You are here

Graduate Program

 *The Application Deadline for Fall admission is January 15th for U.S. students and January 1st for International students.

The Florida State University is located in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida. Set in the wooded north Florida hills, the city of approximately 188,000 hosts over 100 state and federal agencies, two universities, and a community college. Rich offerings of social, cultural, and recreational facilities are available. Diverse recreation may be found on the beaches of the nearby Gulf of Mexico. The climate in Tallahassee is mildly continental the majority of the year and semitropical during the summer.

The Florida State University is one of twelve universities supported by the state of Florida. It is also one of the three state universities assigned primary responsibilities for graduate education and research. The current enrollment at Florida State University is over 30,000 undergraduate students and approximately 8,000 graduate and professional students.

Florida State University has the largest and most complete meteorology program in the southeastern United States, with 16 faculty members and approximately 50 graduate students and 100 undergraduate students. International students are drawn to both the undergraduate and graduate programs.

Meteorology graduate programs include M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Qualified students with a baccalaureate degree in meteorology or with a broad background in physics and mathematics can be admitted to the graduate program. Many incoming graduate students do not have prior training in meteorology. Students without prior meteorological coursework will be required to take foundational coursework during their first year in the graduate program. Complementary graduate degree programs are offered in the areas of Applied Mathematics, Physical Oceanography, and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. Other strong supporting course work is found in the departments of Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biological Science, and Statistics.

Graduates of the department at the B.S. and M.S. levels hold positions in areas such as the National Weather Service, television weathercasting, and private consulting firms, including airlines and investment firms. A number of doctoral graduates hold faculty positions at other universities, and many have leading research roles in such groups as the National Hurricane Research Division at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory; the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma; the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; the NASA Goddard and Marshall Space Flight Centers; and the National Environment Satellite Data Information Service.

Faculty members and graduate students in the department are involved in research in many areas including: tropical meteorology, oceanic upwelling, turbulence and boundary layer meteorology, radiation physics, satellite remote sensing, mesoscale analysis, numerical weather prediction, climate diagnostics and modeling, air/sea interaction, large-scale flow over mountains, statistical prediction, design of meteorological networks, and radar meteorology. The State Climatologist of Florida and the Florida State Climate Center provide opportunities for students interested in climatology. Research support is provided primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Faculty and graduate students of the department also participate in a number of national and international scientific research programs including various experimental field programs.

Costs and Financial Aid

Tuition is assessed on a per semester hour basis according to the level of each course. The current assessments are listed at

Additionally, all new graduate students are required to show proof of adequate health insurance or enroll in the University sponsored plan. Under this requirement, student will not be allowed to register for classes without obtaining health insurance. For more information, visit

University housing costs between $320-$557 per month. University apartments are available for single and married students. Privately owned apartments in the area cost approximately $400+ per month and are often shared by small groups of students. Students who wish to consider University Housing should write to University Housing, 133 S. Wildwood, Tallahassee, FL. 32306-4174 or visit their website at as soon as possible after deciding to come to Florida State. Information on off-campus housing is available from Off-Campus Housing (850) 644-0089 or  

Most meteorology graduate students receive financial aid in the form of assistantships or fellowships. This aid is awarded on the basis of ability rather than financial need. A half-time assistantship, requiring 20 hours of work per week in teaching or research, usually carries a minimum stipend of $22,500 per calendar year. Assistantships include a tuition waiver which covers tuition costs, however students are responsible for student fees each semester. Students with outstanding undergraduate preparation, especially high GRE scores or special skills, can be appointed at a slightly higher stipend. Stipends are normally increased as the student progresses. These stipends are reviewed each academic year. In addition to stipends, the university has several fellowships available.

Applicants are automatically considered for all assistantships that become available in the department. Students with high GPAs and GREs should consider applying for a University Fellowship awarded through the Graduate School. For more information on fellowships, visit the website of the Graduate School at To be considered for a University Fellowship, the applications for graduate study, GRE scores, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation must be submitted before the posted deadline. Applications for assistantships are considered at any time.

Through the Southern Regional Education Board, graduate students from the following states can apply to enroll in the Florida State University meteorology program at the instate tuition rate: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

If your legal residence is one of these ten states and you wish to enter the program as a Common Market student, you must obtain certifications from the coordinator of the Academic Common Market in your state.

The University and the department encourage applications from women and minorities. The Graduate School can provide information on financial assistance opportunities that are directed toward minorities. Most of these opportunities require early applications with deadlines common to the University fellowships or shortly thereafter.

Admissions Requirements

Students applying for admission to the graduate meteorology program must hold, or be a candidate for, a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university and meet the following criteria:

  1. A “B” average or better in all work attempted while registered as an upper division student working for a baccalaureate degree.
  2. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score with a 50th percentile or above in verbal reasoning and a quantitative reasoning score in the 70th percentile or above. The minimum overall GRE score to be considered for the meteorology graduate programs is a 300.

Many graduate students do not have prior training in meteorology; however, an adequate background in mathematics and physics is essential. Mathematics through differential equations and at least one year of general calculus-based physics with labs are considered to be minimum requirements. This most often constitutes 6 courses: Calculus 1, Calculus 2, Calculus 3, Ordinary Differential Equations, General Physics A, and General Physics B. Students lacking these prerequisites will need to complete them prior to beginning the graduate program.

