Students that complete the M.S. program will have acquired the knowledge and proficiency needed to seek employment in the field of atmospheric science. This knowledge and proficiency are gained through completion of a required core curriculum, elective graduate courses chosen from a wide selection of offerings, and by participation in scientific research with their advisors.
M.S. graduates are prepared for a wide choice of professionally satisfying work in private industry, the consulting field, and with many government agencies. Graduates of the M.S. program can also choose to continue their studies and research in the Ph.D. program. A student is eligible to seek admission to the Ph.D. program after successfully completing a thesis-based M.S. degree with a positive recommendation from their M.S. committee. Students holding thesis-based M.S. degrees from institutions other than CSU may be directly admitted into the Ph.D. program. These students follow the normal application procedures to our program.
In addition to meeting the formal credit requirements for the M.S., 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 Friday at 11:15am during the school year.
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in physics, math, atmospheric science, engineering, chemistry, or related field with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
- Calculus-based math course sequence including differential equations and vector analysis
- Calculus-based physics course sequence including kinetics, electricity and magnetism, and some modern topics
Plan A (Thesis)
A minimum of 30 semester credits plus thesis is required. At least 19 credits must be earned in structured academic courses. 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 Resposible 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 advisor approval, electives may also include structured 700 level classes and/or structured graduate courses in other departments. Audits do not count towards the MS degree.
A student may substitute a required class for an alternative course if:
i. a course similar to the required class has already been completed at the graduate level with a grade of B or higher
ii. the student's advisor, the department head, and the instructor of the required course approve the substitution in writing.
A student 's program of study, and any deviations therein from department degree requirements, requires department head approval.
ATS 784 does not count toward the 19 structured credits. ATS 699 and ATS 784 are graded as S/U.
Plan B (Non-Thesis)
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) and 2) a minimum of 11 elective credit hours in structured classes. Electives may include any structured class at the 500/600 level. With written advisor approval, electives may also include structured 700 level classes and/or structured graduate courses in other departments. 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.
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:
- At least 24 semester (36 quarter) credits in meteorology/atmospheric science including a minimum of:
- 6 semester credits of atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics (from ATS 601, 602, 604, 620, and 623, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
- 6 semester credits of analysis and prediction of weather systems (synoptic/mesoscale) (from ATS 540, 541, 605, and 655, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
- 3 semester credits of physical meteorology (from ATS 606, 621, and 622, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
- 2 semester credits of remote sensing of the atmosphere and/or instrumentation (from ATS 650 and 652, as well as appropriate 700-level courses)
- 6 semester-based credits of physics with at least one course that includes a laboratory requirement
- 3 semester-based credits of general differential equations
- At least 9 semester-based credits of course work appropriate for physical science majors in any combination of three or more of the following areas: physical hydrology, statistics, chemistry, physical oceanography, 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.