Department Requirements for Admission

Background Criteria

The academic graduate major in meteorology and atmospheric science is open to all students with a baccalaureate degree who are keenly interested in the atmosphere. A degree in meteorology, science, math, or engineering provides a particularly good background, although we have had some students with liberal arts degrees who have succeeded in our program.

The minimum course requirements for admission are mathematics, at least through differential equations, and at least one year of physics.  Depending on the research area, computer programming experience also might be highly desirable.

Admission Criteria

For admission to graduate study in meteorology and atmospheric science, the departmental admission committee considers the applicant's personal statement, courses taken, grade point average (GPA), supporting letters, professional experience, English proficiency, and "intangibles" such as creativity, independence, and grit (such traits might come across in the personal statement or supporting letters). Rather than setting rigid standards in each category, the committee examines the overall record as a whole.

    • Courses. Additional mathematics and physics above the minimum requirements listed above, and courses in statistics, chemistry, and computer programming are a plus. Courses in meteorology are not required for admission.
    • Grades. Most students admitted into our graduate program have GPAs of 3.5 or higher. Particularly good grades in the sciences are desirable.
    • Personal statement.  A personal statement authored by the applicant that summarizes his/her interests and goals, and any other aspects of one's past or future career path that the application review committee would benefit from knowing.  
    • Supporting letters.   Three recommendations are solicited from persons familiar with your academic competence.  (After entering contact emails for your letter writers within the electronic application, an automatic email will be generated to them asking them to upload their letters.  The email will not be sent until your application has been submitted.)
    • International students. All international students whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). However, any international student who attended a 4-year foreign College/University in which the language of instruction was English is exempt from taking the TOEFL.  A minimum TOEFL score of 80 (550) for the electronic (paper) version of the test is required for admission.  For the electronic version, there also is a minimum required score of 19 on the speaking part of the test.  

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Correspondence and Information

If you need additional information, please contact:

Graduate Program Administrator
Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science
503 Walker Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania 16802
Telephone: 814-865-0478


(preferably) fill out the Information Request form.