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Graduate Programs

Overview: 
We currently offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences and Hydrometeorology and an Accelerated Master’s program (in cooperation with the Department of Physics). 
 
M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences
Our traditional Atmospheric Sciences graduate program has been sustained in the department since its inception. The current sub-disciplinary research focal areas within the Atmospheric Sciences graduate program are: atmospheric chemistry and aerosols, weather forecasts and data assimilation, regional and global climate, lightning and atmospheric electricity, radiation and remote sensing, tropical meteorology and monsoon, and hydrometeorology.  
 
M.S. and Ph.D. in Hydrometeorology
The new graduate program in Hydrometerology, jointly administered by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, offers graduate degrees of M.S. and Ph.D.  The Hydrometeorology graduate program was formally established in 2010, after final approval from ABOR.  This completely new graduate academic program is the first of its kind in the United States.
 
The overall objective of the Hydrometeorology graduate program is to provide graduate students with a comprehensive understanding of the coupled interactions between the atmosphere and land.  The core courses include fundamentals of atmospheric and hydrologic sciences. 
  
Atmospheric Sciences Accelerated Masters Program
The Atmospheric Sciences accelerated masters program (AMP) is designed for advanced undergraduate students at the University of Arizona to complete the B.S. degree in Physics and M.S. degree in Atmospheric Sciences in a total of five years.  AMP is well suited for students who aim to gain research experience at the graduate level, and are interested in pursuing a career in atmospheric sciences.  
 
Expected Learning Outcomes: 

In completion of M.S., AMP and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, students Expected Learning Outcomes are the following:

  1. Demonstrate competence in the fundamental area of Dynamic Meteorology.
  2. Demonstrate competence in the fundamental area of Physical Meteorology.
  3. Demonstrate competence in one or more of the following sub-disciplinary focal areas: atmospheric chemistry and aerosols, climate and climate change, lightning and atmospheric electricity, radiation and remote sensing, tropical meteorology and tropical cyclones, data assimilation, and weather analysis and forecasting.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing.
  5. Demonstrate professional competency in one or more research tools used in the atmospheric sciences such as data analysis, visualization software and computer programming.

 

In completion of M.S. and Ph.D. in Hydrometeorlogy, students Expected Learning Outcomes are the following:

  1. Demonstrate competence in fundamental areas of dynamic meteorology, physical meteorology, surface water hydrology, and hydroclimatology.
  2. Demonstrate competence in required graduate elective courses in the areas of:
    1. numerical weather and climate prediction
    2. systems science and methods
    3. data sciences.
  3. Gain experience and professional competence in the use of specific research tools in hydrometeorological sciences as related to the student’s thesis project and courses, broadly including data analysis and visualization software and computer programming (e.g. C, FORTRAN, MatLab, GrADS, and NCL), numerical atmospheric models and hydrologic models, and specialized instrumentation. Participation in laboratory or field work may be a component.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing.

 

Assessment Activities: 

The assessment activities for graduate students are in the tables below for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in atmospheric sciences and hydrometeorology.  Each assessment activity evaluates the expected learning objective (LO) through direct and indirect measures for each student’s research, academic performance and progress toward degree completion are provided on a regular basis by the major advisor and committee members.

 

Assessment Activities for Atmospheric Sciences

LO 1

LO 2

LO 3

LO 4

LO 5

Direct Measure

Indirect Measure

Core Courses

x

x

 

 

 

x

 

Focal Area Courses

x

x

x

 

 

x

 

Research Group Meetings

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

Advisor Meetings

x

x

x

x

 

x

 

Written Thesis/Manuscript

 

 

x

x

x

x

 

Presentation

 

 

 

x

 

x

 

Qualifying Exam*

 

 

x

x

 

x

Comprehensive Exam*

 x

x

x

 

x

Dissertation Exam*

 x

x

x

 

x

Faculty Assessment Rubric

 

x

Student Program Assessment Rubric

 x

 

x

Reflection Survey

   

 

 

 

 

x

 

Assessment Activities for Hydrometeorology

LO 1

LO 2

LO 3

LO 4

Direct Measure

Indirect Measure

Core Courses

x

x

 

 

x

 

Focal Area Courses

x

x

x

 

x

 

Research Group Meetings

x

x

x

x

x

 

Advisor Meetings

x

x

x

x

x

 

Written Thesis/Paper

 

