learning (i.e., learning by doing) is also strongly emphasized, via course projects, summer internships with local companies, undergraduate research opportunities, and the EEE senior design project.

First- And Second-Year Curriculum

Our first- and second-year curriculum is consistent with the Columbia SEAS and liberal arts core requirements. In addition, there are a number of EEE–specific math and science courses. More importantly, there are two courses taught by EEE faculty, which provide an early introduction to Earth and environmental engineering and continuity throughout the four-year EEE curriculum:

  • E1100: A Better Planet by Design. Scheduled for first-year spring semester. This is EEE’s professional-level course, so it is not required by the EEE program but highly recommended.
  • EAEE E2002: Alternative Energy Resources. Scheduled for second-year fall semester. This course is required by the EEE program.

Junior/Senior Curriculum

Our junior/senior–year curriculum consists of an intensive set of technical engineering courses, with the following objectives:

  • Build fundamental skills in applied math and sciences such as fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and statistics.
  • Understand traditional environmental engineering topics related to pollution control, transport, and remediation.
  • Introduce emerging 21st-century environmental engineering problems related to all three EEE concentration areas: Water Resources and Climate RisksSustainable Energy and Materials, and Environmental Health Engineering.
  • In-depth focus on one concentration area to be selected by the student, through technical electives.

Concentration Areas

Students select from one of three undergraduate concentration areas, each of which focuses on a particular problem area within EEE. A preapproved course sequence for each concentration is listed below, which includes two science courses during sophomore year (fall semester) and six technical elective courses during junior and senior years. Alternative courses within each concentration may be acceptable, but must be approved by a faculty advisor.

Water Resources and Climate Risks

  • PHYS C1403: Introduction to Classical and Quantum Waves (SEM III)
  • EESC V2100: Climate System (SEM III)
  • EAEE E4006: Field Methods for Environmental Engineering (SEM VI)
  • EAEE E4009: GIS for Resource, Environmental, and Infrastructure Management (SEM VII)
  • EAEE E4350: Planning and Management of Urban Hydrologic Systems (SEM VII)
  • EAEE E4257: Environmental Data Analysis and Modeling (SEM VIII)
  • ECIA W4100: Management and Development of Water Systems (SEM VIII)
  • CIEN E4257: Contaminant Transport in Subsurface Systems (SEM VIII)

Sustainable Energy and Materials

  • CHEM C3443: Organic Chemistry (SEM III)
  • EESC V2200: Solid Earth System (SEM III)
  • MECE E3311: Heat Transfer (SEM VI)
  • EAEE E4001: Industrial Ecology of Earth Resources (SEM VII)
  • EAEE E4900: Applied Transport and Chemical Rate Phenomena (SEM VII)
  • MECE E4302: Advanced Thermodynamics (SEM VIII)
  • EESC W3015: The Earth's Carbon Cycle (SEM VIII)
  • MECE E4211: Energy: Sources and Conversion (SEM VIII)

Environmental Health Engineering

  • CHEM C3443: Organic Chemistry (SEM III)
  • EESC V2100: Climate System (SEM III)
  • EAEE E4006: Field Methods for Environmental Engineering (SEM VI)
  • EAEE E4009: GIS for Resource, Environmental, and Infrastructure Management (SEM VII)
  • EHSC P6300: Environmental Health Sciences (SEM VII)
  • EAEE E4257: Environmental Data Analysis and Modeling (SEM VIII)
  • EAEE E4150: Air Pollution Prevention and Control (SEM VIII)
  • EHSC P6309: Biochemistry Basic to Environmental Health (SEM VIII)


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How to Apply

Please review the application instructions below carefully before beginning an application. Candidates must apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Applicants must submit only one complete application and Columbia does not preference one application over the other.

Please also be sure to review What Does Columbia Look For in a Candidate?

The following are required components of a complete first-year application for Fall 2017:

  • The Coalition Application or The Common Application, which both include questions specific to Columbia. The applications include:
    • Autobiographical information
    • $85 application fee or fee waiver request
    • Lists and descriptions of a student’s achievements, activities, employment and summer activities
    • Personal essay
    • Columbia-specific questions
  • Secondary School Report
    • An official high school transcript from all high schools attended
    • One high school counselor’s recommendation and school profile
    • The completed Mid-Year Report
  • Required Standardized Testing
    • SAT or the ACT
    • The appropriate SAT code is 2116 and the appropriate ACT code is 2717
    • English proficiency examination score (if necessary)
  • Two Teacher Recommendations
    • These recommendations must come from teachers who taught you in academic disciplines
    • For engineering applicants, one must come from a math or science teacher

Additional components of the application which may make it complete:

  • Supplementary materials
  • Optional interview with an alumnus/a

Please note that Columbia reserves the right to evaluate an application and render a final decision even if all pieces of the application have not been received.

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