M.S.  in Atmospheric Sciences

The applicable requirements will be those in effect during that academic year when the student first registered in the Program, unless stated otherwise in this Handbook or by the Program Director.

All RSMAS courses are listed on the GSO website. All courses taken by students should be approved by their advisors. Students are recommended to consult with their advisors and the ATM Program Director regarding their choices of courses. Deviations from the requirements must be approved by the advisor and the ATM Faculty.

Additional ATM requirements:

  1. (a)  Comprehensive Examination: Grade of MASTERS PASS, PASS or HIGH PASS

  2. (b)  Seminar: Attending the ATM seminar series every semester and giving at least one 15- minute presentation each year after the Comprehensive Examination

    ATM M.S. students are required to complete at least 24 course credits. The required courses for ATM M.S. students are identical to those for ATM Ph.D. students. The remaining course credits can be obtained by taking other graduate courses offered by ATM, RSMAS, or UM.

    Material from the required core courses will appear on the Comprehensive Examination for M.S. candidates (along with material from other courses from the first year).

    M.S. candidates in ATM are not required to take a class outside ATM.

    M.S. candidates should submit their thesis proposal to be approved by their thesis committee during the first Spring semester following their Comprehensive Examination. A meeting between the student and the committee to discuss the proposal is expected.

    Expectations and Timeline for M.S. Degree

    Year 1. End of Spring: Comprehensive Exam Year 2. Fall: Form M.S. Committee

    Fall or Spring: M.S. Thesis Proposal

  3. Expectation: Preliminary results and a clear research plan and timeline.

    Spring or Summer: M.S. Thesis Submission and Defense

  4. Expectation: Research results of quality equivalent to at least one full journal article.

Comprehensive Examination (end of first year)

These guidelines are applicable for students who will enter RSMAS during or after Academic Year 2015-16. Students who have completed their Comprehensive Examinations prior to Fall 2015 will not need to follow these guidelines.

All M.S. and Ph.D. students are required to take the Comprehensive Examination. For full-time students, the Comprehensive Examination should be taken before the end of their first year of graduate studies at RSMAS. This examination will be arranged by a Comprehensive Examination Committee which comprises the ATM Graduate Program Director and the instructors (or assignees) of the first year courses taken by the students.

The purpose of this examination is to evaluate students' understanding of materials in the courses completed up to the time of the examination and their capability of integrating these materials, and to determine whether the students are permitted to proceed to the M.S. or Ph.D. program.

The Comprehensive Examination will consist of an oral part and a written part. The written part, which lasts no longer than 8 hours, consists of closed-book questions in the courses taken in the first year by each individual student. Each student must choose to answer four questions. The oral part, which lasts no longer than 2 hours for each student, may include questions from all the courses taken by the student.

The GPA comprises 20% of the Comprehensive Exam grade, and the written and oral parts of the Comprehensive Exams comprise 40% each.

A student's performance in this examination, together with his/her cumulative grade point average, will determine whether the grade of HIGH PASS, PASS, MASTERS PASS or FAIL is given by the Comprehensive Exam Committee. The examining board consists of faculty whose questions are answered by the student and any other RSMAS faculty who wish to participate.

High Pass: for students with no identifiable relevant weaknesses.

Pass: Students and advisors will receive feedback from the Comprehensive Exam committee on the strengths and weaknesses of the student, and possible recommendations of how to address those. This information can be used to help plan the next steps in the student’s academic career. **Note: This is a new category where a student is NOT required to defend a Masters thesis as was the case previously, but the student and advisor may of course still decide that a Masters in the appropriate next step.

Masters Pass: Students with this result will be required to defend a Masters thesis before considering whether to pursue a Ph.D. Students and advisors will receive feedback from the Comprehensive Exam committee on the strengths and weaknesses of the student, and possible recommendations of how to address those.

Fail: Students with this result will have an opportunity to re-take the exam once.