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Graduate Guide --> III. Procedures --> Minimum Credit Requirements

G. MINIMUM CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

In addition to meeting the formal credit requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D., described below, all graduate students enrolled in the department are expected to attend the weekly department colloquium series. These colloquia are an important part of the total instructional program. Colloquia are normally held on Fridays at 11 am during the school year.

  1. M.S. Degree
    1. Plan A (Thesis Plan)

      A minimum of 30 semester credits plus thesis is required. At least 19 credits must be earned in structured academic coursesref *. 11 credits may be in special studies, graduate seminars, and research (a maximum of 11 research credits is allowed). Of the total 30 credits, 20 must be Department of Atmospheric Science courses (i.e., courses with the ATS prefix).

      All MS students must complete the following required courses (required courses account for 13 credit hours):

      • 601 Atmospheric Dynamics I (2 credits)
      • 606 Introduction to Climate (2 credits)
      • 620 Thermodynamics and cloud physics (2 credits)
      • 621 Atmospheric Chemistry (2 credits)
      • 622 Atmospheric Radiation (2 credits)
      • 693 Responsible Research in Atmospheric Science (1 credit)
      • One of the following:
        • 640 Introduction to Synoptic Dynamics (2 credits)
        • 641 Introduction to Mesoscale Dynamics (2 credits)

      All MS students must also complete 6 elective credit hours in structured classes. Electives may include any structured class at the 500/600 level. With written instructor and advisor approval, electives may also include structured 700 level classes and/or structured graduate courses in other departments. The written approval should be in the form of an email to the department office. Audits do not count towards the MS degree.

      A student may substitute a required class for an alternative course if:

      1. a course similar to the required class has already been completed at the graduate level with a grade of B or higher
      2. the student's advisor, the department head, and the instructor of the required course approve the substitution in writing.

    2. Plan B (Non-thesis Plan)

      The student must complete a minimum of 32 semester credits. The 32 credit hours must include

      1. The 12 required credit hours listed in G1a (excluding ATS 693)
      2. A minimum of 11 elective credit hours in structured classes. Electives may include any structured class at the 500/600 level. With written instructor and advisor approval, electives may also include structured 700 level classes and/or structured graduate courses in other departments. The written approval should be in the form of an email to the department office.
      3. The remaining four credit hours may be in independent studies, group studies or graduate seminars. Research credits (699, 799) and audits do not count toward the non-thesis MS degree.

      Of the total 32 credits, 20 must be Department of Atmospheric Science courses (i.e., courses with the ATS prefix). A scholarly paper must be prepared and presented to the graduate committee prior to the final examination.

    3. National Weather Service Basic Requirements

      For those students interested in employment as an operational meteorologist with the National Weather Service, adherence to basic education requirements is important. Requirements implemented in October 1992, and revised in 1995, follow:

      1. least 24 semester (36 quarter) credits in meteorology/atmospheric science including a minimum of:
        1. 6 semester credits of atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics (from ATS 601, 602, 604, 620, and 623, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
        2. 6 semester credits of analysis and prediction of weather systems (synoptic/mesoscale) (from ATS 640, 541, 605, and 655, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
        3. 3 semester credits of physical meteorology (from ATS 606, 621, and 622, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
        4. 2 semester credits of remote sensing of the atmosphere and/or instrumentation (from ATS 650 and 652, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
      2. semester credits of physics, with at least one course that includes laboratory sessions
      3. 3 semester credits of ordinary differential equations
      4. At least 9 semester credits of course work appropriate for a physical science major in any combination of three or more of the following: physical hydrology, statistics, chemistry, physical climatology, radiative transfer, aeronomy, advanced thermodynamics, advanced electricity and magnetism, light and optics, and computer science.

      There is a prerequisite or corequisite of calculus for course work in atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, physics, and differential equations. Calculus courses must be appropriate for a physical science major.

  2. Ph.D. Degree

    There are two general course requirements for PhD students:

    1. Ph.D. students are required to take two structured courses per academic year. Students must register for the courses, and only one may be taken as an audit. The structured courses can be selected from the 500, 600, or 700 level. With written advisor approval, the courses may also include structured graduate classes from other departments. When the student is within one semester of graduation, the student and advisor may petition the Department Head, in writing, for a waiver of the "two courses per year" requirement. While ATS 784 (Supervised College Teaching) is not considered a structured academic course, it is allowed to count towards the two courses per academic year Ph.D. requirement.
    2. Ph.D. students must take a minimum of 42 semester credits beyond the (thesis option) master's degree (or 72 semester credits beyond the bachelor's degree). At least 21 credits beyond the master's degree (or 37 credits beyond the bachelor's degree) must be earned in courses numbered 500 or above.

    Audits count towards the department's requirement that all GRA's enroll for at least 15 credit hours each semester (section L). But audits do not count towards the total required course credits for the Ph.D., and may not be listed on the GS Form 6.

    The student's Graduate Committee is charged with ensuring the student gains breadth in Atmospheric Science during his/her tenure in the program. Accordingly the Graduate Committee may make recommendations on coursework to be completed prior to graduation.

    ATS 784 does not count towards the 42 required credits. ATS 799 and ATS 784 are graded as S/U.

  3. All PhD students entering the program after August 2013 must take ATS 693 (1 cr), Responsible Conduct of Research, offered every spring semester.


* A structured class includes classroom instruction . All classes taught in the Department of Atmospheric Science are defined as structured except the following: ATS 695, ATS 699A-VATS 699A-V, ATS 784, ATS 795, ATS 796, and ATS 799A-V.




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