Department Requirements for Admission

Background Criteria

The academic graduate major in meteorology and atmospheric science is open to all students with a baccalaureate degee and a strong interest in the atmospheric sciences. A degree in meteorology, science, math, or engineering provides a particularly good background, although we have had some students with liberal arts degrees (such as Arts History) who have done very well in our program.

The minimum course requirements for admission are mathematics at least through differential equations and at least one year of physics.

Admission Criteria

For admission to graduate study in meteorology and atmospheric science, the departmental admission committee considers courses taken, grade point average, supporting letters, Graduate Record Exam (GRE), professional experience, and English proficiency. 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 GPA's of 3.5 or higher. Particularly good grades in the sciences are desirable.
    • Supporting letters: (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.)
      • (1) Three recommendations are solicited from persons familiar with your academic competence. (We do not use a "form" for these letters.)
      • (2) A personal statement from you summarizing your interests and goals.  These letters play a very significant part in the admission process.
    • GRE. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. You should take the General Test. A verbal and quantitative combined score of 310 or greater is typical for our students.
    • 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 550 is required for admission.  If you take the iBT (the internet-based TOEFL), the minimum scores required for admission are 80 (total) and 19 (speaking).

Ready to Apply?

Please visit the How to Apply section.

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.