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Public Affairs and Sustainable Futures

The Public Affairs and Sustainable Futures Focus Area is designed for students who are interested in the fast-paced world of the public sector. It’s also perfect for career pivoters interested in current events and those completing courses in preparation for graduate studies in the political sciences, law, and related fields.

Working with dedicated advisors to create a customized curriculum, visiting students have the opportunity to take curated courses in anthropology, English, history, human rights, international affairs, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, and more. Students enroll in two courses that can be completed in either one or two six-week sessions. Those who complete two courses in the Public Affairs and Sustainable Futures Focus Area will receive a Certification of Participation and a Columbia University transcript.

Columbia’s theory-meets-practice model pairs coursework with subject-specific co-curriculars for students in the Public Affairs and Sustainable Futures Focus Area.

Co-curricular activities may include:

  • Site visit to the New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island
  • Attending a lecture on the future of sustainability hosted by Bloomberg’s Climate & Environment Program
  • Site visit to the United Nations

Visiting students study alongside matriculated students at Columbia University and have the same access to top faculty at Columbia’s School of Arts & Sciences academic departments. In Summer Session B, students can also take advantage of on-campus housing and join a Living and Learning Community. This holistic program provides students a one-of-a-kind learning experience, offering the chance to study in the only Ivy League university in New York City while connecting with a cohort of like-minded peers.



  • ANTH1002S 001 Interpretation of Culture
  • ANTH2724S 001 Anthropology of Climate Change
  • ANTH3465UN 001 Women and Gender Politics in the Muslim World


  • ASTR1403S 001 Earth, Moon, and Planets

Earth and Environmental Sciences

  • EESC1004S 001 Dinosaurs and the History of the World

Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology

  • EEEB1001S 001 Biodiversity
  • EEEB1115S 001 The Life Aquatic
  • EEEB3015S 001 Animal Behavior Thru Fieldwork
  • EEEB4340W 001 Human Adaptation


  • HIST3428S 001 US Presidency from Washington to Trump
  • HIST3455S 001 Global History of the US Military
  • HIST4981S 001 From Marx to May ‘68: Revolution and Radical Politics

Human Rights

  • HRTS4010S 001 Indigenous Rights and Settler Colonialism in North America
  • HRTS4020S 001 Introduction to Human Rights
  • HRTS4050W 001 Young People, Human Rights, Gun Violence
  • HRTS4185S 001 Human Rights and Global Economic Justice
  • HRTS4215S 001 NGOs and the Human Rights Movement
  • HRTS4220S 001 International Human Rights Law

International Affairs

  • INTL6540S001 The UN & World Politics
  • INTL6552S 001 United Nations & Human Rights
  • INTL6559S 001 UN & Maintenance of Intl Peace
  • INTL6569S 001 UN and Development
  • INTL6572S 001 Comparative Foreign Policy
  • INTL6795S 001 US Foreign Policy
  • INTL6797S 001 Special Operations & National Security
  • INTL6800S 001 International Relations: Theory & Concepts
  • INTL6801S 001 East Asian Security

Political Science

  • POLS1101S 001 Intro to Political Theory
  • POLS1201S 001 Intro to American Government & Politics
  • POLS1601S 001 Intro to International Relations
  • POLS3108S D01 Democracy: Theory and Practice
  • POLS3116S 001 Borders and Immigration
  • POLS3210W 001 Judicial Politics
  • POLS3527S 001 Contemporary European Politics
  • POLS3628S 001 Advances in International Political Economy
  • POLS3720S 001 Scope & Methods
  • POLS3919UN 001 Seminar in Political Theory: Environment and Climate Justice
  • POLS4811S 001 Global Energy: Security and Geopolitics
  • POLS4832S 001 Strategic Intelligence


  • SOCI1000S 001 Social World
  • SOCI2220S 001 Evaluation of Evidence
  • SOCI3225S 001 Sociology of Education
  • SOCI3671S 001 Media, Culture and Society

Sustainability Management

  • SUMA4147K 001 Water and Resources

Visiting Student Admissions

Visit the Admissions page to review program requirements and deadlines or to start your application.

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