Program of Study
With a focus on research, you will study with faculty who specialize in atmospheric dynamics, physics, and chemistry, or climate science.
Through coursework, you will develop broad knowledge of the physical processes that govern our atmosphere and oceans. With guided research, you will specialize in synoptic, tropical, and mesoscale meteorology (extreme weather), atmospheric chemistry and physics (active gases and particles), or climate and environmental systems (climate prediction), culminating in your master’s thesis.
Atmospheric Science Courses
(18 credits minimum)
- Introduction to Atmospheric Physics I and II
- Atmospheric Dynamics
- Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology
- Tropical Meteorology
- Large-scale Dynamics of the Tropics
- Basic Concepts of Atmospheric Transfer Processes
- Climate Dynamics and Modeling
- General Circulation of the Atmosphere
- Boundary Layer Meteorology
- Mesoscale Processes
(0-12 credits) - Courses in other fields, as advised
Major Field Examination in Atmospheric Science
Oral presentation of research.
Satisfactory performance in teaching, research, or practicum duties contributing to academic development.
You will work with your faculty advisor to develop a mentoring plan that includes professional development support.
In most instances, financial support is available through research grants to attend national conferences and for travel support. Some annual meetings, such as the AMS and AGU, offer travel funding.
Research projects are funded by federal, state and corporate grants. In addition to covering the costs of doing research and presenting results at international conferences, grants cover student tuition and a stipend.
Research projects may include:
- Tropical Cyclones and Hurricanes
- Mountain and Topography Influences
- Climate Modeling
- Glacier-Climate Interactions
- Thunderstorm Electrification and Lightning
- Solar and Wind Energy
- Synoptic / Dynamic Meteorology and Atmospheric Chemistry
As a graduate researcher you will have access to UAlbany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC), with opportunities to study atmospheric physics, chemistry and renewable energy.
Beyond the ASRC, take advantage of the National Weather Service, which is right on campus. Here you can apply for internships and cooperative research.
Opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups
We encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to contact faculty members to discuss research opportunities. In addition to the opportunities below, other opportunities might exist through university or external diversity fellowship programs that will allow you to work with a faculty member to craft a unique research project. For more information, email individual faculty members with whom you are interested in working, or contact Brian Tang, Chair of the department's Inclusion and Diversity Committee.
Professor Bosart has retired. He still has several graduate students and externally-funded research grants, but he is not accepting any new graduate students. Professor Bosart remains open to co-advising a new graduate student as a secondary advisor.
Depending on availability of external funding, Dr. Corbosiero may be recruiting one or two new graduate students. Dr. Corbosiero's current research projects include:
- The diurnal cycle of clouds and convection in tropical cyclones
- The ways vertical wind shear and dry air affect tropical cyclone structure and intensity
- The extratropical transition of eastern North Pacific tropical cyclones
Dr. Corbosiero is also interested in lightning in hurricanes, secondary eyewall formation, heavy precipitation from tropical moisture sources, and using machine learning techniques to improve forecasting in areas of complex terrain.
Depending on availability of external funding, support for new PhD students to study climate variability and change may be available. Dr. Dai's projects focus on how and why the climate, in particular the global water cycle, precipitation, and drought, has changed in the recent past and how it may change in the future as global warming continues. His current research includes:
- The cause and impact of Arctic enhanced warming and sea-ice loss
- Arctic-midlatitude weather and climate interactions
- Regional climate downscaling and change
- Atlantic and Pacific decadal variability
- Influences of oceanic conditions on climate over South America and other land areas on different time scales
For a list of his publications, please see his Google Profile. Depending on funding, Dr. Dai may admit one new student to work next fall.
There are no grant-supported research positions for new students at this time.
