Columbia University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B) Certificate provides college graduates who did not major in environmental biology the kind of academic experience that highly competitive graduate programs require, and is also useful for those interested in a career change.

This program is primarily designed to be part-time, with students completing the certificate in four to eight terms (including summers). If started in the summer term, the program can be completed in three intensive terms (one calendar year) on a full-time or near full-time basis.

A limited number of competitive research grants are available for admitted students that can provide up to $1,000 per student for independent lab or field research. Proposals for these grants, which are subject to review by a departmental committee, are evaluated on their research merit, tractability, and educational benefit to the student.

New York City-based institutions, including EcoHealth Alliance, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and the New York Botanical Garden, offer research opportunities in affiliation with the E3B program.


The curriculum develops competency in the core sciences related to environmental biology – chemistry, biology, earth sciences, statistics, and conservation biology. Students will also take two advanced classes in ecology, evolution, organismal biology, or environmental policy.

The E3B Certificate includes:

  • Two courses in Biology (including population, community, and ecosystem biology)—EEEB UN2001 and EEEB UN2002 recommended
  • Two courses in Chemistry (can be substituted with one intensive chemistry course)—CHEM UN1403 and CHEM UN1404 recommended
  • One course in environmental science (climate)—EESC UN2100 recommended
  • One course in statistics—EEEB UN3005 recommended
  • One course in conservation biology—EEEB UN 3087 recommended
  • Two additional environmental biology electives—advanced biology courses (3000 level or higher) with an environmental focus; generally these courses are listed with EEEB, EESC, BIOL, or BIOL BC prefixes

This curriculum can be adjusted for students who have already taken one or two of the basic courses. Students are required to maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 (B). Every course creditable toward the certificate must be taken for a letter grade. Courses with a grade below a C will not count toward the completion of the certificate. Students who successfully complete the prescribed curriculum are awarded a Certificate in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. (Precise point total can vary, depending on student’s experience.)

Apply here for Fall or Spring. To apply for Summer, visit the Columbia Summer website.