ESSIC | State Climatologist | Fellowships | Ocean Sciences at UMD | AOSC Grads |
Master of Science/Doctorate Program
Our MS/PhD program immerses students in the fundamentals of atmospheric and oceanic science in preparation to complete a significant research project with their advisor.
The most qualified applicants are awarded fellowships, research or teaching assistantships. These include a stipend, tuition remission, and enrollment in university health insurance.


The MS/PhD program is designed to give students the necessary background in atmospheric and oceanic sciences to make significant scientific contributions to the field. The core courses are arranged in three areas:

    Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans
  • 610 Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans I (Fall)
  • 611 Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans II (Spring)
  • Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere
  • 620 Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere I (Fall)
  • 621 Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere II (Spring)
  • Climate and Earth System Science
  • 680 Introduction to Earth System Science (Fall)
  • 617 Atmospheric and Oceanic Climate (Spring)

After completing the core coursework, students take the comprehensive examinations (consisting of a written and an oral section) and must successfully pass to advance towards degree completion.

Masters students then complete a scholarly paper or thesis. PhD students deliver a prospectus outlining the scientific goals of their research and schedule a specialty examination. After passing, PhD students advance to candidacy and complete their disseration.

Full-time masters students typically take two years to complete their degree; full-time PhD students typically take five years.


In addition to the six core courses, students take elective classes and attend weekly seminars featuring invited speakers who discuss their research.

Masters students must take at least 12 additional credits beyond the core courses (three of which can be credits for completing research) while PhD students must take at least 12 additional credits plus 12 more research credits. The elective classes vary by semester, but a complete listing of possible courses can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Click to view list of all available elective courses

    Elective courses offered within AOSC
  • 600 Synoptic meteorology I
  • 601 Synoptic meteorology II
  • 602 Mesoscale meteorology
  • 614 Atmospheric modeling, data assimilation and predictability
  • 615 Advanced data assimilation for the Earth Sciences
  • 624 Remote Sensing of Climate
  • 625 Remote sensing of the atmosphere
  • 630 Statistics in meteorology and oceanography
  • 633 Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate
  • 634 Air sampling analysis (lab for AOSC 637)
  • 637 Atmospheric chemistry
  • 640 Micrometeorology
  • 658 Special Topics in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • 670 Physical Oceanography
  • 671 Air-Sea Interaction
  • 684 Climate System Modeling
  • 685 Global Climate Change
  • 798 Master's non-thesis Research
  • 799 Master's thesis Research
  • 899 Doctoral Dissertation Research
  • Suggested elective courses from other departments
    • CHEM 474 Environmental chemistry
    • CHEM 723 Marine Geochemistry
    • GEOG 482 Geographic Information Systems
    • GEOG 625 Advanced Climatology
    • GEOG 639D Seminar: Geographic Perspectives in Earth System Science
    • GEOL 452 Watershed and Wetland Hydrology
    • GEOL 614 Thermodynamics of geological processes
    • GEOL 652 Advanced Watershed and Wetland Hydrology
    • MEES 661 Physics of estuarine and marine environments

For an exhaustive discussion of the MS/PhD program, please visit the curriculum page.



The most qualified applicants are awarded fellowships, research or teaching assistantships. These include a stipend, tuition remission, and enrollment in university health insurance. The graduate school requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) for financial aid but funded students within our department typically have significantly higher GPAs than this minimum.

Unlike some graduate programs, most students within our department are not required to teach, allowing them to focus more on research during the course of the degree.

Since funding for graduate students comes mostly from professors' research grants, PhD applicants are preferred over MS applicants, as they are nominally able to make more significant research contributions.

Cost of Attendance

  • Application Fee: $75 (nonrefundable)
  • Tuition: In-State - $500/credit*; Out-of-state - $1077/credit*
  • Mandatory Campus Fee: $326.25/semester
  • Textbooks: Vary by course and are not included in the tuition and fees

* Students with research or teaching assistantships are granted remission and do not pay tuition for up to 10 credits/semester.

The mandatory campus fee goes toward a multitude of campus services including complimentary gym membership, shuttle bus, athletic tickets, student activities & subsidized medical treatment at the health center.

How to Apply


Successful completion of an undergraduate bachelors degree (or foreign equivalent) by the time of enrollment. A minimum undergraduate background includes three semesters of calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, three semesters of calculus-based physics, and two semesters of chemistry; additional mathematics, physics, and computer science courses are viewed favorably.

Standardized Testing

All students are required to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test (no subject tests are required).

International Students

International students must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and apply for a F-1 (not J-1) visa.

Application Deadlines

*** Updated August 21, 2015 ***

PLEASE NOTE: We acknowledge that there are some discrepancies between the dates listed on the AOSC Department Web Site, the online application system (Hobson’s) and the deadlines listed in the Graduate School Catalog. As a result, we are working on streamlining the dates to all systems. In the mean time, please adhere to the Department deadlines listed below.

Thanks for your patience!

To be eligible for a Fellowship or Assistantship, please apply by January 15, the final deadline for consideration is February 1.

For students who DO NOT require funding, the Fall deadline(s) are *February 1, for International Applicants and June 15 for Domestic Applicants.

*Qualified, self funded International Applicants may be granted admission on a per case basis between Feb 1, and May 15. Please contact the Department for further details.

Spring Admission can be granted to advanced applicants by special permission. Please contact the Department for further details.

There is a $75 (USD) application fee.


For additional assistance or information, contact:

AOSC Graduate Program Coordinator
Tammy Hendershot