Master of Science in Atmospheric Sciences

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Time-to-completion for the Master of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences is approximately 2 years (coursework and research). All candidates must submit a thesis or manuscript which has been judged by the student's committee to be acceptable for publication in an appropriate scientific journal and present the results in a formal departmental seminar or at a national or international scientific meeting. The program is highly quantitative, and applicants should have a strong background in physics and calculus.

Active research focuses on atmospheric chemistry and aerosols, changes in hydrologic extremes under a warmer climate, climate and global change, COSMOS Soil Moisture Measurement, improving monsoon predictability, integrated evaluations and applications of the NASA MERRA Reanslysis Data, land processes in the NCAR CCSM, land processes in the NCEP Weather Forecasting Model, lightning and atmospheric electricity, radiation and remote sensing, tropical meteorology and tropical cyclones, and weather analysis and predictability.

Our faculty and students work closely with the departments of planetary sciences, optical sciences, electrical engineering, chemical and environmental engineering, geosciences, applied mathematics, and many others across the campus.


Apply at the Graduate College website: Click on the Apply Now button for the Program of Study "Atmospheric Sciences (MS)."  You will be required to upload a variety of documents, including: 

  • All Applicants:
  • Scanned copies of original transcripts (do not send original transcripts with official seal and signature until after you are accepted into the program)
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation (submit online)
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of research interests
  • International Applicants Only:
  • GRE scores are no longer required for any student and submission is optional
  • Acceptable English credentials per University of Arizona Graduate College Guidelines
  • 1) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - minimum score of 79 iBT (or 60 on the revised PBT with no section score lower than 15).  Individual MyBest scores must also be dated within 2 years of the enrollment term to be considered valid.
  • Note, for Master's programs, we also accept the TOEFL Essentials test with a minimum band score of 9.5. Individual programs may set higher English proficiency requirements, please contact your Graduate Program Coordinator if you have questions. The TOEFL Essentials Test is not an accepted test of English proficiency for doctoral programs. 
  • 2) International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - minimum composite score of 7, with no subject area below a 6
  • 3) Pearson PTE Academic - minimum score of 60
  • 4) Graduate English Language Endorsement from the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL)
  • 5) CEPT Full Academic test - offered by our Center for English as a Second Language (CESL), minimum Total score of 110.
  • 6) The Graduate College does not accept Duolingo scores for demonstration of English Proficiency.

GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona:  4832 (GRE scores are optional - no  longer required) (updated 6 Feb 2024)

ETS Major Field Codes for Atmospheric Sciences MS:  0501, 0507

Admissions deadlines:

  • Domestic Applicants:  January 15 for Fall Semester (updated 6 Feb 2024)
  • International Applicants:  January 15 for Fall Semester (updated 6 Feb 2024)


The department attempts to support all students as research or teaching assistants. Research assistantships may be arranged with individual faculty members. Other funding opportunities are provided by the Graduate College at their Financial Resources website.

Degree Program

See the MS Atmospheric Sciences Handbook for full details.

Graduate College Steps to Your Degree requirements timeline and the sequence of GradPath forms for the Master of Science degree:

  • Responsible Conduct of Research Form
  • Evaluation of Transfer Credit
    • Only if using external transfer courses
  • Master's/Specialist Plan of Study
  • Master's/Specialist Committee Appointment Form
    •  Required for every Master's/Specialist student whether or not that student has a committee
  • Master's/Specialist Completion Confirmation Form
    •  Submitted by department graduate coordinator on behalf of student to initiate final Graduate College degree audit
  • Submission of Thesis Manuscript for Archiving
    •  Required if student completes a thesis
  • Exit Survey


The program requires completion of 33 graduate-level semester units. Requirements include but are not limited to:

  • ATMO 541A Dynamic Meteorology I* (3 units)
  • ATMO 541B Dynamic Meteorology II* (3 units)
  • ATMO 551A Physical Meteorology I* (3 units)
  • ATMO 551B Physical Meteorology II* (3 units)
  • ATMO 596A Progress in Atmospheric Sciences (2 units)
  • ATMO Graduate Electives** (minimum 12 additional ATMO units)
  • Other Graduate Electives (3 units from ATMO or another UA department)
  • Research (minimum 3, maximum 4 units)***

*A minimum 3.0 GPA in the Core courses is required to continue in the program.

**A minimum of 24 units of graduate course work (including Core courses) in the major field of study is required.

***One additional semester unit (i.e. a one-unit course) is required if registering for only 3 research units; otherwise, a student may enroll for a total of 4 research units to meet the degree program requirement.

The Master's degree program does not require a minor field of study. All course work may be completed in the major department. See Description and Student Handbook for additional requirements.

Learning Outcomes

Refer to the Assessment section for learning outcomes and measures.


General Inquiry:

Admissions Contact:

Director of Graduate Studies:

Xiquan Dong

Xiquan Dong

Professor, Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
Director, Graduate Studies-Atmospheric Sciences
Joint Professor, Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis GIDP