Students who complete an undergraduate course of study in Atmospheric Sciences receive the degree of Bachelor of Science in Meteorology. The B.S. in Meteorology requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. For an example curriculum and list of courses, see the Texas A&M University Undergraduate Catalog.
Students may obtain a minor in Meteorology by taking a minimum of 16 hours in Atmospheric Sciences or upper division Geosciences courses. GEOS courses may comprise no more than 6 of these hours, with the remainder being ATMO. At least 9 of the 16 hours must be in courses 300-level or above, including at least three 400-level hours.
Minimum prerequisites for the minor include either two semesters of calculus or two semesters of chemistry (but not necessarily both). Students interested in pursuing the minor are encouraged to meet with the department’s academic advisor to help identify appropriate courses.
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 (1 hour required, 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.
Ph.D. Atmospheric Sciences
The Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences prepares graduates for university-level faculty appointments, as well as for independent research positions at academic institutions, government agencies (e.g., NOAA, NCAR, NRL, NSSL, etc.) or in private industry.
Minimum course requirements for the Ph.D. include 32 hours of formal coursework, plus research hours towards the completion of a doctoral dissertation. Courses must be chosen to satisfy the following minimum distribution requirements:
- ATMO core courses (12 hours)
- Other ATMO courses (12 hours)
- Out-of-department courses (6 hours)
- ATMO seminar (2 hours)
- Research hours
Most students pursue additional coursework beyond the minimum, chosen in consultation with the advisor. Ph.D. candidates must also pass three exams: a qualifying exam, a research-based preliminary exam, and the final dissertation defense.
Students in the Ph.D. program need not complete an M.S. degree. The decision on whether to bypass the M.S. is made by the student's advisor and the associated advisory committee. Most students complete the Ph.D. degree within five to seven years after entering the department.