Masters thesis research opportunities are available in the following research areas:
- Investigating climate-vegetation-ice-sheet interactions during past glacial-interglacial cycles using Earth System models of Intermediate Complexity
- Downscaling of future climate change scenarios with applications to environmental impact studies and emerging infectious diseases. (Focus areas have been the Hawaiian Islands and Northeast US in past research activities)
Dr. Ferguson is recruiting one PhD student with a BS or MS (preferred) in Atmospheric Science that is interested in applying ground- and satellite-based remote sensing to investigate vegetation-planetary boundary layer interactions, and/or improve subseasonal-to-seasonal hydrologic prediction. The successful applicant will contribute to NASA- and NOAA-funded research activities focused on drought in the central U.S. and in other global hotspots of land-atmospheric coupling. Applicants should have strong analytical skills and be proficient in scientific coding (Python preferred).
Contact Dr. Ferguson to inquire about this opportunity by January 1, 2022.
Dr. Fovell does not have opportunities for new graduate students at this time. Please contact Dr. Fovell for more information.
As part of the Boundary Layer Group at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, Dr Freedman’s main research focus is on energy/renewable energy and atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) processes. This includes work on developing forecast tools for power outage prediction, improving wind and solar power production forecasting, the effects of climate change on renewable energy resources, and the interaction of wind farms (and their performance) with the ABL. A principal tool for his observational work is a Leosphere Windcube 100S scanning LiDAR.
Research topics he is currently focusing on include:
- Power outage prediction tools integrating modeling, observations, and machine learning tools
- Using remote sensing measurement systems (LiDAR and SoDAR) for renewable energy and boundary layer studies
- Effects of climate change on the renewable energy resource
In addition, in collaboration with Dr. Miller, he has support for a graduate student focused on the development of an autonomous, buoy-based system for measuring air-sea interaction from the sea surface to the top of the marine atmospheric boundary layer.
He also has funded support for work on using observations to improve modeling applications for offshore wind energy.
Please contact Dr. Freedman for more information.
Our Coastal Urban-Environment Research Group (CUERG) at UAlbany, has several doctoral degree research fellowships and assistantships opportunities in coastal-urban systems; modeling, observations, and applications to: weather; climate; energy and air quality. Coastal-urban systems represent the next frontier in environmental processes as these are the regions with the highest populations and at most risks to climate extremes. Interests to the CUERG group include high-resolution modeling of coastal-urban processes, fundamentals of boundary-layer processes at the coastal-urban boundaries, satellite remote sensing of coastal-urban systems, extreme coastal weather processes and impacts on critical urban infrastructure, and applications to sustainable energy, air quality and health.
Student qualifications include undergraduate or MS students from sciences or engineering with solid background in environmental fluid mechanics and heat transfer, or atmospheric sciences, or boundary layer processes, prefer with good programming skills. If you are interested, please send an email to Prof. J. González-Cruz, along with a 1-page resume.
Graduate Fellowship in Atmospheric Dynamics:
We are recruiting one graduate student for a Doctoral level in atmospheric science to study the dynamics of African easterly waves (AEWs) and their interactions with Saharan Dust Aerosols. The project is in collaboration with Dr. Chris Thorncroft and Dr. Sarah Lu from ASRC. The fellowship provides funding for 3 years starting Fall 2022 Semester but can start earlier.
The successful candidate will conduct numerical simulations using models that are radiatively coupled to aerosols to determine:
- The role of wind, temperature, and dust on modulating dust radiative effects that operate on AEWs.
- The duration of AEW-dust interactions and their dependency on the wave’s lifecycle and the wave’s proximity to dust source regions over North Africa.
- The utility of analytical frameworks on AEW-dust interactions for real AEW cases.
- The impact of dust model uncertainties on AEWs.
Enthusiastic and motivated students with BS/MS degrees in meteorology, atmospheric science, physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics or related fields, are encouraged to apply. We also encourage applications from candidates who are members of underrepresented or marginalized communities. Experience with coding languages (i.e., C++, FORTRAN, Python, etc.) and running weather models (i.e., WRF, CESM, UFS, etc.) is preferred.
