Future Students

The Department of Atmospheric Sciences offers programs of graduate study leading to the degrees of Master of Sciences (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Ph.D. students can elect to pursue a Data Science Option or Advanced Data Science Option. The Department also cooperates in offering studies leading to certificates in climate science with the Program on Climate Change and Astrobiology Program and under less formal arrangements with other degree-granting units on campus.

While the graduate program has no specific prerequisites, it is generally recommended that at least two years of mathematics (beginning with calculus and going through differential equations) be taken prior to applying for admission into the program, as well as one and one half years of calculus based physics. Other courses in mathematics, computer science and the various physical sciences would also be appropriate, depending upon a student’s interest in a specific aspect of the atmospheric sciences. (A student interested in atmospheric chemistry might, for example, take additional courses in chemistry).

Research assistantships are available for graduate students working towards advanced degrees. Graduate students are required to serve as Teaching Assistants for one or two quarters. The first quarter in which a student serves as a TA usually occurs during their second graduate year. Normally, research assistantships may be held for up to three years for the M.S. Program and six years for the Ph.D. Program.

After admission into the program, each student must confer with the Graduate Program Coordinator prior to registration for the first quarter. Full-time students normally register for 18 credits (including research and seminar credits) in each quarter of the first year.

For most students, the first year of graduate study is devoted largely to basic courses in atmospheric sciences and mathematical methods. Research projects and graduate courses in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences are closely related, and the well-prepared graduate student may expect to begin research work rather quickly. Virtually all advanced students devote at least half-time to research that may include experimental laboratory work, observations in the field, data analysis, numerical simulation, and mathematical analysis.

Graduate students entering the Department of Atmospheric Sciences will be assigned a primary faculty advisor. A supervisory committee will be established with the primary faculty advisor as chairman, by the end of the first year in residence.

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