Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science

With climate change, renewable energy and air pollution on people's minds around the world, atmospheric sciences are a vitally important research area today. The University's Ph.D. program prepares students to tackle this critical work.

Program at a glance

Admissions cycles: Fall, Spring
Application deadlines: Feb. 1, Nov. 1
Assistantship types available: Teaching, Research
Graduate director: Vera Samburova

Why choose this Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science?

The Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science is a research-based interdisciplinary graduate program offered through the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Physics in partnership with the Desert Research Institute's Division of Atmospheric Sciences. It exposes students to the theoretical, experimental and technological foundations of the field and trains them to be leaders in atmospheric research and education.   

Students enroll in courses offered through the University, but most perform their research at the Desert Research Institute. Program research comprises theoretical analysis, field and laboratory observation and computer modeling at many spatial and temporal scales. It addresses areas such as:

  • Dynamic meteorology
  • Atmospheric physics
  • Mesoscale modeling
  • Fire weather and climate
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Instrument development

The Desert Research Institute's Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) works with both governmental and private-industry partners on research projects. In a typical year, more than 100 entities will sponsor DAS research. The department's notable research efforts include:

Desert Research Institute spending for research and development in the environmental sciences totaled nearly $22 million in 2014, according to the National Science Foundation. That places it among the top 40 academic institutions for this metric, just behind the California Institute of Technology and just ahead of Princeton University.

For more details on the program, please see the atmospheric sciences graduate handbook.

How do I apply?

All applicants must apply through the University Graduate School. Information on graduate student admissions is available on its website.

The atmospheric sciences program recommends applicants also submit the following with their Graduate School application:

  • GRE scores
  • Statement of purpose
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation

A master's degree in atmospheric sciences or a related field with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is strongly recommended.

The application deadlines are as follows:

  • Feb. 1 for fall semester
  • Nov. 1 for spring semester

Is funding available?

Research and teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis. The DRI also offers summer research positions. These positions can provide research opportunities as well as income for students.

For inquiries on atmospheric sciences assistantships, please contact the program director below.

What's next?

If you're ready to begin at the University, you can apply now. To learn more about the atmospheric sciences Ph.D. program, contact the program director.

Vera Samburova
Atmospheric Sciences Program Director

More Info