In Depth

Columbia Dual Degree Program Put on Hold

 By Allison J. Waldman

After 13 years and a plethora of published work by graduates, Columbia University is suspending its dual master’s degree program in Earth and environmental science journalism.

The program will not be accepting applications for 2010 — yet another victim of the economic times.
Marguerite Holloway, co-director of the program with Kim Kastens, said they decided to suspend the program to assess and restructure it after they determined that the economics of getting two degrees was proving prohibitive for students.

“The two-year commitment of master’s-level education at Columbia and living in New York City is very expensive,” Holloway said, noting that applications are up 40 percent in the one-year journalism program.

All hope is not lost, however, for the dual master’s degree program, which was designed to educate science writers who could act as intermediaries between those with the knowledge and those with the need to know.

“We’re going to try to find some more creative mechanisms for funding,” Holloway said. “We’ve had a lot of queries about it and we’ve encouraged people to check back with us next fall.”