Please contact Dr. Grogan for more information.
Dr. Hillman does not have opportunities for new graduate students at this time.
Please contact Dr. Hillman for more information.
Professor Lang interests span spatial scales ranging from synoptic to planetary and timescales of days to weeks.
At this time, Professor Lang is not recruiting for funded graduate student research positions. Check back for updates.
Please contact Dr. Andrea Lang for more details.
Dr. Liu does not have opportunities for new graduate students at this time.
Please contact Dr. Liiu for more information.
Dr. Lu is conducting research in aerosol modeling and data assimilation, regional air quality, and process-level understanding of numerical prediction models. She has current and pending MS or PhD graduate research opportunities focused on:
- Assimilating observations taken from NYS Mesonet (NYSM) surface and profiler sites and assessing the impact of NYSM observations on high-impact weather forecasts. This project is a collaboration with scientists at NOAA NWS Weather Forecast Office.
- Characterizing spatial and temporal distributions of pollutants in NYS using multi-platform observations, numerical models, and machine learning algorithms. This project is a collaboration with researchers at University of Wisconsin at Madison, National Center for Atmospheric Research, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research.
- Evaluating and improving global-scale atmospheric constituent forecasts through exploiting satellite observations. This project is a collaboration with researchers at University of Wisconsin at Madison, Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and NOAA centers (National Centers for Environmental Prediction and Air Resources Laboratory).
- Developing an observation-based and process-oriented diagnostics tool to evaluate physically-based parameterization schemes and to provide physical insight into model biases, with a focus on cloud and precipitation. This project is a collaboration with Dr. Grogan at ASRC and researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.
Dr. Lu is a PI with Dr. Dustin Grogan and Dr. Chris Thorncroft on an Easterly Waves and Dust project. Please see Dr. Grogan's section for more info. She is also a PI with Dr. Scott Miller on an air quality monitoring project using low-cost sensors. Please see Dr. Miller’s section for more info.
Please contact Dr. Lu for more information.
Dr. Miller is conducting research in air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide, buoy-based air-sea momentum/heat/moisture fluxes and mesoscale sensor networks (meteorology, surface-atmosphere fluxes, low-cost air quality).
Currently, he has an MS or PhD graduate research opportunity focused on development of an autonomous, buoy-based system for measuring air-sea interaction from the sea surface to the top of the marine atmospheric boundary layer. This capability will support basic studies of air-sea interaction physics and applied fields such as offshore wind energy.
Highly-motivated students with a strong background in engineering, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, wind energy or other technical fields with an interest in field work, instrumentation, geophysical fluid mechanics and surface-atmosphere interaction are encouraged to apply. This project is a collaboration with Dr. Freedman at ASRC.
Please contact Dr. Scott Miller for more information.
Dr. Min’s research interests encompass the combination of passive/active instrumentation and modeling to improve the understanding of the physics of the atmosphere, land-atmosphere interactions, and atmosphere-climate interactions. Ongoing projects in his group are:
- Advancing the WRF-solar model to improve solar irradiance forecast for renewable energy applications
- Integrating multi-platform observations and WRF simulations to understand the feedback mechanisms associated with the water and energy cycles
- Establishing innovative remote sensing techniques through the synthesis of visible, infrared, and microwave passive and active measurements for retrieving aerosol and cloud optical properties, vegetation properties, and precipitation and latent heat
- Developing novel instrumentation for applications in weather, climate, air quality, and renewable energy
Please contact Dr. Qilong Min for more information.
Dr. Minder is seeking a student to work on studies of precipitation-type predictability in high-impact near-freezing winter storms over the northeastern US. Research will involve analysis of:
- Mesoscale numerical simulations
- Field project observations
- New York State Mesonet data
Please contact Dr. Minder for more information.
