M.S. Atmospheric Sciences

An M.S. degree in atmospheric sciences prepares graduates for careers with both government agencies (such as the National Weather Service) and the private sector (ranging from the airline industry to private forecasting and consulting companies to TV stations). Two M.S. degree tracks are offered:

  • The research-based track: Students in the research track complete an original M.S. thesis based on independent research. 32 credit hours of coursework are also required, of which 23 hours must be formal (i.e., non-research based) coursework. The general minimum course requirements are:

    Core courses (9 hours)
    Other ATMO courses (6 hours)
    Out-of-department courses (3 hours)
    ATMO Seminar (2 hours maximum)
    3 additional hours of formal coursework
    Research hours

  • The non-thesis option: The majority of M.S. candidates pursue the research-based track, but a non-thesis option is also offered. The non-thesis M.S. requires a minimum of 36 hours of coursework. Non-thesis students must also pass a comprehensive exam in lieu of the thesis defense.

Most students complete their M.S. degree within two to three years of entering the department.

Steps to the Master of Science

Refer to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) calendar for specific deadlines each semester. Failure to meet deadlines may result in the postponement of graduation.

  • Before first semester registration - Meet with departmental graduate advisor to plan course of study for the first semester.
  • Before registering for your third semester and no later than 90 days before thesis defense (whichever is earlier) - Establish your committee and submit a degree plan online.
  • As soon as your research project is identified, and no later than 15 days before scheduling the defense - Submit Thesis Proposal to OGS.
  • At the beginning of your final semester - Apply for degree and pay the diploma fee online.
  • Before you schedule your final defense - Verify that your degree plan is up-to-date and all coursework will be completed in order to graduate.

Committee & Degree Plan

Students should consult with their advisor to develop an advisory committee. The advisor will serve as Chair of the committee, which must consist of no fewer than three members of the graduate faculty, including one or more from outside the department. The committee is reported to the Office of Graduate Studies by way of filing the degree plan.

M.S. students must file a degree plan before the end of the second major semester of study, and no later than 90 days prior to the thesis defense. Initial degree plans are filed electronically, using the Online Degree Plan Submission System. Students who do not file their plan by the deadline will have a registration block placed on their record by the Office of Graduate Studies. Committee members can be changed later as needed using the Petition for Change of Committee.

A minimum of 32 hours—composed of those courses previously discussed—is required on the degree plan. Restrictions apply regarding the maximum allowed of certain credit hours, for example research or undergraduate coursework. Refer to the graduate catalog for a detailed listing of acceptable M.S. degree plan hours or refer to your advisor.

Degree plans can be changed later, using the Petition for Course Change, so course work can be removed or added as necessary. All degree plans and petitions require approval of the student's advisor, committee and the department head.

Thesis Proposal

Begin thinking about your research topic your first semester. As soon as a research project has been identified, students are encouraged to submit the thesis proposal their committee for approval. It is advisable that the thesis proposal be completed by the end of the first year in residence. The proposal must then be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, using the Proposal Title Page for Thesis. The latest the proposal may be submitted is 15 days prior to submitting the appropriate form to schedule the thesis defense.

Thesis Office

Guidelines for preparation of the thesis are available in the Thesis Manual, which is available on the Thesis Office website, along with other valuable information. Familiarize yourself with this manual.

Students are encouraged to arrange for rough draft and pre-submittal conferences with the Thesis Office. These meetings will help produce a better manuscript with fewer errors and will familiarize students with the Thesis Office staff and procedures. Call the Thesis Office 979-845-2225 for an appointment.

Thesis Defense

Eligibility to defend:

  • The GPR must be at least 3.000 on the degree plan and for all courses completed which are eligible to be applied to a graduate degree, and there must be no unabsolved grades of D, F or U for any course listed on the degree plan.
  • All course work on the degree plan must be complete except for those in which the student is currently registered.
  • An approved thesis proposal must be on file with OGS.
  • International students must have satisfied English language proficiency requirements.

The thesis defense can be scheduled using the Request for Final Examination, which must be submitted no fewer than 10 working days in advance of the requested date of defense. When selecting a date, you may check room availability and reserve a room with the front desk staff in the main office, O&M 1204. Inform the front desk of your defense information and they will also prepare a flier to advertise the event. A refreshment cart with coffee, tea and water will be prepared for your defense, but students are responsible for providing food items. Drop off the treats earlier in the day and the office staff will prepare and deliver your refreshment cart.

Be aware that there is a deadline each semester by which this form must be submitted in order to graduate in that term. Missing this deadline means graduating in the following semester. Check the graduate deadlines calendar to be certain of the deadlines that apply to you.

Upon successful defense, each of the committee members and the department head must approve the written thesis. The committee indicates approval by signing the Approval Form. If a signature is needed from a committee member who is outside the country, the Thesis Office will accept a faxed signature from this absent member. Since this signature will be the only signature that may be faxed, this member's signature needs to be the first signature obtained on the form. After the absent member faxes back the approval form, the remainder of the committee can then place their original signatures on the faxed approval form. The completed approval form should be submitted to the Thesis Office within 10 days of the defense. Students may deliver the form themselves or drop it off with the Academic Advisor in the main office.

Submitting & Clearing

The thesis is submitted electronically to the Thesis Office as a single PDF file. M.S. students must also sign and submit any additional required forms at this time; check the Thesis Office web site. Again, be aware of the graduate deadline for submitting the signed Approval Form and PDF file of the thesis for the semester in which you want to graduate. Before a student can be "cleared" to graduate, any necessary corrections must be made and the thesis resubmitted.

Time Limit

All degree requirements for M.S. students must be completed within seven consecutive years. Coursework and credit more than seven years old may not be used toward degree requirements.

Continuing to the Ph.D.

Students completing the M.S., who have agreed with their advisor to continue on for the Ph.D., must file a Letter of Intent with OGS. The student will be unable to register for the semester following graduation until this form has been filed. See the Academic Advisor for assistance.

Students who, after consultation with their advisor, will bypass the M.S., may change their level to Ph.D. by filing the Change of Major, Degree or Department with OGS. See Missy Mathews for assistance.

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