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E3B’s Postbaccalaureate Program

The Postbaccalaureate Program in Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology is designed for college graduates who did not major in environmental biology (or a related field) but who wish to pursue graduate training in the field. This program is offered in conjunction with the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University.
The curriculum is structured to provide the kind of academic experience that highly competitive graduate programs require of their students. In particular, the program 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 program is tailored to give motivated students the opportunity to make their applications highly competitive.
This program is primarily designed to be a part-time program, with students completing a 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. All enrolled students receive individualized advising, including assistance with applications to graduate programs.
For more information on the Postbaccalaureate Program in the School of Professional Studies, click here.

Curriculum & Courses

The curriculum comprising the E3B Certificate Program is flexible and can be tailored to students’ individual needs and career goals, taking into account their previous academic background. Recommended courses for those with no prior training in science are:

Two courses in Biology (including population, community, and ecosystem biology)

Two courses in Chemistry (can be substituted with one intensive chemistry course)

One course in environmental science (climate)

One course in statistics

One course in conservation biology

Two additional environmental biology electives

The curriculum can be adjusted for students who have already taken one or two of the basic courses or equivalent courses at other institutions.


Students in the Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology Certificate Program are advised by the Office of Student Affairs and by the Postbac Advisor at E3B. The structured support system offers guidance on course options, professional and graduate school preparation, and career advising.

For additional questions on admissions or student affairs, please see the Columbia School of Professional Studies web page.

Academic Advisor to Enrolled Students, TBA

Faculty Advisor to Enrolled Students, Matthew Palmer

Postbac Research

Research is essential for postbac students. Early exposure to research opportunities gives postbac students a competitive edge when applying to graduate school and helps them to better understand the research process.

The E3B department partners with the American Museum of Natural History, New York Botanical Gardens, The Wildlife Conservation Society and the EcoHealthAlliance to form a large consortium comprised of some of the most prestigious research scientists in New York City.

By enrolling in the E3B postbac program, students will have a unique opportunity to compete for small grants to initiate their research with projects with scientists within Columbia University or at any of the aforementioned institutions.

The Postbac Summer Research Grant Program information will be posted shortly. Please check back!


Q. I have completed an introductory Biology course at another institution; do I have to do Biology again at Columbia?

A. The program recognizes prior qualifications from other institutions as long as they provide the equivalent learning outcomes, and in many cases, you will not need to complete additional programs. Check with the faculty advisor.

Q. Can I do a Biology or Chemistry course at another college and have it count toward my Certificate?

A. You are welcome to complete fundamental required courses at other colleges to gain your pre-requisites for some E3B courses, but these will not count towards the total course number required to complete the Certificate or Advanced Certificate.

Q. I am planning to apply for graduate school after the program, and the school I want to get in to is more policy-based and does not require Chemistry. Do I have to do Chemistry to get the Certificate?

A. Your faculty advisor can work with you to tailor the sequence of courses to your needs. In many cases, this will result in a course sequence very different from that listed above, which is fine.

Q. I did not do any ecology in my undergraduate degree; will this program be too difficult for me?

A. The best course of action would be for you to take the recommended sequence of courses, which build from fundamental knowledge of biology, chemistry, and statistics into applied ecology courses. Many successful E3B postbac students have come into the program with no Biology at all.

Semester Schedules


Research Seminars and Student Seminars are important weekly events in Department E3B. On Tuesdays, invited researchers, Columbia faculty and graduating E3B Ph.D. students present their work. On Thursdays, E3B M.A. and Ph.D. students give brief presentations of their work in progress.

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