About Us

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences shares staff and facilities with Columbia University's world renowned research institution, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The Department and the Observatory work as partners to understand how planet Earth works, in all of its physical manifestations. Together, we are scientifically renowned throughout the world for our problem-solving innovation, our unique geological and climatological archives, and the outstanding achievements of our graduates. Our scientists observe the Earth on a global scale, from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of the atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean. We decipher the long record of the past, monitor the present, and seek to foresee the future of the planet. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, nonrenewable resources, environmental hazards and beyond, our fundamental challenge is to provide an adequate and rational basis for the difficult choices faced by civilization in its stewardship of our fragile planet.

Through Columbia College, the Department offers undergraduate majors and concentrations in both Earth Science and Environmental Science, as well as a selection of elective courses that fulfill the College's science distribution requirement.

Through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Department offers a Ph.D. degree in Earth & Environmental Sciences with opportunities to specialize in aqueous and environmental geochemistry, atmospheric science, biogeoscience, climate science, geology, marine geology and geophysics, paleoclimatology and paleoceanography, paleontology, physical oceanography, seismology and solid earth geophysics, and solid earth geochemistry. The atmospheric science program is conducted in partnership with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and with Columbia's department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (APAM). The paleontology program is conducted in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History. Admission to the Ph.D. program is on a competitive basis, with virtually all students receiving full financial support. Students typically take 5 to 6 years to complete the program.

In addition to the Ph.D. degree, the Department offers a twelve-month terminal M.A. program in Climate and Society in coordinatination with the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

The Department has facilities in Schermerhorn Hall on Columbia's main campus in Morningside Heights, Manhattan, and on the Lamont campus, located about 15 miles north of Morningside in Palisades, NY. The Schermerhorn facilities mainly support the undergraduate program. The Lamont facilities mainly support the graduate program and research activities. The University provides regular shuttle bus service between the Morningside and Lamont campuses.