Degree of Master of Science in Atmospheric Sciences


Objective:  The program leading to the degree of Master of Sciences is intended to enable students to grow with this field throughout their scientific careers, to recognize and understand new concepts, and to master new procedures as they emerge in the literature.

Achievement of this objective requires that students understand the fundamental principles of physics that are relevant to the atmosphere, acquire a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of atmospheric properties and behavior, and develop critical facilities.


M.S. Requirements

1.  A minimum of 36 quarter credits (27 graded course credits and a minimum of 9 credits of thesis) must be presented, of which at least 3 credits must be in approved applied mathematics courses and 24 must be in atmospheric sciences courses numbered above 500 (exclusive of seminars, colloquia or research credits). Students must take the required core classes (see the course list for specific courses).

2. The Graduate School accepts numerical grades in (a) approved 400-level courses accepted as part of the major, and (b) in all 500-level courses.  A minimum cumulative gradepoint average of 3.0 is required for a graduate degree at the University.  A minimum grade of 2.7 must be earned in each course presented to satisfy the required 24 credits of atmospheric sciences courses numbered above 500 (exclusive of research or thesis) and the 3 credits in applied mathematics.

3.  By the end of November of the fall quarter of each Master’s student’s second academic year, the student should form an M.S. Supervisory committee (consisting of a faculty adviser and two additional graduate faculty in Atmospheric Sciences) and meet with the committee to review their M.S. research proposal. 1-2 page research proposal should contain an overview, methodology, and anticipated timeline and must be approved by committee and submitted to the Student Services Coordinator. During spring quarter, the student and the faculty advisor must submit a coauthored thesis plan to the student’s M.S. committee. An informational copy will also be filed with the departmental office. The plan should be only a few pages long; it should concisely present the questions to be addressed and the methodology that will be used in the thesis research. The plan should include a nominal timetable, indicating milestones against which the next year’s progress can be measured. This plan must be approved by the student’s thesis committee and submitted to the Student Services Coordinator with written feedback from the committee chair by the end of spring quarter of the student’s second year. There are no automatic penalties for deviations from this plan or failure to meet the estimates in the timetable. The thesis plan simply provides a well-defined launching point for the remainder of the thesis research.

4.  The M.S. thesis should be directed toward the solution of a problem of substantial scientific importance and should demonstrate the student's ability to use research methods in a limited area and to discuss critically the student's own and other investigators' work. The student must submit a Master's Degree Request online with the Graduate School by the end of the 8th week of the quarter (6th week in summer quarter). The thesis must be prepared in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Graduate School, and must be approved by the Supervisory Committee, presented orally to the faculty and students, and defended in discussion.  In addition to the two copies of each thesis that must be submitted to the Graduate School (submission instructions may be found here), one copy must be filed with the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee and one with the Department.


M.S. Degree checklist