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Admissions Information

Application Deadlines

Degree Requirements


Financial Assistance






Carton, James A., Full Member


Canty, Timothy, Adjunct Member

Distinguished University Professor

Kalnay, Eugenia E, Full Member


Dickerson, Russell R., Full Member

Li, Zhanqing, Full Member

Liang, Xin-Zhong, Full Member

Murtugudde, Raghuram, Full Member

Nigam, Sumant, Full Member

Pinker, Rachel, Full Member

Salawitch, Ross J., Full Member

Zeng, Ning, Full Member

Zhang, Da-Lin, Full Member

Assistant Professor

Ide, Kayo, Full Member

Lampkin, Derrick, Full Member

Miyoshi, Takemasa, Full Member

Senior Research Scientist

Grodsky, Semyon, Adjunct Member

Vinnikov, Konstantin, Adjunct Member

Zheng, Quanan, Adjunct Member

Associate Research Scientist

Allen, Dale, Adjunct Member

Ruiz-Barradas, Alfredo, Adjunct Member

Research Professor

Berbery, Ernesto H, Adjunct Member

Assistant Research Professor

Penny, Stephen, Full Member

Assistant Research Scientist

Chepurin, Gennady, Adjunct Member

Farrell, Sinead,

Adjunct Professor

Higgins, Wayne, Adjunct Member

Kousky, Vernon, Adjunct Member

Lau, William, Special Member

Pickering, Kenneth E., Adjunct Member

Uccellini, Louis, Adjunct Member

University Affiliate

Kleist, Daryl, Full Member

Professor Emeritus

Hudson, Robert D., Full Member

More AOSC Faculty Information

Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (AOSC)   

Program Title and Classification

Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

Graduate Degree Program

College: Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences


The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science offers graduate study leading to the Master of Professional Studies, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Course work in atmospheric and oceanic sciences is also offered at the upper division and graduate level as a service to other campus graduate programs. The educational program is broadly based and involves many applications of the mathematical, physical and applied sciences that characterize modern atmospheric sciences and physical oceanography, including climate and earth system science, and multidisciplinary studies of the interrelationship among the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, and the biota. The Department’s advanced degree programs are designed to prepare students for participation in contemporary research in the atmospheric and oceanic science. Research specializations include: atmospheric dynamics; atmospheric chemistry; physical oceanography; air pollution; atmospheric radiative transfer; remote sensing of the atmosphere, ocean, and land; climate variability and change; data assimilation; numerical weather prediction; severe storms; surface-atmosphere, ocean-atmosphere and biosphere-atmosphere interactions; and earth system modeling. The curriculum includes a set of Core courses to provide a fundamental background in atmospheric and oceanic dynamics, physical meteorology and atmospheric chemistry, earth system science and climate, as well as advanced specialized courses. Supervised research using state-of-the-art facilities then prepares the students for future contributions in their chosen field.

The Department’s close association with federal agencies in the Washington area provides graduate students with good training and opportunities in atmospheric and oceanic science. As a research assistant, the student has the opportunity to develop a close working relationship with one or more of the scientific agencies.

Admissions Information

General Requirements:

Program-Specific Requirements:

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • CV/Resume

In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School, the department requires a Bachelors or higher degree in meteorology, oceanography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, engineering or other program with suitable emphasis in the sciences. We welcome applications from those with no background in atmospheric sciences. The Core courses offered in the first year of study present students with the necessary background in atmospheric and oceanic science for the more advanced courses. The minimum undergraduate background includes 3 semesters of calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, 3 semesters of calculus-based physics, and 2 semesters of chemistry, one semester of computer programming. Scores from the GRE General Examination are also required.

For information on the Master of Professional Studies in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, please see its listing in the Graduate Catalog.

Note: Applicants must get approval from the AOSC Department to apply to the Spring semester.

The fall admission deadline for priority/funding is January 17 for both domestic and international students. The fall admission deadline for funding is February 1 for both domestic and international students. Final fall admission deadlines are May 17 for domestic students and March 15 for international students.

For more admissions information or to apply to the program, please visit our Graduate School website:

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant Fall
Domestic Applicants:
US Citizens and Permanent Residents
15 Jun
International Applicants:
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.
15 Mar

Other Deadlines: Please visit the program website at

Degree Requirements

Master of Science (M.S.)

