Graduate Course Offerings and Sequencing

  • Course Offerings by Semester  Unlike the comprehensive list of all courses below, the link above will give you listings of the courses that are taught each semester.

  • Graduate Elective Offerings Plan This was approved by GAP in September 2011.  Changes will occur beginning with the ‘12/’13 Academic Year (6 Graduate Electives Per Year)

  • Meteorology Scholarship and Research Integrity Course (SARI)   The SARI program at Penn State is designed to offer graduate students comprehensive, multilevel training in the responsible conduct of research, in a way that is tailored to address the issues faced by individual disciplines.  In Meteorology, this one credit, required course is offered each fall semester. 
  • Graduate Minor in Computational Science
    The minor in Computational Science was created to provide an opportunity for graduate students in all colleges and majors to pursue a focused set of courses that emphasize all aspects of computational science. Computational science involves using computers to study scientific problems and complements the areas of theory and experimentation in traditional scientific investigation. This Minor would be a valuble program for almost any graduate student at Penn State.

501. ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA. Overview of the complex interactions within the atmosphere, ranging from molecular to global scale.

511. THE WEATHER FROM GLOBAL TO MICRO SCALES. Conceptual models and underlying physics for weather phenomena on scales from the global general circulation to turbulence.. Prerequisite: METEO 520, METEO 521, METEO 531

512. ADVANCED METEOROLOGICAL ANALYSIS. Graduate version of topics covered in METEO 412 - Synoptic Applications of Dynamic Meteorology. Prerequisite: METEO 411 or METEO 411H; METEO 421 or METEO 421H.

515. PRACTICAL STATISTICS FOR ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES. The aim of this course is to build practical statistical tools for data analysis in the atmospheric sciences.

520. GEOPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS. Fundamentals of fluid dynamics with an emphasis on basic concepts that are important for geophysical flows such as those in the atmosphere and ocean. Topics include kinematics, conservation laws, vorticity dynamics, dynamic similarity, laminar flows, and an introduction to waves and instability.

521. DYNAMIC METEOROLOGY. An overview of the major large-scale atmospheric motions of weather and climate. Prerequisite: METEO 520.

523. MODELING THE CLIMATE SYSTEM. An introduction to the mathematical description and modeling of atmospheric and oceanic motions. 

526. NUMERICAL WEATHER PREDICTION. Finite difference and spectral methods, barotropic and baroclinic models, filtered and primitive equation models, synoptic-scale and mesoscale methods. Prerequisite: METEO 422 or METEO 522.

527.DATA ASSIMILATION. Data assimilation (DA) is the process of finding the best estimate of the state and associated uncertainty by combining all available information including model forecasts and observations and their respective uncertainties.

528. PARAMETERIZATION SCHEMES.  An in-depth study of parameterization schemes used in numerical models of the atmosphere and their importance on the resulting forecasts and simulations. 

529. MESOSCALE DYNAMICS. A survey of concepts of mesoscale systems including frontogenesis, symmetric instability, mountain waves, wave CISK, and frontal waves. Prerequisite: METEO 521.

531. ATMOSPHERIC THERMAL PHYSICS. Advanced treatment of thermodynamic principles as they relate to atmospheric cloud physics, radiation and dynamics.

532. CHEMISTRY OF THE ATMOSPHERE. Review of chemical principles in gaseous and multiphase environments; characteristics of key atmospheric components and chemical systems in the lower and middle atmosphere. Prerequisite: CHEM 012. 

533. CLOUD PHYSICS. Overview of cloud systems; theories of phase changes in clouds and micro-physical mechanisms of precipitation formation; cloud electrification. Prerequisite: METEO 431.

535. RADIATIVE TRANSFER. Fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter; radiation and climate, atmospheric remote sensing, and observable atmospheric optical phenomena.

538. ATMOSPHERIC CONVECTION. Properties of shallow and deep atmospheric convection and interactions between convection, the boundary layer, and larger-scale weather systems.

551.PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY. This course provides graduate and advanced undergraduate students in the sciences and engineering an overview of the circulation of the ocean and the theories used to explain it.

554. ATMOSPHERIC TURBULENCE. An introduction to the physics, structure, modeling, representation, and measurement of atmospheric turbulence. Prerequisite: METEO 520.

556.THE ATMOSPHERIC BOUNDARY LAYER.This course describes the physical properties of the layer of the earth’s atmosphere that is in frequent contact with the earth’s surface, the atmospheric boundary layer.

561.THE GLOBAL CARBON CYCLE This course focuses on one of the most challenging environmental issues of our era, the accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in our atmosphere due to human modification of the global carbon cycle.

563. BIOCLIMATOLOGY. Climatic phenomena in their reaction to life.

A topical survey of physical, chemical, and dynamical processes at work in the stratosphere and mesosphere. Graduate version of material covered in METEO 465

570 CLIMATE SYSTEM  DYNAMICS. The central course content will be: (1) fundamental factors which determine the climate including a deep understanding of components of the Earth System (atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere; (2) Climate variability; and (3) climate change.

580. COMMUNICATION OF METEOROLOGICAL RESEARCH. Methods for effective written and oral presentation of meteorological research are reviewed.

575. CLIMATE DYNAMICS SEMINAR. Review of evolving climate dynamics and earth system science, including ongoing departmental research. 

581. CURRENT TOPICS IN ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY. Discussion of recent research papers in, and concepts pertinent to, acidic depostion, photochemical air pollution and global chemical budgets.

582. ICE AND SNOW PHYSICS. Structure of ice and its electrical, optical, mechanical, and surface properties; snow formation in the atmosphere.

590. COLLOQUIUM. Continuing departmental seminar series that consists of individual lectures by faculty, students, or outside speakers.

591. DEVELOPMENT AND ETHICS IN THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES. Provide a forum for discussion of scholarship and research integrity as well as critical components of professional development.

592. RESEARCH PROPOSAL PREPARATION IN THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES. This course familiarizes graduate students with research rigor, proposals, and processes.

596. INDIVIDUAL STUDIES. Creative projects, including nonthesis research, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses


600. THESIS RESEARCH. On-campus research. MS and pre-comprehensive PhD students register for enough credits to bring their course loads to the specified limits. Thesis-option MS students will receive quality grades (A-F) in six credits and PhD students will receive quality grades in up to twelve; all other credits will be graded with an R.

601. THESIS PREPARATION. (No credit). Only full-time PhD candidates who have passed their Comprehensive Exams may register for this course each semester and eight-week summer session.


In some cases, teaching assistants may register for this course. Although it does not count toward the 30 credits required for an MS degree, it does count toward the specified semester limit.

610. THESIS RESEARCH. Off-campus research. This course is subject to the same grade restrictions as Meteo 600.

611. THESIS PREPARATION. Only part-time PhD candidates who have passed their Comprehensive Exams may register for this course each semester and eight-week summer session.

helpful advice to graduate students who are ready to begin exploring career opportunities, including discussion of the job application process, interviewing, career paths, and leadership development.