Non-thesis Option


The non-thesis option is intended for students who wish to pursue careers in education, applied meteorology, computer applications in meteorology, or other areas within atmospheric science not specifically tied to research. The non-thesis option is not intended for students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree afterward. Students who complete the non-thesis M.S. option and later wish to enter the DAS Ph.D. program will be required to reapply for admission to the Department following standard University procedures. 

Students selecting the non-thesis option are required to demonstrate professional writing, presentation and computing skills, while obtaining a solid background in atmospheric science through course work. The student is required to complete a project that will focus on a topic in the desired area for future employment. The project may account for four hours of credit toward the required 32 hours through registration in ATMS 596.


The MS student electing the non-thesis option is required to submit a project description (no more than two pages long) to the Department Head before beginning the project. Normally this should be done by the end of the student’s first year. The project description should clearly describe the topic and the scope of the project. The Department Head will assign a faculty advisor to the student, with consideration of the project topic and faculty interest/expertise.  The advisor will then select two other faculty members to serve on the student’s committee.

Through completion of the project, the student is required to demonstrate: 

a) Advanced Writing skills, by writing a substantial report summarizing the project; 

b) Advanced Presentation skills, by presenting the project in an informal talk to the committee; 

c) Advanced Computer skills, as dictated by the project. 

The topic of the project will depend on the student’s interest and generally target the employment sector in which the student wishes to work following graduation. For example, a student interested in Applied Meteorology might develop a project related to an applied field within the Atmospheric Sciences, such as hydrology, agricultural meteorology, air pollution, consulting meteorology, financial applications, forecasting, or emergency management. A student interested in K-12 Science Education might develop online modules for K-12 Education, or contribute to a faculty member’s textbook development for the college level. A student interested in Computer Applications might develop computational tools that would be useful in the Atmospheric Sciences. Examples might be objective analysis schemes, internet educational instructional units, or radar algorithms. 

The project and presentation will be graded together (Pass/Fail) by the student’s faculty committee. If the student project is graded as “Fail” by any faculty member, the student will be given an opportunity to correct the deficiencies and resubmit the work. Third and subsequent attempts will only be granted after petitioning the Department.

Giving a full departmental seminar is not required for this option.