Dr. Sujata Murty has an opening for a new graduate student interested in Indo-Pacific coral paleoclimate reconstructions and synthesis with climate and ocean model simulations. This project will involve the integration of paleoclimate, physical oceanography and climate modeling perspectives to examine Indo-Pacific climate and ocean dynamics from seasonal to centennial timescales. The regional focus of the project is to be determined but may include corals from the Red Sea, southwest Indian Ocean or central Indian Ocean.
Please contact Dr. Sujata Murty for more information.
Dr. Rose is recruiting at least one new PhD student for a funded position to work on the theory of land-atmosphere interaction, primarily understanding the amplified warming of arid desert regions under climate change. This work will apply hierarchies of climate models to study the interactions between local arid-surface processes and large-scale climate dynamics. This will be an interdisciplinary team effort in collaboration with Prof. Liming Zhou. The student will receive advanced training at the intersection of theoretical climate dynamics, numerical modeling, remote sensing, data analysis and open-source scientific software.
Please visit the Rose group website to learn more about our group’s current research topics and our approach.
Dr. Roundy is looking for graduate students for the following areas of interest:
- How do Kelvin waves in the tropical atmosphere influence the atmospheric circulation patterns associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation?
- Statistical methods to reconstruct the diurnal and annual cycles of surface temperature on Mars
- Statistical post-processing of forecast model data to increase forecast skills, using eigenvectors of model error derived from reforecast datasets
Dr. Schwab’s research group has no opportunities for new students at this time.
The newly formed NSF AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate, and Coastal Oceanography (AI2ES) is an NSF funded AI Institute that brings together universities, government, and private industry to develop trustworthy AI for environmental science. AI2ES will uniquely benefit humanity by developing novel, physically based AI techniques that are demonstrated to be trustworthy, and will directly improve prediction, understanding, and communication of high-impact environmental hazards. Please visit AI2ES for more information.
The University at Albany Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) seeks one PhD graduate research associate with background in machine learning and/or the physical sciences (preferably atmospheric science).
- Regional Sensitivity to Winter Weather. The student will perform NY state holistic winter weather analysis, with focus on variations and sensitivities among climate regions and their influence on predictability. The student will be responsible for developing machine-learned models and employing other statistical techniques to identify patterns and pattern variability in winter weather events and impacts across the state. Forecast, reanalysis, and ensemble products (e.g., GFS, GEFS, NAM, HRRR) along with data from the NYS Mesonet, will serve as inputs, with the goal of assessing regional winter-weather predictability hours to days.
- The Impact of Winter Weather on Roadways. The student will investigate the predictability of winter-weather effects on NY state roadways. The student will be responsible for developing machine-learned models and employing statistical techniques to identify patterns in meteorological (e.g., NYS Mesonet) and non-meteorological (e.g., traffic flow) datasets. The student will also be responsible for the visualization of results actionable to the end-user. Collaboration with NY State transportation sectors are expected, as well as emergency managers and decision makers.
Professor Tang has no funded research positions for new students available at this time.
Dr. Thorncroft’s research is mainly focused on improving our understanding of the West African monsoon and how it impacts Atlantic tropical cyclone variability. The research spans a wide range of timescales from diurnal to multidecadal. At the weather scale his research is focused on understanding the physical processed that impact the nature and variability of African easterly waves (AEWs). This includes a special emphasis on how AEWs interact with the ubiquitous mesoscale convective systems and ultimately how this affects the probability that AEWs will help spawn tropical cyclones. Recent work at the weather scale has also emphasized the role of convectively coupled equatorial Kelvin waves on the West African monsoon and Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis frequency. At the climate scale I am interested in better understanding the annual cycle of the West African monsoon as well as the processes that impact interannual to decadal variability and predictability of Sahel rainfall. Depending on the availability of external funding he would be interested in advising students in any of these areas.
Dr. Thorncroft is also PI with Dr. Kara Sulia on the AI2ES project. Please see Dr. Sulia's section above for more information.
