Admissions Requirements

All prospective students must apply using the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' (GSAS) online application. The GSAS Admissions Toolkit provides a wealth of information on all aspects of application process.


A completed application includes:

  • Transcripts of all previous post-secondary education
  • A personal statement of academic purpose
  • Three recent letters of recommendation
  • If applicable, an acceptable TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score
  • The application fee

*the GRE is no longer required when applying to our program


Completed Coursework:

Applicants should have at least one college year with a B or better in:

  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Physics (Calculus-based)


Students may be admitted without having completed coursework in all 3 disciplines but must be prepared to complete the required coursework soon after entrance. 

Columbia University courses that may satisfy deficiencies include the following examples:

CHEM 1403-1404 (General Chemistry)
CHEM 3443-3444 (Organic Chemistry)
EESC 4009 (Chemical Geology)
EESC 4924 (Atmospheric Chemistry)

PHYS 1201-1202 (General Physics, calculus pre-req)
EESC 4085 (Geodynamics)
EESC 4925 (Physical Oceanography)

MATH 1101, 1102 or 1201 (Calculus I, II or III)
APMA 3101 (Linear Algebra)
EESC 6908 (Quantitative Methods in Data Analysis)


A note to applicants:

If you think you don’t meet some requirement for admission but are passionate about the earth and environmental sciences and believe you could succeed here, please contact us.  On numerous occasions students lacking key background courses (math or chemistry for instance) are admitted and take those classes the summer before or during their first semester of enrollment.  Ambition and passion are the secret sauce we are looking for.