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Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

atmospheric man

We live within this giant fluid called the atmosphere, and its state affects us in more ways than we generally acknowledge: weather influences how we dress and what activities we will undertake, climate shapes our infrastructure and the environment that surrounds us. In Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, students use a quantitative approach to understand the atmosphere and oceans, and tackle pressing environmental problems such as severe weather prediction and global climate change.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences is the largest Canadian university department that combines the study of the atmosphere and oceans. The department conducts research in different areas, including weather prediction, climate variability, air quality and chemistry-climate interaction, radar detection of severe weather, and sea-ice and oceanic dynamics.

Because weather and climate affect many human affairs, career options are varied and interesting. These include working as a weather forecasting meteorologist with government or in the private sector, weather or climate specialist in a variety of industries such as insurance, wind power, or transportation, and as a research assistant in government, university, and private-sector laboratories. Top students can move on to graduate schools around the world, and become leaders in the research community.

Program options

Undergraduate students can choose from five main programs all focussed on atmospheric science studies: Honours, Major, Liberal, Minor, and Joint Major in Atmospheric Science and Physics. The department also offers a special one-year Diploma program for B.Sc. graduates.

At the graduate level, M.Sc. and Ph.D. graduate students pursue courses and research in atmospheric science, physical oceanography, and climate studies.

Department highlights

  • State-of-the-art computing and graphics facilities, including access to supercomputers at the Meteorological Service of Canada. Other research facilities include the Marshall Radar Observatory, several other in-situ (e.g., weather stations) and remote sensors (smaller radars, wind profilers...), and an atmospheric chemistry laboratory.
  • Participation in the multidisciplinary Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre (GEC3).
  • The McGill University Meteorology Students’ Association, with their own lounge and study area.

More information

Webpage for undergraduate studies in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Calendar entry for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences - see online calendar