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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 sarah.tisdale@colostate.edu or 970-491-8360. For assistance with technical issues with the application system, please contact the Office of Admissions at gradadmissions@colostate.edu or 970-491-6909. Before completing the Graduate School application, please carefully read the following information on department requirements and the application process.

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

Application Process

Application deadlines. While applications to the graduate program in Atmospheric Science at CSU are accepted at any time throughout the year, prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply by January 1 for fall semester. Applications are reviewed as they are received. While most offers of admission are extended in spring for a start the following fall semester, the department also considers applications for the spring semester.

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
    • Official transcripts (see below for additional information)
    • If international student, self-reported scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE)
  2. Required supplemental questions
    • For full consideration, you must answer all supplemental questions on the application.
  3. Application fee
    • In order to submit your application for departmental review, you must pay this fee.
    • Applicants may be eligible for an application fee waiverThe Graduate School offers fee waivers for applicants who can demonstrate membership in or affiliation with specific programs and/or partnerships. The department has a limited number of fee waivers for students with complete applications who are not eligible for the Graduate School’s fee waivers. Please contact Graduate Adviser Sarah Tisdale (sarah.tisdale@colostate.edu) for more information.
  4. Official transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended (one copy from each)
    • Required in order for department review to begin; request official transcripts as soon as possible
    • Foreign applicants need to submit the original transcript along with a certified translation into English
    • Send official transcripts to Graduate Admissions at:
      Colorado State University
      Office of Admissions
      1062 Campus Delivery
      Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062
    • If official transcripts are sent by email, request they be sent to gradadmissions@colostate.edu.

Non-U.S. applicants also must submit proof of English proficiency:

Mailing Address

Any documents not submitted online, including official transcripts, 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 info@atmos.colostate.edu.

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 info@atmos.colostate.edu.