Atmospheric Science faculty and graduate students engage in a wide range of atmospheric research, with specializations that include climate variability, numerical modeling, atmospheric dynamics, mesoscale and synoptic meteorology, air-pollution meteorology, and data analytics. Our program is an excellent place for graduate study because of our research excellence, close collaboration between faculty and students, friendly environment, and open-door policy for questions.

The Atmospheric Science M.S. program is a thesis-based program that is designed to prepare students for employment in weather, climate, or data-driven fields, or for continued study in pursuit of the Ph.D. The M.S. program typically requires two years to complete for students entering with a B.S. in Atmospheric Science or a related discipline. Students are typically supported as either Research or Teaching Assistantships.

Though it can be intimidating to do so, we highly encourage all prospective graduate students to reach out to the faculty members who do research in the areas of greatest interest to you. This does not have to be very formal: an e-mail that introduces yourself and lets us know that you are interested in learning more about our graduate programs is a great starting point! Reaching out helps you get more information about our program, learn more about potential research opportunities, start to determine if one of us would be a good fit for you as a mentor, and ask any questions about the application process that you might have.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  • A general background in both physics and mathematics, including calculus and ordinary differential equations. Students who lack this background may be admitted if the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses. Deficiencies must be made up within the first three enrolled semesters of graduate study.
  • Submission of a Reason Statement. Statements are used to determine the appropriateness of your educational and professional goals and serves as an example of your ability to express yourself in writing. Your reason statement should include:

  1. your reasons for pursuing graduate study
  2. your specific background interests and background in the field
  3. any relevant skills or training you've acquired
  4. any academic awards or honors you have received
  5. the name(s) of faculty members with whom your research interests most closely align


Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Credits and Courses

Students enrolled in the MS in Atmospheric Science degree program must complete a total of thirty (30) credits.

Select 9 credits at the ATM SCI or FRSHWTR 700-level or greater9
Select 6 credits in approved graduate elective courses6
Select one of the following:6
Advanced Engineering Mathematics I
and Advanced Engineering Mathematics II
Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences
and Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences II: Signal Detection
Complete 9 thesis credits:9
Master's Thesis
Total Credits30

Students receiving financial support from the School of Freshwater Sciences must enroll in a minimum of fifteen (15) credits offered by the department during each academic year.

Courses in Atmospheric Science that may be taken for graduate credit are listed below.

ATM SCI 330Air-Pollution Meteorology3
ATM SCI 350Atmospheric Thermodynamics3
ATM SCI 351Dynamic Meteorology I3
ATM SCI 352Dynamic Meteorology II3
ATM SCI 360Synoptic Meteorology I4
ATM SCI 361Synoptic Meteorology II4
ATM SCI 460Mesoscale Circulations3
ATM SCI 464Physical Meteorology: Cloud Physics3
ATM SCI 470Tropical Meteorology3
ATM SCI 480The General Circulation and Climate Dynamics3
ATM SCI 497Study Abroad: (subtitled)3
ATM SCI 500Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences3
ATM SCI 505Micrometeorology3
ATM SCI 511Seminar in Atmospheric Radiation and Remote Sensing3
ATM SCI 600Data Analytics3
ATM SCI 690Seminar in Atmospheric Sciences:3
ATM SCI 700Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences II: Signal Detection3
ATM SCI 705Air Pollution Modeling3
ATM SCI 711Cloud Dynamics3
ATM SCI 730Numerical Weather Prediction3
ATM SCI 750Nonlinear Time Series Analysis3
ATM SCI 761Advanced Synoptic/Mesoscale Meteorology3
ATM SCI 950Seminar on Topics in Atmospheric Sciences:3
ATM SCI 990Master's Thesis1-8
ATM SCI 997Doctoral Externship1-12
ATM SCI 998Doctoral Dissertation1-12
ATM SCI 999Advanced Independent Reading1-4

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations.


Prior to graduation, students, under the direction of a major professor and supervision of a three-member evaluation committee comprised of Atmospheric Science graduate faculty, must complete and orally defend an acceptable thesis. An acceptable thesis is defined as one representing an original contribution in the atmospheric science of sufficient caliber for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Time Limit

Entering full-time students without deficiencies are expected to complete all degree requirements within two years of first enrollment. All degree requirements must be completed within five years of first enrollment.