The understanding of climate science is essential to the interpretation of modern climate variations and the measurement of their impact. Climate data must be analyzed and interpreted in order to formulate useful responses and plan actions to meet specific climate challenges. The MS in Climate Science educates students to be climate professionals who can analyze and model advanced climate data. Students in the program learn to solve quantitative problems about atmospheric properties and variability, fluid dynamics, and the role of the ocean and land surface in climate. Students choose a concentration in either Climate Modeling or Climate Data to gain specific skills to understand and predict climate variations.

The program encourages applications from students with diverse backgrounds in physical science, mathematics, and engineering. Students with atmospheric science or meteorology degrees can deepen their understanding, enhance relevant computer skills, and gain insight into climate as a multi-component system. Students with physics, math, or other degrees will find that climate provides compelling applications of their mathematical and computational skills. All students will be taught by faculty of the Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences Department and the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, which includes scientists doing pioneering work in climate dynamics, climate modeling, predictability, and statistical analysis of climate data.


University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Graduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

Admission requirements include:

  • An earned baccalaureate degree from an institution of higher education accredited by a Mason-recognized U.S. institutional accrediting agency or international equivalent, verified from official transcripts.
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale in baccalaureate study.
  • Complete the online application and submit all required materials.

Program admission decisions give preference to students with an undergraduate degree in physical science, mathematics, or engineering. Students with other undergraduate degrees should consult with the program's administration regarding the suitability of their undergraduate preparation.

Banner Code: SC-MS-CLIS

Degree Requirements

Total Credits: 33

Students must complete the Core Courses, Seminar/Reading, and Thesis or Non-thesis sections, and in addition, choose one concentration:

Core Courses

CLIM 511Atmospheric Dynamics 13
or CLIM 711 Introduction to Atmospheric Dynamics
CLIM 512Physical Oceanography 13
or CLIM 712 Physical and Dynamical Oceanography
CLIM 610Introduction to the Physical Climate System3
CLIM 614Land-Climate Interactions3
CLIM 690Scientific Basis of Climate Change3
Total Credits15


CLIM 991Climate Dynamics Seminar1
Select 2 additional credits from the list below: 2
Directed Reading and Research
Climate Dynamics Seminar
Doctoral Reading and Research
Total Credits3

Thesis or Non-thesis Options

Choose one of the following options:3
Thesis Option
Master's Thesis in Climate
Non-thesis Option
Choose one unrestricted, graduate-level elective course 1
Total Credits3


Concentration in Climate Modeling (CM)

CLIM 670Earth System Modeling3
CLIM 715Numerical Methods for Climate Modeling3
CLIM 751Predictability and Prediction of Weather and Climate3
Choose one course from the elective lists (below)3
Total Credits12

Concentration in Climate Data (CD)

CLIM 680Climate Data3
CLIM 762Statistical Methods in Climate Research3
Choose two courses from the Mathematical, Computational, or Geographical elective list (below)6
Total Credits12


Please pay close attention to course credit values and consider how they will work into your degree program.
Climate Science
Urban Climate
Climate Data
Scientific Basis of Climate Change
Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
Predictability and Prediction of Weather and Climate
Ocean General Circulation
General Circulation of the Atmosphere
Elements of the Tropical Climate System
Topics in Climate Dynamics (when the topic is "Advanced Predictability" or "Convection") 2
Quantitative Stratigraphy
Introduction to Atmosphere and Weather
Mathematical, Computational, or Geographical
Numerical Methods for Climate Modeling
Topics in Climate Dynamics (when the topic is "Earth System Modeling") 2
Statistical Methods in Climate Research
Advanced Statistical Methods in Climate Research
Modeling Earth Signals and Systems
Field Mapping Techniques
Scientific Information and Data Visualization
Introduction to Scientific Programming
Numerical Methods
Geographic Information Systems
Advanced Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to GIS Algorithms and Programming
Earth Image Processing
Web-based Geographic Information Systems
Computational Physics I
Soil Science
Coastal Morphology and Processes
Environment Analysis and Modeling
Introduction to Scientific Data and Databases
Quantitative Foundations for Computational Sciences
Science of the Environment I
Science of the Environment II
Environmental Science Communication
Urban Ecosystems Processes
Tropical Ecosystems
Waterscape Ecology and Management
Fundamentals of Ecology
Human Dimensions of Climate Change (when the topic is "Climate Change Policy & Politics" or "Climate Change, Public Administration, and Management")
Geographic Approaches for Sustainable Development
Land-Use Modeling Techniques and Applications
Geospatial Science Fundamentals
Remote Sensing
The Hydrosphere
Space Weather
Analytics: Big Data to Information
Metadata Analytics for Big Data
Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns
Principles of Data Management and Mining
Topics in Public Policy (when the topic is "Climate Policy & Politics" or "Climate Change, Public Administration and Management")

Atmospheric Sciences, BS/Climate Science, Accelerated MS


This bachelor's/accelerated master's degree program allows academically strong undergraduates with a commitment to advance their education to obtain both the Atmospheric Sciences, BS and the Climate Science, MS degrees within an accelerated timeframe. Upon completion of this 141 credit accelerated program, students will be exceptionally well prepared for entry into their careers or into a doctoral program in the field or in a related discipline.

Students are eligible to apply for this accelerated program once they have earned at least 60 undergraduate credits and can enroll in up to 18 credits of graduate coursework after successfully completing 75 undergraduate credits. This flexibility makes it possible for students to complete a bachelor's and a master's in five years.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies. For more information on undergraduates enrolling in graduate courses, see AP.1.4.4 Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Graduate Admission Policies section of this catalog.

Important application information and processes for this accelerated master's program can be found here.

Students should seek out the graduate program's advisor who will aid in choosing the appropriate graduate courses and help prepare the student for graduate studies.

Three letters of recommendation, including one from a prospective thesis or project advisor, are required.

GRE scores are not required for students in this accelerated program.

Successful applicants will have an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00. 

Accelerated Option Requirements

After the completion of 75 undergraduate credits, students may complete 3 to 12 credits of graduate coursework that can apply to both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.

In addition to applying to graduate from the undergraduate program, students in the accelerated program must submit a bachelor's/accelerated master's transition form (available from the Office of the University Registrar) to the College of Science's Office of Academic and Student Affairs by the last day to add classes of their final undergraduate semester. Students should enroll for courses in the master's program in the fall or spring semester immediately following conferral of the bachelor's degree, but should contact an advisor if they would like to defer up to one semester.

Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher in all graduate coursework and should consult with their faculty advisor to coordinate their academic goals.

Reserve Graduate Credit

Accelerated master's students may also take up to 6 graduate credits as reserve graduate credits. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree, but will reduce the master's degree by up to 6 credits. With 12 graduate credits counted toward the undergraduate and graduate degrees plus the maximum 6 reserve graduate credits, the credits necessary for the graduate degree can be reduced by up to 18.

Graduate Course Suggestions

The following list of suggested courses is provided for general reference. To ensure an efficient route to graduation and post-graduation readiness, students are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor before registering for graduate-level courses.

CLIM 511Atmospheric Dynamics 13
CLIM 512Physical Oceanography 13
CLIM 601Midlatitude Synoptic Meteorology 13
CLIM 610Introduction to the Physical Climate System3
CLIM 614Land-Climate Interactions3
CLIM 631Urban Climate3
CLIM 670Earth System Modeling3
CLIM 680Climate Data3
CLIM 690Scientific Basis of Climate Change3