Graduate Programs

Are you an outstanding student in the physical or engineering sciences who wants to learn more about the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans, which produce our weather and climate? If so, we can offer you challenging and exciting MSc and PhD programs in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS), which can lead to careers in environmental research and consulting, weather and climate forecasting and analysis, and teaching at the college and university level. For your thesis, you may carry out research in a variety of topics including (but not limited to):

  • atmospheric chemistry
  • climate and paleoclimate dynamics
  • cloud physics and physical meteorology
  • dynamic and synoptic meteorology
  • earth system modelling and analysis
  • extreme weather
  • geophysical fluid dynamics and turbulence
  • physical and dynamical oceanography
  • radar meteorology and remote sensing

Please take the time to explore the admission procedure and curricula below. Further information can also be obtained from our graduateinfo.aos [at] (Administrative and Student Affairs Coordinator).

Our AOS Graduate Handbook [.pdf] gives a thorough description of our graduate programs, courses, and research interest of faculty members. Some of that information is reproduced below.


Admission Requirements

Applicants for the M.Sc. program must meet the general requirements of McGill’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) and hold a bachelor's degree, with high standing, in meteorology, physical oceanography, physics, mathematics, engineering, or other related subjects. According to GPS standards, academic achievement must be evidenced by a minimum standing equivalent to a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 out of a possible 4 or a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.2/4.0 for the last two full-time academic years. Normally, the Department sets a higher level of CGPA for admission. As well, higher grades are expected in those courses considered to be preparatory for the Department’s graduate program.

Students registered in the M.Sc. program who perform especially well may be considered for a transfer to the Ph.D. program before the completion of their M.Sc. program. The normal requirement for admission to the Ph.D. program is a Master's degree in atmospheric science, physical oceanography, or a related discipline, with acceptably high standing. In addition, a Faculty member in the Department must agree to supervise the thesis of an incoming Ph.D. student before an offer of admission is made. Other requirements may apply to Ph.D. and M.Sc. applicants, and are indicated in the few paragraphs.

Non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate degree using the English language are required to submit documented proof of competency in oral and written English by one of the following appropriate exams:

On the day of your TOEFL test, you will be asked to provide the following institution and department codes in order for your official score reports to be sent to our Department:
Institution code: 0935
Department code: 60

For more information on these language tests, please see the Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies English Proficiency Tests Fact Sheet

For further information, address your inquiries to:

graduateinfo.aos [at] (Administrative & Student Affairs Coordinator)
Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
805 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 945
Montreal, Quebec H3A 0B9

Application Procedure

As of October 2012, McGill’s formerly paper-based graduate application process has been replaced with a more convenient electronic version. For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents in the new version, please see: All supplemental application materials and supporting documents must be uploaded directly to the McGill admissions processing system (complete On the application form applicants must provide the names and email addresses of referees (if required). McGill will contact these referees and invite them to upload references on their behalf.

For detailed information on how to apply, including on-line application, see the University's Applying to McGill website.

Admission Process

The Graduate Admissions Committee reviews the candidate's application file when it is complete. Once a recommendation is reached by the Committee, the applicant is informed. Please note that decisions are provisional, pending final approval and the formal offer of admission by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.

To save yourself time and money, please ensure that you meet the minimum requirements before applying. If you have questions or doubts about your eligibility, please contact us.

Financial Support

The Department normally provides financial support to all graduate students in the form of a graduate assistantship. The value of assistantships varies according to the amount of external support received by the student and the fees that have to be paid. For example, out-of- province and international students who pay a higher tuition receive additional support from the Department to partially or fully offset this additional expense. Students with external funding (scholarships, etc.) receive a top-up to their scholarship, such that the total is above the typical stipend received by non-scholarship students. A limited number of small teaching assistantships are also available.

If awarded an external or internal scholarship, or other financial support, by the Department, the University, or any other outside agency or government, the support provided by the Department would be reduced, but you will still have a significant net financial benefit. If a student accepts employment outside the University while still receiving a graduate assistantship from the Department, the student must immediately notify the Department’s Chair, in writing, as this could lead to a reduction or termination of Departmental financial support.

