MS-ERE, Water Resources and Climate Risks Concentration

Climate-induced risk is a significant component of decision making for the planning, design and operation of water resource systems, and related sectors such as energy, health, agriculture, ecological resources, and natural hazards control. Climatic uncertainties can be broadly classified into two areas:

  1. those related to anthropogenic climate change; and
  2. those related to seasonal-to- century-scale natural variations.

The climate change issues impact the design of physical, social, and financial infrastructure systems to support the sectors listed above. The climate variability and predictability issues impact systems operation, and hence design. The goal of the M.S. concentration in Water Resources and Climate Risks is to provide:

  1. A capacity for understanding and quantifying the projections for climate change and variability in the context of decisions for water resources and related sectors of impact; and
  2. Skills for integrated risk assessment and management for operations and design, as well as for regional policy analysis and management. Specific areas of interest include:
    • Numerical and statistical modeling of global and regional climate systems and attendant uncertainties
    • Methods for forecasting seasonal to interannual climate variations and their sectoral impacts
    • Models for design and operation of water resource systems, considering climate and other uncertainties
    • Integrated risk assessment and management across water resources and related sectors


The M.S. concentration in Water Resources and Climate Risks is aimed at professionals working in or interested in careers in the application of quantitative risk management methods in any of the sectors listed above. The program is particularly appropriate for engineers and planners who are interested in continuing education in climate and risk management with an interest in water resources. Employment opportunities are anticipated with engineering consultants; federal, state, and local resource management, environmental regulation, hazard management, and disease control agencies; the insurance and financial risk management industry; and international development and aid agencies. A complementary degree (master of arts in climate and society) is available through Columbia University for students who are more directly interested in social or planning aspects of climate impacts, and are not quantitatively oriented.


Required Classes

  • EAEE E4257: Environmental data analysis and modeling
  • EAEE E6240: Physical Hydrology
  • CIEE E4163: Sustainable water treatment and reuse


A minimum of 1 class is required from each group below. Selections should be made in consultation with the student’s advisor. A suggested program is shown with the courses in bold.

Group A: Data Analysis and Solution Techniques

  • EAEE E4009: Geographic information systems for resource, environment, and infrastructure management
  • EAEE E6210: Quantitative environmental risk analysis
  • APMA E4300: Numerical methods
  • STAT W4419: Decision analysis
  • STAT W4437: Time series analysis
  • STAT G6101: Statistical modeling for data analysis
  • EESC W4401: Quantitative models of climate-sensitive natural and human systems
  • EESC W4950: Mathematical methods in the Earth sciences
  • EESC G6908: Quantitative methods of data analysis

Group B: Applied Sciences

  • EAEE E4001: Industrial ecology of Earth resources
  • EAEE E4150: Air pollution prevention and control
  • EAEE E4160: Solid and hazardous waste management
  • EAEE E4900: Applied transport and chemical rate phenomena
  • EAEE E4901: Environmental microbiology
  • EAEE E6140: Environmental Physicochemical Processes
  • CIEE E4252: Environmental engineering
  • EESC W4400: Dynamics of climate variability and climate change
  • CIEE E4257: Contaminant transport in subsurface systems
  • APPH E4210: Geophysical fluid dynamics
  • EESC W4030: Climatic change
  • EESC W4404: Regional climate and climate impacts
  • EESC W4925: Principles of physical oceanography
  • EESC W4930: Earth’s oceans and atmosphere
  • EESC G6921: Atmospheric dynamics
  • EESC G6928: Tropical meteorology
  • ENME 4332: Finite element analysis
  • IENME 4363: Multiscale computational science and engineering
  • MSPH P8475: Emerging infectious disease
  • EAEE P6329: Water, sanitation and human health
  • IEOR 4004: Introduction to Operations Research: Deterministic Models
  • IEOR 4106: Introduction to Operations Research: Stochastic Models

Group C: Socioeconomic Decision Making

  • EAEE E4100: Management and development of water systems
  • EAEE E4361: Economics of Earth resource industries (alternate years)
  • CIEN E4133: Capital facility planning and financing
  • CIEN E4140x Environmental, health and safety concepts in construction processes
  • EESC G4402/3: Integrative seminar: managing climate variability and adapting to climate change
  • ECON E4329: Economics of sustainable development
  • ECONW4625: Economics of the environment
  • MSPH P8325: Risk assessment, management and communication
  • MSPH P8380: Urban environmental planning: the basis in public health
  • MSPH P9317: Case studies in risk assessment and environmental policy

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