Total CreditsCore Requirements

Non-thesis only (scholarly paper required): 30 credits


AOSC 610: Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean I (3 credits)

AOSC 611: Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans II (3 credits)

AOSC 620: Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere I (3 credits)

AOSC 621: Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere II (3 credits)

AOSC 680: Introduction to Earth System Science (3 credits)

AOSC 617: Atmospheric and Oceanic Climate (3 credits)

Electives (12 credits)

M.S. students are also required to attend the weekly department seminar series. 


The Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department offers a non-thesis program leading to the Master of Science Degree. The requirements include course work, a scholarly paper and presentation, and a comprehensive examination. This program provides fundamental training to prepare students for research and operational work in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

Each new student will be assigned to a faculty advisor whose interests parallel those of the student. The faculty advisor will assist in the development of the student's course program and will follow the student's progress thereafter. The student may select an alternate advisor at any time, although financial support is dependent upon the availability of funds.

The student must submit an M.S. degree course plan and a tentative schedule for completion by the end of the first nine credit hours. A minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework is required for the degree program. This must include 24 hours of 600-level AOSC courses, including core courses listed below. The remaining 6 semester-hours can come from additional 600-level courses, 3 of these credits can come from AOSC 798 (MS Directed Graduate Research). The purpose of the scholarly paper is to demonstrate the ability to conduct original or literature research. The paper will become part of the permanent archive of the Department. A Ph.D. dissertation prospectus will satisfy this requirement.

The Comprehensive Examination for MS seeking students consists of a written examination. The written portion is composed of questions covering the subject areas of the following Core courses: AOSC 610, 620, and 617. Students will also be expected to complete AOSC611, AOSC621, and AOSC680 with a minimum grade of 3.0 (or to demonstrate mastery of this material). AOSC 611 can be replaced by AOSC 600 for those students with a specialization in Chemistry who get approval from their advisor, the AOSC Graduate Director, and Department Chair.

All requirements for the M.S. degree must be completed within a five-year period. This time limit applies to any transfer work from other institutions to be included in the student's program. A full-time student can easily complete the M.S. degree in two years.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Core Requirements

Doctoral students are required to complete the M.S. course requirements in addition to 12 credits of AOSC 899: Doctoral Dissertation Research. In addition, doctoral students are required to attend the weekly department seminar series.


The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science offers a program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) in atmospheric and oceanic science. This program is designed to furnish the student with the background necessary to carry out independent and original scientific research. To earn the Ph.D., the student must complete a course work requirement, pass the Candidacy Examinations, and prepare and defend a dissertation.

A student seeking a Ph.D. degree will be assigned to a faculty advisor whose interests parallel those of the student. The academic advisor will establish and chair an advising committee which will oversee the student's degree program.

The course work requirement is 30 semester hours of 600-level or above AOSC Department courses. In addition, the student must take 12 credits of AOSC 899 (Doctoral Dissertation Research). Students may wish to take a number of the core courses in order to prepare for the Qualifying Examination. In addition, there is a Minor course requirement of six semester hours of ancillary courses taken beyond the bachelor's degree in a related scientific area at the 600-level or above. These credits must have a unified or coherent theme. Students may petition the Department for a waiver of a portion of these requirements based on credits earned at another institution at the graduate level.

A student seeking the Ph.D. degree in atmospheric and oceanic science must pass the Candidacy Examinations, which are divided into two parts - The Qualifying Examination and the Specialty Examination. During the Specialty Examination, the student must present and defend a dissertation prospectus to the examination committee. Following successful defense, the student advances to candidacy. Ability to perform independent research must be demonstrated by a written dissertation. The dissertation should be an original contribution to knowledge and demonstrate the ability to present the subject matter in a scholarly style. Upon completion of the dissertation the candidate is required to present the research results at an Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department seminar and to defend the material to the satisfaction of a Final Examining Committee appointed by the Dean for Graduate Studies.

Full-time students are expected to complete the Qualifying Examination by the end of the second year of graduate study and be admitted to candidacy by the end of the third year. Students must be admitted to candidacy within three years after admission to the doctoral program and at least six months before the date on which the degree will be conferred. The student must complete the entire program for the degree, including the dissertation and final examination, during a four-year period after admission to candidacy.

Graduate Track for Accomplished Scientists

Graduate students with exceptional scientific achievements may, through written petition to the Graduate Director, replace the written portion of the Comprehensive Exam with a seminar followed by an oral examination. To qualify for this track, the candidate needs to meet the following requirements:

1) have an earned MS degree in atmospheric or oceanic science, or a related field, ordinarily from an accredited American university, and receive approval from the five-member Departmental Examination Committee. 2) have published at least five, peer-reviewed, Science Citation Index (SCI) journal articles in atmospheric, oceanic, or a closely related science. He or she must be the lead or corresponding author of at least three of those papers.

The candidate must present an open seminar on his/her past research followed by a closed oral exam by the Examination Committee of at least three faculty plus the Graduate Director, and the Admissions Committee Chair. Two or more negative votes constitutes failure. The final decision will be subject to review by the committee of the whole.


Facilities and Special Resources

The Department participates in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and the Cooperative Institute for Climate Studies (CICS). These institutions conduct research, and offer opportunities for graduate research beyond those offered by the department faculty. In addition, the Department maintains close research and teaching associations with Departments of Mathematics and Chemistry, as well as the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST), Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling (CSCAMM), and nearby government agencies including NOAA, NASA, ONR, USDA, NIST, and Marylands Department of the Environment and Department of Natural Resources.

Special facilities that support the Department’s teaching and research activities include sophisticated computing facilities allowing access to a variety of atmospheric and oceanographic datasets, a laboratory for atmospheric chemistry, a mobile air pollution laboratory, access to research aircraft, a variety of supercomputers, radar, windprofiler at Fort Meade, historical data. Most importantly the students are encouraged to exploit the resources of the nearby government laboratories: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

The Department maintains a specialized library with several hundred text and reference books in meteorology and allied sciences, specialized series of research reports, and many journals. The campus provides a main library as well as specialized libraries in chemistry, astronomy, and engineering. Several excellent government libraries in the area, including the Library of Congress, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the National Archives, and the NOAA libraries provide unsurpassed resources.

The University of Maryland is located in an area of unparalleled professional resources. Because of its proximity to the nation’s capital, The University of Maryland is able to interact closely with the many governmental groups interested in various aspects of the atmospheric, oceanic and earth system sciences. Scientists from government laboratories participate in many aspects of graduate education, such as giving lectures in classes, presenting research results in seminars, and serving on dissertation committees. Likewise, the Department faculty often attend and participate in the seminars, colloquia and scientific workshops being held at these neighboring institutions.

The Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Meteorological Society consists of about 400 members who hold professional meetings each month. The Washington, D.C. area is frequently the site of national and international conferences, most notably of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American geophysical Union. In addition to the various government and academic institutions, the Washington metropolitan area contains numerous well-known private contractors and consulting companies involved in meteorology and oceanography, which provide employment opportunities for students both before and after graduation.

As a member of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the department enjoys the common facilities offered by the National Center for Atmospheric Research such as research aircraft and supercomputers.

Financial Assistance

Graduate research and teaching assistantships are available to qualified graduate students. Research assistants carry out research in the areas of physical and dynamic meteorology, physical oceanography, data assimilation, remote sensing, atmospheric chemistry, air pollution, climate dynamics, atmospheric radiation, severe storms, global climate change, and ocean-atmosphere and atmosphere-biosphere interactions. Fellowships are also awarded by the Graduate School to the most qualified applicants. In addition, hourly employment is available in the Department and off campus. Stipends are maintained at a competitive level.



Tamara Hendershot

3405 Atlantic Building

College Park

MD, 20742

Telephone: (301) 405-5389

Fax: (301)-314-9482


Associated Information




Global Change; Climate Variability; Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and the Surface; Atmosheric Radiative Transfer; Severe Storms; Mesoscale Modeling; Numerical Weather Prediction; Extended Range Forecasting; Predictability; Atmoshperic Chemistry; Air Pollution; Atmosphere-Biosphere Interaction; Dynamical Oceanography; Ocean-Atmoshpere Interaction; Atmospheric Dynamics.