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Atmospheric Sciences - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

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  • Why study the atmosphere?

    The global society and economy are profoundly affected by the behavior of the atmosphere. The impacts of weather events such as hurricanes and severe storms cause unacceptable losses of life and property. Changes to the chemical and biological composition of the atmosphere affect human health and also have long-term impacts on the Earth’s climate. The physics of clouds and many other atmospheric processes are essential to advancing our understanding of weather and climate, and the future of the atmosphere in which we live and breathe. Assessing human impacts, vulnerability, and risk and communicating these effectively with users is a critical challenge. With the need to build society’s resilience to high-impact events, it is necessary to train the next generation of scientists, communicators, and policy makers at an advanced level to make a difference in solving critical problems that affect mankind. 

  • What makes atmospheric sciences at the Rosenstiel School unique?

    Being the southernmost department of its kind in the contiguous United States, the Department of Atmospheric Sciences brings a unique flavor of dynamics, physics and chemistry focusing on tropical weather and climate systems. The marine environment is conducive for studies on air-sea interaction. Our new facilities, faculty expertise, and proximity to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division and National Hurricane Center also make the Rosenstiel School a unique place to study the atmospheric sciences. 

  • What requirements do I need to be a competitive applicant for the program?

    The most competitive ATM applicants have a strong foundation in the physical sciences and a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in physics, mathematics, chemistry, meteorology, atmospheric science, or other related sciences. The GRE score is not required for admission. You may optionally submit your GRE score. Individual faculty members may consider GRE scores as part of a holistic evaluation of the candidates. Applicants whose first language is not English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 550. A background in scientific programming is preferred though not required. All application requirements are available here.

  • What is the typical track of a Ph.D. student in ATM?

    The typical tenure of Ph.D. students from enrollment to graduation is 5 years. The first year is primarily dedicated to taking courses and beginning research. Following the comprehensive exam at the end of the first year, students are able to pursue research in further depth. In the second year, all Ph.D. students take educational training as teaching assistants, and advanced courses while building research momentum. By the end of their third year, each student has normally completed their Ph.D. qualifying exam and research proposal, and is publishing and presenting their research in internationally recognized journals and conferences. The final two years are focused on research, leading to the completion of the Ph.D. dissertation and publication of journal articles. For more detailed information, please see the ATM Student Handbook.

  • Where are your Ph.D. graduates now?

    Our recent Ph.D. graduates in the atmospheric sciences have largely taken postdoctoral positions at first-class institutions around the United States and overseas. Several are now established scientists in academia or at research laboratories. Recent graduates have moved on to positions at institutions including NCAR, NASA, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Columbia University, Colorado State University, and the University of Oklahoma, just to name a few.