Canadians and permanent residents are strongly encouraged to apply for postgraduate fellowships offered by federal and provincial government agencies such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Meteorological Severice of Canada (MSC) and the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies. International students are also encouraged to apply for external support in the form of scholarships or differential fee waivers.

For details of Departmental awards, prizes and fellowships available to graduate students, please see Awards, Prizes & Fellowships.

Dates for Guaranteed Consideration of Admission Applications

Please see the Graduate Application website for the most up-to-date deadlines. The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences will guarantee consideration of admissions applications received before the following deadline dates:

  Canadian International Special/Exchange/Visiting
Fall February 28

February 28

February 28

Winter September 15

September 10

September 10

Summer n/a



Admission to graduate studies is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit.

Note: Applications for Summer term admission will not be considered.


Mailing Address

Graduate Admissions Committee
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
McGill University
Burnside Hall, Room 945
805 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, QC H3A 0B9

Department Visits

Applicants and potential applicants are encouraged to arrange visits to the Department. We will be pleased to arrange meetings with members of the faculty, graduate students and the Graduate Program Director. This will give you the opportunity to learn first hand about our graduate programs, research opportunities, facilities, funding and also about the varied opportunities beyond the campus that come from living in Montreal. There is some financial assistance available to visit our department for potential graduate students who have applied for our program. Please write to the Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee at the above address for more information.

Enquiries: graduateinfo.aos [at] (Graduate Info)

Graduate Program Responsibilities

The most recent contact information for these positions may be found on our contact page

Graduate Program Director

  • Head of Graduate Admissions Committee.
  • Approval of Minerva Registration Forms and of Tracking Reports.
  • Contact person for faculty – graduate student issues.
  • Attend information sessions held by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • Make recommendations regarding McGill awards (REFs, MGSFs, Mysak Fellowship, etc.).
  • Overall responsibility for the Department’s graduate programs.

Administrative and Student Affairs Coordinator

  • Processing applications, maintaining student academic and award files.
  • Supply various forms and letters as required by graduate students.
  • Advise on course selection, as well as internal and external awards and fellowships
  • Departmental timetable (graduate level).
  • Graduate Handbook, and other departmental reference materials and publicity (graduate level).
  • Processing graduate student stipend appointments and maintaining payroll files.
  • Processing expense reimbursements and travel advances.
  • Liaison with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office (GPSO).

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students have the responsibility of informing themselves of the university regulations, program requirements, fellowship opportunities and deadline dates. Useful sources of information are:

Academic Integrity

McGill University values academic integrity, which is fundamental to achieving our mission of the advancement of learning. The web site, is a resource for faculty and students. Its purpose is to promote academic integrity at McGill by providing information about the meaning of integrity, about how to foster it, and about the consequences of breaching it. There is specific information about requirements for citing the work of others. These requirements refer to both print and electronic sources. Students have the responsibility of informing themselves about these matters.

Failure Policy

Students who have failed one course required by their department while registered as a graduate student may automatically write one supplemental examination or, with the permission of their supervisor and the Graduate Program Director, retake that course or substitute an equivalent course. A student with any further failures in that course, including the supplemental, or a failure in any other course, will be required to withdraw from the program. Students who fail more than one course will be asked to withdraw from the graduate program. For detailed information on the failure policy please refer to section 6.9 of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar.

Vacation Policy

The Vacation Policy of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies states, "Graduate students ... should normally be entitled to vacation leave equivalent to university holidays and an additional total of fifteen (15) working days in the year. Funded students with fellowships and research grant stipends taking additional vacation leave may have their funding reduced accordingly."

Leave of Absence Policy

All students are eligible to request a leave of absence from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office (GPSO) for maternity, parenting, or health reasons. Leaves must be requested on a term by term basis by writing to the department chair, who will then forward the request to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. Complete information on the leave policy is available in Smooth Sailing: A Guidebook for Graduate Students and section 10.6 of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar.