Earth and Environmental Engineering

Henry Krumb School of Mines
918 S. W. Mudd, MC 4711
Phone: 212-854-2905

Earth and Environmental Engineering at the Henry Krumb School of Mines fosters excellence in education and research for the development and application of science and technology to maximize the quality of life for all, through the sustainable use and responsible management of Earth’s resources. The department strives to provide education and carry out research that underpins the sustainable and equitable utilization of Earth's material, water, and energy resources at a scale that is beneficial to society. By leveraging cross-disciplinary opportunities afforded by the range of academic work in the department and the University, we tackle complex challenges that exist across the natural materials-water-energy-climate network of interdependencies. 


The Earth and Environmental Engineering program fosters education and research in the development and application of technology for the sustainable development, use, and integrated management of Earth’s resources. Resources are identified as minerals, energy, water, air, and land, as well as the physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment. There is close collaboration with other engineering disciplines, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, and other Columbia Earth Institute units.


The department is the direct lineage of the School of Mines of Columbia University, which was the first mining and metallurgy school in the U.S. (1864). It became the foundation for Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science and later the home of the Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Mineral Engineering. However, the title "School of Mines" was retained by Columbia University honoris causa. You can see the bronze statue of The Metallurgist (Le Marteleur) in front of Columbia's Mudd Hall that was named after an alumnus of the School of Mines.

One century after its formation, the School of Mines was renamed Henry Krumb School of Mines (HKSM) in honor of the generous alumnus of the School of Mines and his wife, Lavon Duddleson Krumb. HKSM has been a leader in mining and metallurgy research and education, including the first mining handbook by Professor Peel, the first mineral processing handbook by Professor Taggart, and other pioneering work in mineral benefaction, chemical thermodynamics, kinetics, transport phenomena in mineral extraction and processing, ecological and environmentally responsible mining, and pursuit of state-of-the-art research advancing responsible use of our earth resources. The Henry Krumb School of Mines located in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science offers students interested in mining and metallurgy the opportunity to focus their studies in these fields within the department of Earth and Environmental Engineering.

In 1986, HKSM was designated by Governor Cuomo as the mining and Mineral Resources Research Institute of the State of New York.


With the creation of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, a major initiative in the study of Earth, its environment and society, the traditional programs of HKSM in mining, mineral processing, and extractive metallurgy were expanded in the late nineties to encompass environmental concerns related to the use of materials, energy and water resources, and to reflect one of nine departments of SEAS with a focus on the development and application of technology for the sustainable development, use and integrated management of Earth's resources.

As a result of the vast developments in the technologies and fields of environmental management, in 1996 and 1998, respectively, the engineering school created the M.S. program in Earth Resources Engineering and the B.S. program in Earth and Environmental Engineering to meet the needs of a changed society. Students interested in the traditional disciplines of mining, mineral engineering and metallurgy continue to study these fields through the Earth and Environmental Engineering department course offerings as well as the course offerings through the Material Science and Engineering program.

The B.S. program in Earth and Environmental Engineering was initiated in the fall of 1998 to replace the mining/ mineral/extractive metallurgy programs of HKSM and is now accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

The department builds upon this legacy every year through its core class and unofficial motto, "A Better Planet By Design," bringing together:

  • water conservation, allocation, and decontamination
  • minerals, metals, and materials processing, extraction, and reuse
  • waste and pollution prevention, mitigation and management
  • renewable energy and carbon management 

By bridging engineering scales from colloidal interfaces to resource distribution, the department now considers resource development both on Earth and off, with a new effort in space mining.

The EEE program warmly welcomes Combined Plan students. An EEE minor is offered to all Columbia engineering students who wish to enrich their academic record by concentrating some of their technical electives on Earth/ Environment subjects.


Center for Advanced Materials for Energy and Environment. The Center develops advanced materials to address challenges for closing the energy loop, carbon loop, and water loop.  

Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA). The Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA) provides a framework for quantifying the potential environmental impacts of material and energy inputs and outputs of a process or product from “cradle to grave.” For more information, visit the website

Columbia Climate School. For more information, visit the website.

Columbia Electrochemical Energy Center (CEEC). For more information, visit the website

Columbia Water Center. The Center was established in 2008 to address issues of Global Water Security. For more information, visit the website.

Earth Engineering Center (EEC). EEC has concentrated on advancing the goals of sustainable waste management in the U.S. and globally. For more information, visit the website.

Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Particulate and Surfactant Systems (CPaSS). The goals of CPaSS are to perform industrially relevant research to address the technological needs in commercial surfactant and polymer systems, develop new and more efficient surface-active reagents for specific applications in the industry and methodologies for optimizing their performance, promote the use of environmentally benign surfactants in a wide array of technological processes, and build a resource center to perform and provide stateof- the-art facilities for characterization of surface-active reagents. For more information, visit the website.

Langmuir Center for Colloids and Interfaces (LCCI).This center brings together experts from mineral engineering, applied chemistry, chemical engineering, biological sciences, and chemistry to probe complex interactions of colloids and interfaces with surfactants and macromolecules.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO). For more information, visit the website.

Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy. The mission of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE) is to advance science and develop innovative technologies that provide sustainable energy for all humanity while maintaining the stability of Earth's natural systems. For more information, visit this website.

The Earth Institute. For more information, visit the website


The department arranges for undergraduate summer internships after the sophomore and junior years. Undergraduates can also participate in graduate research projects under the work-study program. Graduate research and teaching assistantships, as well as fellowships funded by the Department, are available to qualified graduate students. GRE scores are required of all applicants for graduate studies.