Professor Torn does not have any funded research opportunities available for Fall 2022 at this time, but this could change, depending on current and future grant applications. In addition, Professor Torn is willing to advise students who have fellowship funding and are interested in numerical modeling, predictability, synoptic-dynamic and mesoscale meteorology.
Please contact Professor Torn for more information.
Dr. Mathias Vuille may have an opening for a new graduate student interested in South American paleoclimate research starting in 2022. For more information on his group's research, please visit the PIRE-CREATE project website.
Dr. Wang's current research interests include:
- Modeling and observational studies of climate change and extreme weather
- Cloud-radiation interactions
- Aerosol-precipitation interactions
- Use of deep learning in short-term weather prediction
Please contact Dr. Wang for more information.
Depending on availability of external funding, support for new PhD student(s) to study atmospheric particles and their environmental and climate impacts may be available. Dr. Yu´s group is conducting research in the following areas:
- Particle formation and growth processes in the atmosphere
- Regional and global modeling of size-resolved particle microphysics and chemistry
- Aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions
- Aerosol direct/indirect radiative forcing and climate change
- Health effects of ultrafine particles and co-pollutants
Please contact Dr. Fangqun Yu for more information.
Professor Zhou has no positions for new students available at this time.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
You will have teaching assistant (TA) and research assistant (RA) opportunities under the supervision of departmental faculty. TAs and RAs are typically paid for 20 hours of work per week. TA and RA graduate students have equal annual pay. See the Graduate Student Handbook for details on stipends.
The major duties of TAs include grading course assignments, quizzes and exams, leading discussion sections, monitoring lab exercises, holding office hours and assisting with other tasks as assigned. Some courses are taught fully online and the main interaction with students takes place via online resources, such as Blackboard.
TAs are expected to conduct research work during summer, which is paid for through funds from research grants from your faculty advisor.
The funds for TAs come from the state of New York through the University’s Graduate School and the College of Arts and Sciences to assist the teaching of a course.
The major duties of RAs are to assist the professor with a specific research project. This typically includes analyses, experiments and labs, simulations, programming, and writing and publishing research papers. This work is usually immediately related to your thesis or PhD work.
The funds for RAs come from a research grant under a professor.
Should I apply to the MS or PhD Atmospheric Science program?
If you have a bachelor's degree in atmospheric science or a closely related field, including physics, mathematics, and environmental science, you have the option to apply to the MS program or the PhD program.
MS Atmospheric Science Degree
An MS degree can be earned as a terminal degree or as part of the path toward a PhD. MS students typically take 2 to 2.5 years to complete their degree. You will work on your research thesis under the supervision of your faculty advisor(s) and write a master’s thesis.
PhD Atmospheric Science Degree
The PhD degree usually takes an additional three years beyond the MS. The total time from start of graduate school to PhD averages 5-6 years. The goal of the PhD program is to train scholars to create and communicate new knowledge. You will work towards the goal of successfully defending your dissertation topic.
Applying directly to the PhD program provides you with more flexibility in terms of funding options. If you apply and are accepted into the PhD program, you can earn a master’s degree along the way to your PhD degree. However, you are not required to complete your PhD. You can leave the program after completing your master’s. If you decide to pursue a PhD later, you will not need to reapply and pay the application fee.
Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.
- Demonstrate a clear mastery of advanced concepts in atmospheric physics, chemistry and dynamics
- Carry out a limited-scope, directed research project on an atmospheric science related topic that includes:
- Review of literature on past experiments on research topic
- Application of common scientific practices in observational data analysis, numerical modeling, and/or mathematical analysis of relevant phenomena
- Analysis of results using appropriate quantitative methods
- Document, detail, and defend the research conducted in a formal written thesis, including an oral presentation and defense
- Develop effective written and oral communication skills that lead to the dissemination of research results to fellow atmospheric scientists and the broader community under the direction of an advisor