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Admission Requirements and Application Process

Thank you for your interest in our graduate program in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. The department recognizes that there is strength in diverse experiences and backgrounds. Interested students with an undergraduate degree in physics, mathematics, engineering, chemistry, meteorology or one of the physical sciences are encouraged to apply. No matter their background, admitted students should have an understanding of fundamental physics and applied mathematics. To that end, the department requires admitted students to have completed a calculus-based physics course sequence including kinetics, electricity and magnetism as well as a calculus-based math course sequence including differential equations and vector analysis. Please note that we do not offer an undergraduate degree program.

Applications must be submitted to the CSU Graduate School. Below is additional information on application requirements. In June 2020 our faculty voted to eliminate the requirement for Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. This decision was reached based on information from resources including the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute indicating that the GRE is not a good predictor of student success and also has proven to be biased against women and people of color. The department approaches admission decisions holistically, taking into account academic preparation – including grades, strength and rigor of the applicant’s program, research experience, scholarly potential, alignment of research interests with our faculty and program, and the ability to clearly communicate long-term research goals. Letters of recommendation will continue to be a contributing factor.

For more information on the department’s application requirements, please contact Graduate Adviser Sarah Tisdale at or 970-491-8360. For assistance with technical issues with the application system, please contact the Office of Admissions at or 970-491-6909. Before completing the Graduate School application, please carefully read the following information on department requirements and the application process.

Electronic Brochure

The latest version of the electronic brochure for the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science is available here.

Requirements for Admission to M.S. Program

Depending on your chosen area of specialization in atmospheric science, you may find coursework in one or more of the following areas helpful: fluid mechanics, statistical thermodynamics, kinetic theory, modern physics, physical and/or analytical chemistry, statistics, applied math and numerical analysis.

Requirements for Admission to Ph.D. Program

Please note that the department does not have a direct-to-Ph.D. program.  If you have not earned an M.S. degree, you must apply for the M.S. program.

Application Process

Application deadlines.  For full consideration, prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply by January 1 for fall semester and by September 1 for spring semester.  The majority of offers are extended for fall admission.

Research focus areas. Prospective students are encouraged to explore the research themes of the department prior to applying to determine whether their interests align with the research currently being conducted in the department. As part of the application process, applicants are asked to provide a statement of purpose describing their research interests and motivation for pursuing graduate study, as well as faculty they would potentially be interested in working with.

To begin the formal admission process, applicants must complete an application to the Graduate School at CSU. When filling out the application, please be aware of the following:

  1. Required documents include:
    • Statement of purpose (200-500 words). Please address a subset of the following questions in your personal statement:
      • Why do you want to attend graduate school at CSU, and in general?
      • What are your research interests for graduate school? Discuss a specific science question in atmospheric science or another field that intrigues you.
      • Why does it interest you? How might we go about solving it?
      • What other information would you like us to consider about your life experiences in support of your graduate school application?
    • Curriculum vitae
    • At least three letters of recommendation
    • Transcripts (see below for additional information)
    • The department does not require or consider GRE scores.
  2. Required supplemental questions
    • For full consideration, you must provide responses to supplemental question prompts:
      • Describe an academic or personal challenge that you faced, how you handled the situation, what you learned from it, and any self-improvement that came of it. (200-word maximum)
      • We value the diversity and rich history that different peoples and populations bring to our academic community, which is the embodiment of the University’s land grant mission and heritage. We seek applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, talents, experiences, and viewpoints.

        Describe the importance of diversity and inclusion to you, and how it can contribute to the Department and larger field of Earth Science. (200-word maximum)

  3. Application fee
    • Applicants are responsible for the application fee.
    • Applicants may be eligible for an application fee waiver. The Graduate School offers fee waivers for applicants who can demonstrate membership in or affiliation with specific programs and/or partnerships. The department is unable to provide application fee coverage.
  4. Transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended (one copy from each)
    • Applicants may submit unofficial copies of their transcripts for admission review.
    • Please note that students who are admitted must submit official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended before the end of their first semester. Failure to do so may result in expulsion from the graduate program.

International applicants must also submit proof of English proficiency:

Mailing Address

Any documents not submitted online should be mailed directly to the Graduate Admissions Office at:

Colorado State University
Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Application Status Questions

You can view the status of your application at any time to ensure your application is complete or to check on updates.

Prospective Student Visits

Please contact the department by phone at 970-491-8360 or by email at

January through March is an extremely busy time in our department, and we generally are only able to schedule visits of invited students during this period. If we are unable to accommodate your request for a visit during this time, please contact us after March 31 to schedule a visit.

Questions, Comments or Concerns?

More information about the program, including specific details about the M.S. and Ph.D. programs, as well as course listings and financial aid information, may be found in the Graduate Program section of this website. If you need additional information or have questions, please contact Graduate Adviser Sarah Tisdale by phone at 970-491-8360 or by email at