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Curriculum

Our MS/PhD program immerses students in the fundamentals of atmospheric and oceanic science in preparation to complete a significant research project with their advisor.

The MS/PhD program core courses are arranged in three areas:

Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans

610 Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans I (Fall)
611 Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans II (Spring)

Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere

620 Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere I (Fall)
621 Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere II (Spring)

Climate and Earth System Science

680 Introduction to Earth System Science (Fall)
617 Atmospheric and Oceanic Climate (Spring)


After completing the core coursework, students take the comprehensive examinations (consisting of a written and an oral section) and must successfully pass to advance toward degree completion.

Master’s students then complete a scholarly paper or thesis. PhD students deliver a prospectus outlining the scientific goals of their research and schedule a specialty examination. After passing, PhD students advance to candidacy and complete their dissertation.

In addition to the six core courses, students take elective classes and attend weekly seminars featuring invited speakers who discuss their research. The elective classes vary by semester, but a complete listing of possible courses can be viewed here.

Master’s students must take at least 12 additional credits beyond the core courses (three of which can be credits for completing research) while PhD students must take at least 12 additional credits plus 12 more research credits.

Full-time MS students typically take two years to complete their degree; full-time PhD students typically take five years.


Elective Courses

Elective courses offered within AOSC

  • 600 Synoptic meteorology I
  • 601 Synoptic meteorology II
  • 602 Mesoscale meteorology
  • 614 Atmospheric modeling, data assimilation and predictability
  • 615 Advanced data assimilation for the Earth Sciences
  • 624 Remote Sensing of Climate
  • 625 Remote sensing of the atmosphere
  • 630 Statistics in meteorology and oceanography
  • 633 Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate
  • 634 Air sampling analysis (lab for AOSC 637)
  • 637 Atmospheric chemistry
  • 640 Micrometeorology
  • 658 Special Topics in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • 670 Physical Oceanography
  • 671 Air-Sea Interaction
  • 684 Climate System Modeling
  • 685 Global Climate Change
  • 798 Master's non-thesis Research
  • 799 Master's thesis Research
  • 899 Doctoral Dissertation Research

Suggested elective courses from other departments

  • CHEM 474 Environmental chemistry
  • CHEM 723 Marine Geochemistry
  • GEOG 482 Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG 625 Advanced Climatology
  • GEOG 639D Seminar: Geographic Perspectives in Earth System Science
  • GEOL 452 Watershed and Wetland Hydrology
  • GEOL 614 Thermodynamics of geological processes
  • GEOL 652 Advanced Watershed and Wetland Hydrology
  • MEES 661 Physics of estuarine and marine environments