Master of Science (M.S.)
For the M.S. degree, there is a set of core courses which are highly recommended as a good foundation for graduate degrees in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. A GPA of 3.0 must be maintained.
The timeline for receiving a Master’s degree is approximately 2 to 3 years.
The following is a listing of the core courses:
ATM OCN 610: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics 1 (3 credits)
ATM OCN 611: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics 2 (3 credits)
ATM OCN 630: Introduction to Atmospheric Physics (3 credits)
ATM OCN 640: Radiation in the Atmosphere & Ocean (3 credits)
ATM OCN 660: Physical Oceanography (3 credits)
In consultation with their advisor, every student seeking a M.S. dergree, will design a curriculum that must be approved by their advisor.
The student conducts research supervised by their major professor. Results of the research are written into a master’s thesis, following guidelines set by the Graduate School, library, department, thesis committee, and major professor. While conducting the research and writing the thesis, the student may want to (but is not required to) register for research credits (ATM OCN 990). The student must have a major professor to utilize the thesis option. Additional course work is required.
Thesis. The thesis must be a well-organized piece of work written in clear English. The thesis is approved by the major professor and two additional faculty members. A public oral presentation of the thesis research is required, usually scheduled for our Wednesday afternoon department seminar series.
Course Credits. Please see this link for the Graduate School catalog description of requirements.
Total of 30 credits, a minimum of 16 of which must be earned while in residence at UW-Madison.
12 of the credits must be taken in the department as lecture courses numbered 400 or above. Seminars, research, independent study or directed reading courses do not satisfy this requirement. A grade of B or greater is required for these 12 credits.
Another 12 (at least) credits may be taken in or out of the department. These credits can include seminars, core courses, and other courses taken as a graduate student. Research credits do not count toward this requirement.
Up to 6 research credits in the department can be counted (but are not required) toward the 30 credit requirement.
For these credits, half (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed in graduate courses numbered 700 or above, or in courses 300-699 designated as graduate courses, have >50% graduate enrollment, or assess graduate students separately from undergraduates, including: Atm Ocn 500–507, 510–599, 600–680.
A GPA of 3.0 must be maintained.
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 14 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Students with undergraduate degrees from UW-Madison, with program approval, are allowed to count no more than 7 credits of graduate coursework taken as an undergraduate at UW–Madison, as long as those credits were not applied toward an undergraduate degree. With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison special student. In all cases, coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree or earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
Courses Outside of AOS
Here is a listing of courses that students have taken outside of the department to satisfy degree requirements.
Note: Some 300 level courses in other departments may be acceptable for both options. You must receive approval of your advisor to use a 300 level course for degree requirements. Courses in our department must be at or above the 400 level. Progress and Completion Guidelines
At the start of the graduate work, the student should declare which option will be pursued. See the graduate coordinator for a M.S. Course Requirement Checklist form. Use this form to record the courses taken, grades received, and as a checklist to monitor your progress toward the degree. When all course requirements have been met, the advisor signs and turns the form in to the graduate coordinator. All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their advisor, scheduled by December 31st and completed by April 30th. Failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student’s registration. The M.S. degree should be completed within three years.
All students normally take a full load of 8 to 12 credits (maximum 15) during each of the first two semesters. International students might take fewer credits if necessary to allow time to improve their English.
Each student must make satisfactory progress, as specified by the departmental and Graduate School satisfactory progress guidelines, which are available from the grad chair or grad coordinator. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress may result in probation, or dismissal from the department. The cumulative GPA in Graduate School must be no less than 3.0.
A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for 1 additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School. The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.
When the student and their advisor determine that all degree requirements will be met during the current semester, the student should email the graduate coordinator to obtain a warrant request form. The graduate coordinator will input the warrant request information to the Graduate School. The warrant request should be made at least three weeks before the degree deadline for the current semester. Once all degree requirements have been fulfilled, the warrant is signed by the student’s major professor, thesis committee, or advisor as appropriate. Your warrant must be deposited by the degree deadline in order for your degree to be conferred. You must be enrolled for the semester in which you complete your degree.
The Graduate School has a document on their web site that will answer questions on procedures. Information on thesis format is also found there. Our department does not have any additional formatting requirements and you can follow the Graduate School guidelines.
As of spring 2020, M.S. thesis submission is by PDF. A online version of the thesis should be submitted to the graduate program coordinator by email or shared link. The thesis will be posted online at the Journal of UW-AOS and added to the minds@UW repository, where it will be assigned a permanent DOI.
For information on commencement, you can get information on the commencement website.
If you have an assistantship, it will end on the date that your thesis is deposited with the Graduate School or the offical graduation date of the term.