Our graduate programs emphasize independent thinking and skills in analytical, numerical, and laboratory techniques to solving problems in weather, climate, and environmental change. Visit our atmospheric science pages to learn about potential areas of specialization.
The M.S. program consists of a rigorous training of students in atmospheric physics, thermodynamics, dynamics, radiative transfer, and their application in one of the areas of weather forecasting, satellite and conventional atmospheric data analysis, numerical modeling, and climate change. The program prepares students to gain strong communication, analytical and computer skills for positions in research, education, management, and environmental protection.
The Ph.D. program provides the same basic skills as the M.S. program, building on a flexible, interdisciplinary program and preparing students to become effective, independent problem solvers. Students will be free to emphasize their own interests in atmospheric science but are expected to acquire a broad base of interdisciplinary knowledge. Graduates are prepared to compete successfully for postdoctoral appointments and faculty appointments as well as positions directing research at government or industrial laboratories, and managerial positions at not-for-profit and government agencies.
Although both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are research-based, a series of foundation and advanced courses are required to provide a basic understanding of key processes that drive marine and atmospheric systems, advanced courses in each student’s own discipline, as well as courses teaching professional skills of value to all young scientists. Courses provide an efficient way for students from diverse backgrounds to arrive at a similar level of knowledge about marine systems and a mechanism for intellectual interaction within SoMAS.
All student in the Marine Sciences track take two integrated foundations courses, MAR 508: Foundations of Marine Sciences I – Biogeochemical processes, and MAR 509: Foundations of Marine Sciences II – Physics of the Oceans, Atmosphere and Climate, in the fall of their first year. These courses are followed by one advanced core course in their specialty area, either MAR 501: Physical Oceanography, MAR 502: Biological Oceanography, MAR 503: Chemical Oceanography, or MAR 506:Geological Oceanography, and MAR 568: Scientific Communication. MAR 568 is intended to help students develop a variety of skills essential to success in graduate school and beyond. All students must also complete a quantitative course chosen from many offered, that is appropriate to their level of expertize and area of study. In addition all students must take 2 specialty courses appropriate for their field of study, and Ph.D. students must also complete 4 credits of seminar style discussion courses. Most students take 3-4 courses per semester during their first year, and thereafter take at most 1 or 2 courses per semester, spending most of their time pursuing their research projects.
Graduate Course Descriptions
SoMAS graduate students complete a thesis working closely with one or more of SoMAS's excellent faculty. By the end of their second semester of study, all students must choose an advisor who will guide their research, approve course selections, and oversee their efforts toward degree completion.
Prospective students: To find a SoMAS faculty member whose research interests match yours, visit our faculty and research pages.