 

x

x

x

 

Presentation

 

 

 

x

x

 

Qualifying Exam*

 x

 

 

x

 

x

Comprehensive Exam*

 x

 x

x

 

x

Dissertation Exam*

x

 

x

Faculty Assessment Rubric

 x

 x

 

x

Student Program Assessment Rubric

 x

 

x

Reflection Survey

 

 

 

 

 

x

*Ph.D. only

Core Courses: Each student (M.S. and Ph.D.) must complete 12 units of the four core courses or transferred equivalents of their degree program in atmospheric sciences, hydrology and hydrometeorology with a 3.0 GPA or better. If the student does meet the 3.0 GPA requirement in the core courses, the student must take the supplementary examination, a written exam covering the core courses where the deficiencies occurred. 

Focal Area Courses: Each student (M.S. and Ph.D.) must complete a minimum 15 units of the elective courses in the atmospheric sciences OR transferred equivalents of the program with a 3.0 GPA or better. Students in the hydrometeorology program are required to take a minimum of 6 units in each of the three sub-areas in 1) numerical weather and climate prediction, 2) systems science and methods and 3) data sciences OR transferred equivalents of the program with a 3.0 GPA or better.

Research Group Meetings: Depending on the faculty’s research group, each student (M.S. and Ph.D.) is required to meet with their focus area research group/s.

Advisor Meetings: All students in all our degree programs are required to meet with their advisor on a yearly basis, especially after the 1st year study to complete their Plan of Study and the Faculty Program Assessment Rubric for M.S. students.

Written Thesis/Paper: Depending on the degree program, each student is required to submit a thesis or a scholarly paper ready for publication that summarized their original research, research tools.

Presentation: All students in all our degree programs are required to present their research at least one-time in the form of an oral or poster presentations at the annual El Dia del Agua y Atmosfera held during EarthWeek on the University of Arizona campus each spring and/or a professional conference, such as AGU and AMS. 

Qualifying Exam: A continuing doctoral student who completed the same M.S. degree program in the atmospheric sciences, hydrology or hydrometeorology in our department have the option to waive the Qualifying exam depending on meeting the 3.0 GPA of their core courses. Doctoral students new to the university and our degree programs must take the HAS Qualifying Exam by the beginning of second year. It is composed of a written and oral component that evaluate and grade. It serves three purposes:

  1. To test the student’s basic understanding of their general field of study, ability to communicate their research interests, and potential for doing PhD-level research.
  2. Provide feedback on graduate coursework that may help in student’s research and/or career goals.
  3. Increase students and faculty exposure to each other’s research interests.

Comprehensive Exam: Each doctoral student upon completion of all their major and minor coursework must take the HAS Comprehensive Exam which is composed of a written and oral component that evaluate and grade the student. It serves three purposes:

  1. Evaluate student’s breadth of understanding across degrees in major, minor and focus area.
  2. Evaluate student’s depth of understanding in their chosen field of research, writing and presentation ability, and ability to conduct original research.
  3. Enable student’s PhD Committee members to provide feedback on research directions. Usually completed by the end of the 3rd year of study.

Final Defense of Dissertation: Each doctoral student is required to complete a minimum of 18 units of dissertation research. The student’s research areas are evaluated in written and oral components. The written and oral dissertation examinations follow the Graduate College’s format requirements and the oral examination (Oral Final Defense) procedures. Completion of a dissertation document should nominally consist of three professional journal articles, either accepted for publication or nearly ready to be submitted. 

  • Presentation of research results in the form of dissertation defense, of which the seminar portion is open to the public.
  • Demonstrate competence in courses within a minor area of study, of the student’s choosing.
  • the student's knowledge of the atmospheric sciences, hydrology or hydrometeorology and minor degrees
  • the student's knowledge of the literature, concepts and experimental approaches in their  field of expertise
  • the ability to think and write as a scientist
  • the ability to communicate and publish research.

Faculty Program Assessment Rubric: Beginning in May 2015, the department implemented the indirect measure of the Faculty Program Assessment Rubric to be completed by the student’s major advisor and committee member during end 1st Year (M.S.), upon M.S. completion, Doctoral Qualifying Exam, Doctoral Comprehensive Exam and Doctoral Dissertation exam. This helps identify areas of the programs that are consistently strong assessments or assessments that need improvement, found to be indefinable to faculty and students.

