All students admitted into the Atmospheric Sciences graduate program will be admitted initially to the M.S. track of study.
NOTE: The following procedures apply only to students entering the program in Autumn Quarter 2011 or later. Students who entered prior to Autumn 2011 must follow the old rules.
Students in the M.S. track who seek entry into the Ph.D. program will be evaluated by the COGS (Committee on Graduate Studies).
Submitting to COGS
Evaluation by COGS
Current COGS members
Qualification Procedures prior to Autumn 2011
Recommendation Letter Guidelines (for student's supervisory committee)
A student who wishes to be considered by COGS must first write a letter to the Academic Counselor, Samantha Scherer, and also to his/her M.S. committee, requesting admission into the Ph.D. program, and choosing one of the two following evaluation options:
- A student may submit a completed draft of his/her M.S. thesis for evaluation by the COGS. The thesis draft must have been read and approved by the student's supervisory committee prior to submission to the COGS (committee will confirm this in their letter of recommendation ). The M.S. draft must be submitted to COGS by Monday of the second week of Winter quarter in the student’s third academic year. Comments from the student’s M. S. committee will be provided to the student within two weeks of the submission date, and the revised thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than Spring quarter in order to meet the graduation deadline.
- A student entering the department, having already earned an M.S. degree in Atmospheric Sciences or a closely related discipline, may submit his/her thesis for evaluation by COGS. This must be done with the written concurrence of the faculty advisor. Written notice to the Academic Counselor and the COGS must be given by by Monday of the second week of Winter quarter in the student’s second academic year. The student will be expected to present a departmental seminar on the thesis material.
A student who wishes to enter the Ph.D. program through option 1 must finish all required graduate courses prior to evaluation by COGS.
Students who have already taken equivalents of some of the required graduate courses may petition COGS to skip these courses. This may require an oral examination by a COGS-selected faculty member to test the student's proficiency in the required course material and/or documentation of the contents and student performance in the previously taken courses. For a student proceeding through option 1, such petitions must be approved by the COGS at least one year before the COGS evaluates the student's entry into the Ph.D. program.
Regardless of the basis for evaluation, the student will be expected to give a public defense of his/her research prior to evaluation by COGS. The seminar should be given no later than Winter quarter in the student’s third academic year (second year for students petitioning through option 2) , on a date chosen in coordination with COGS and the student’s M.S. committee. The student will give an oral presentation (of 30-40 minutes) and answer questions in a public defense open to all faculty and students. Immediately after the public defense, members of the student’s M.S. committee and of COGS will meet with the student for more detailed questions. The chair of COGS will lead this closed-door part of the defense. At least two members of COGS and two members of the student’s M.S. committee must be present.
Evaluation by the COGS will take into account the student's research potential and academic record. The evaluation of the academic record will be based mainly on the level of difficulty and breadth of the courses taken and the grades earned in those courses, with particular emphasis on the required atmospheric sciences core courses. The COGS has no set threshold for a minimum GPA in core ATMS courses, but students can consult the distribution of GPAs of students who have successfully passed COGS. The research potential will be evaluated from the M.S. thesis and the seminar presentation. In addition, for option 1 , COGS will be strongly influenced by the M.S. supervisory committee's written evaluation of the thesis or manuscript, and the committee’s recommendation as to whether it constitutes sufficient evidence of research capability to qualify the student for the PhD program. This recommendation letter should describe in detail the ideas in the thesis or paper that came from the student. The letter should also give examples that demonstrate creativity, independent thought, initiative, and critical thinking in the student’s work. The COGS may solicit comments concerning the student’s academic or research performance from individual departmental faculty members. In the event of a negative decision, the COGS will consider one subsequent request for reevaluation provided that the second request is made prior to exceeding the time limitation described below.
For the supervisory committee: more detailed guidelines on writing the recommendation letter may be found here.
, to be approved by committee and placed in student's file
A student may be considered for acceptance into the departmental PhD program for up to three years from the time of entry into the Atmospheric Sciences graduate program, not including academic quarters in which the student is (a) on leave from the university, (b) predominantly occupied with field (or other research projects) that are not directly thesis related, or (c) predominantly devoted to satisfying course requirements for extra-departmental academic programs in which the student is registered. It is expected that most students will serve for one or two quarters as a teaching assistant during this three-year period. Quarters not counted toward the three-year limit are subject to the approval by the COGS and in the case of (b) and (c) COGS approval must be requested during the academic quarter(s) in question. For a student entering the department during the autumn quarter and not granted any extensions, the formal deadline for submission of materials for evaluation by COGS will be the Monday of the 2nd week of winter quarter of the student’s third year in residence.
The COGS will usually meet during the first or second week of each quarter. The student should notify Samantha Scherer of his/her intention to be considered by COGS at least one month before the end of autumn quarter. This will allow scheduling of the seminar during winter quarter.
Students who have completed an M.S. thesis but are still awaiting a COGS decision should continue to register for ATM S 700 research credits. They are allowed to do this for one quarter after the M.S. has been granted.
Final decisions concerning admission to PhD candidacy will be delegated to the COGS, without the requirement for ratification by a vote of the entire departmental faculty; however, COGS decisions may be overruled by a 2/3 vote of the entire department faculty if there is an appeal by the student or his/her advisor.
The COGS is composed of five faculty members (with a quorum of four for meetings). COGS members will be excused from the COGS evaluation of students that they supervise. Academic faculty members chosen from a ranked list may be asked to substitute for regular COGS members if this is necessary to achieve a quorum for a timely COGS meeting. The terms of the members are three years and are staggered, so that there is memory from one year to the next. When the three-year term of the COGS chair is completed, one of the existing COGS members (after already serving on COGS for 1-3 years) will be appointed to a three-year term as new chair.
Qualification procedures prior to Autumn 2011
Students who entered the department prior to Autumn 2011 may only be considered by COGS under the “old” rules that prevailed prior to May 2011. Those procedures may be found here.