Students who do not have a sufficient background in Meteorology will be required to take foundational courses. These include Advanced Atmospheric Physics I & II, Advanced Dynamic Meteorology I & II, and Advanced Synoptic Lecture-Laboratory I & II. The first course in each sequence is offered in the fall and the second course in the spring. Due to this, students who may be lacking a background in these specific areas are highly encouraged to apply to start in a Fall term. During orientation each new graduate student's background is evaluated to determine which foundational courses they need.

International students must demonstrate language proficiency(TOEFL) with a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test, 80 on the internet-based test. Each applicant also is required to provide official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Additionally, for domestic doctoral applicants and international students (M.S. and Ph.D) to be considered for admission, a faculty member in our department first must agree to sponsor them with funding. Since the department does not assign sponsors, international applicants are encouraged to browse the faculty web sites (below) and contact faculty members who are doing research that interests them. It is up to the applicant to find a faculty sponsor. No international (M.S. or Ph.D.) or domestic doctoral applications will be considered without a faculty sponsor. Domestic master's applicants do not need a faculty sponsor for admission. 

Students who do not yet have a M.S. degree must apply to the M.S. program. This applies for students who intend to pursue a terminal M.S. and students who intend on continuing their graduate studies in the doctoral program. Students who do not have a M.S. and are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. must find a faculty sponsor over the duration of their M.S. before transitioning to the Ph.D. program.

Application Materials

The application process is all on-line: Apply to the university on-line. Please note that there are several additional documents that must be uploaded into this application. Each are described here: /sites/default/files/PDFs/Application_Procedures_2010.09.pdf (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print the file).

All applicants are automatically considered for a graduate assistantship. The majority of well-qualified graduate students receive graduate assistantships or fellowships for their study. Please submit your supporting documents as early as possible. Specific deadlines are given in the following section.

International Student Application Deadlines:

  • Fall (August)- all documents must reach Meteorology by January 1 of the same year.
  • Spring (January)- all documents must reach Meteorology by November 1 of the previous year.


U.S. Student Application Deadlines:

  • Fall (August)- all documents must reach Meteorology by January 15 of the same year.
  • Spring (January)- all documents must reach Meteorology by November 1 of the previous year.


Except for early arrival to make up deficiencies, new graduate students are advised to begin their studies in the Fall semester because of the structured curriculum for new students.


Members of the department enjoy the benefits from advanced scientific equipment and a cooperative research environment with the department of Mathematics, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute, and the School of Computational Science and Information Technology (SCS). Scientific computations are handled by workstations and microcomputers within the department. A full suite of applications is available to access, manipulate, and display meteorological data. This and other departmental computer systems communicate through a local area Ethernet network that provides access to the campus computing and supercomputing processors, and a tightly linked IBM RISC cluster, as well as to all national and international networks.

The department receives a full suite of products through the National Weather Service Family of Services, as well as Doppler weather radar products (national and local), and GOES satellite images. Many of these products can be viewed in real-time at various locations in the Love Building. The departmental “map room” also displays many of these products and has a suite of computer terminals to access all other products. A Direct Readout Ground Station (DRGS) for the direct reception of GOES satellite data is available to support research and education. This system includes various interactive satellite-domestic data video display systems for generating high quality weather graphics. In conjunction with these facilities, the department maintains a television studio for student participation in weather television broadcasting. The department also houses the office of the State Climatologist of Florida who maintains a climatic database.

The department maintains a reading room with an assortment of texts and meteorological journals. In addition, more than 1.7 million books and periodicals with extensive holdings of maps, governmental documents and microfim materials are housed in the University library. The University also has a Science Library (The Paul Dirac Science Library), which supplements the central university library. This facility houses a substantial collection of scientific volumes and periodicals conveniently located adjacent to the Love building.

The department also maintains an instrumentation laboratory to support education and research in the area of experimental meteorology. Furnished with state-of-the-art measurement systems, students are exposed to practical fieldwork situations and laboratory problem solving.

The Tallahassee office of the National Weather Service is collocated with the department. The faculty, students, and NWS staff collaborate on a wide range of studies. In addition, the department houses the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology (CITM). This cooperative research has an emphasis on hurricane studies, flash floods, tropical convection, and local weather. Student participation is a large component of the program.

Specialized atmospheric studies can make use of the air and water chemistry laboratories in the Oceanography program, the electron microscope in the Biology department, and the particle accelerator in the Physics department. There are extensive laboratory facilities for simulating large-scale atmospheric and oceanic motions in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute. The Edward Ball Marine Laboratory, located 45 miles south of Tallahassee on the Gulf of Mexico, has research and teaching facilities for marine environmental studies.

Meteorology has close ties with the ocean sciences through its direct connection with the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) and its association with the Oceanography Program. This provides additional benefits to the Meteorology faculty through direct access to Oceanography's facilities. Oceanography is currently involved in numerous research projects, including ocean modeling with supercomputers, current meter deployment and retrieval, analysis of environmental pollution, and ocean biology. Their facilities include laboratories for radiochemistry, trace element analysis, organic geochemistry, water analysis, phytoplankton ecology, numerical modeling, and fluid dynamics.

The Florida State University has established an interdisciplinary School of Computational Science and Information Technology (SCS) to support both graduate and undergraduate concentrations, provide a leading-edge high-performance computational facility, and contribute to a high level of computational culture beneficial to the nation, and the State.