Student Program Assessment Rubric and Reflection Survey: As of AY 16-17, created and implemented, i.e. using the Student Program Assessment Rubric, Student Reflection Survey. It’s purpose is to gather information from the students’ perspectives regarding our degree programs.

Please see the academic student handbooks for more detailed information regarding each degree program requirements and examinations procedures at our website at http://has.arizona.edu/graduate-information.

Assessment Findings: 

Assessment Findings for M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences

ATMO M.S. Students: The Faculty Program Assessment Rubric was first implemented the end of Spring 2015 for 1st year students and upon completion. The FY 14-15 was the initial time assessment began and it provides an incomplete evaluation of the year and considered invalid data. The FY 15-16 no assessments were not given due to unexpected circumstances regarding the merging of the Department of Hydrology & Water Resources with the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and partial support from the Graduate Coordinators. The FY 16-17, the Faculty Program Assessment was requested for all four 1st year students’ major advisor and the ATMO Director of Graduate Studies. The Student Program Assessment Rubric and Reflection Survey was implemented to gain feed back from the students’ perspectives: 2 out of 2 assessments completed. The table below shows the two students’ completed the Student Program Assessments upon completion rate the program between a 4-5 rating for their expected learning objectives.

 

ATMO Ph.D. Students: The FY 14-15 was the initial assessment began at the end of Spring 2015 and it provides an incomplete evaluation of the year and considered invalid data. Only 1 out of the 5 students’ major advisor and committee members returned the Faculty Program Assessment Rubric after the final oral defense. The FY 15-16 no assessments were not given due to unexpected circumstances regarding the merging of the Department of Hydrology & Water Resources with the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and partial support from the Graduate Coordinators. The FY 16-17, the table below shows the Faculty Program Assessment Rubric averages for the five learning objectives (LO) from faculty whose students completed the M.S. and Ph.D. programs. Faculty rate our LO above an average of 4.5 out of five.

The Student Program Assessment Rubric and Reflection Survey for the two doctoral students who successfully passed the final oral dissertation defense were received. Please see the Attachments at the bottom of this page for more detailed.

 

Assessment Findings for M.S. and Ph.D. in Hydrometeorology

HYM M.S. Students: The FY 16-17 is the first time the Faculty Program Assessment Rubric, the Student Program Assessment Rubric and Reflection Survey were requested. There were zero students admitted into the M.S. program. Only one student completed the program and completed the Student Program Assessment Rubric and Reflection Survey who rated the program expected learning outcomes a 4 out 5 for LO 1 and LO 2, and a 3 out of 5 for LO 3 and LO 4. No Faculty Program Assessment Rubric form was received from the student’s major advisor and two committee members.

HYM Ph.D. Students: The FY 16-17 is the first time the Faculty Program Assessment Rubric, the Student Program Assessment Rubric and Reflection Survey were requested. There was only 1 doctoral student who passed the final oral dissertation defense. The student rated LO 1 and LO 3 at  5 of 5, and LO 2 and LO 4 were rated at a 4 out of five.

Change in Response to Findings: 

Improvement in procedures to request and completed return forms from the faculty on the use of Faculty Program Assessment Rubric for use in more than three assessment activities besides the 1st year M.S, M.S. Upon Completion and the successfully completion of the final oral dissertation defense.  It is in our best interest to evaluate all 1st year students in the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in atmospheric sciences and hydrometeorology, which evaluates all the core courses and in turn will provide better insight to LO1 and LO2 for atmospheric sciences and LO1 for hydrometeorology.

It will be easier to evaluate data from the Faculty and Student Program assessment Rubric if the rating scale removes the NA option and decrease the scale from 5 to a 4-point scale as 1 unsatisfactory, 2 needs improvement, 3 average, and 4 exceeds.

A new rubric with clearly define criteria for a rated scale for the written work and oral presentations to better evaluate LO 4 (Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing) for atmospheric sciences and hydrometeorology.

The Faculty Program Assessment Rubric has yet to given for the assessment activities: qualifying exam and comprehensive exams.

The Reflection Surveys from the students need be evaluated to identify areas of the program that to be improved or changed.

All changes listed above must go through the HAS Academic Committee recommendations and approval from all faculty members before implementing any changes.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Doctoral Learning Objectives.pdf78.03 KB
Updated date: Wed, 07/12/2017 - 17:33