MS-EAEE, 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:

  • those related to anthropogenic climate change; and
  • 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:

  • 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
  • Skills for integrated risk assessment and management for operations and design, as well as for regional policy analysis and management.

Specific areas of interest for integrated risk assessment 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.


A total of 30 credits, including a 3-credit research course or a 6-credit thesis, are required. For students with a B.S. or a B.A., preferably with a science major, up to 48 points are required to allow for make-up undergraduate courses. Any changes should be done in consultation with the student’s advisor. For a list of classes please visit the Student Orientation booklet.

Guidelines for MS-EAEE Thesis

View the guidelines for writing a Master of Science Thesis in Earth and Environmental Engineering.