photo of thunderstorm

If you have a strong interest in climate and climate variability, weather analysis and forecasting, or human-environmental impact assessment, a master’s degree in applied atmospheric science is right for you.

Your education will go beyond the classroom with research opportunities and extracurricular activities, including the Ball State Storm Chase Team and Gamma Theta Upsilon Honor Society.

What You Will Learn

In addition to your applied atmospheric science studies, you will have the opportunity to cross-train in geospatial techniques like cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information science (GIS).

You’ll focus primarily on concentration-specific coursework like:

  • severe local storm environments
  • mitigation of severe weather in an emergency management setting
  • weather patterns that lead to floods and droughts
  • global and local climate change

What It’s Like to Pursue a Master’s Degree in Applied Atmospheric Science at Ball State

To be competitive in the job market, you need to have as much expertise about the field as you can.

That’s why in our program you’ll get experience in both emphases we offer: applied atmospheric science and applied geographic information science. Applied atmospheric emphasis students will have the opportunity to learn about geographic information science and vice-versa.

Cross training will provide you with a solid background in:

  • remote sensing
  • geographic information systems (GIS)
  • advanced cartography
  • climatology and meteorology

Our Meteorology and Climatology Lab is the focal point for the analysis of real-time meteorological and climatological data. Four televisions run different weather broadcasts to keep you up to date. And we have an archive of local weather records dating back to 1932.

Whether it’s working on an in-class project such as mapmaking or monitoring storms or helping professors with their research, you will get lots of hands-on experience here.

Some projects students have been involved in include:

  • Midwestern drought causes and impacts
  • how society copes with hazardous weather events (e.g., ice storms)
  • the effect of weather-forecasting contests on undergraduate student forecasting improvement
  • the influence of wind direction on tropospheric ozone concentrations in Indiana
  • the position of dryline in the central U.S.

Our graduate students benefit from having small classes by being able to do more research with us or alone with funding from a grant. Our graduate courses usually have fewer than 10 students in a class; many of our students say that makes for a great learning environment.

If you’ve always been fascinated by the work of storm chasers, our storm chasing class gives you practical and on-site experience in this exciting aspect of meteorology.

During the summer, you spend four days in class and about 18 days in the Great Plains chasing storms. On your chase day, you will have a morning meeting with your classmates to determine your destination. As the class progresses, your teacher becomes more like an advisor and chauffeur as your team of students leads the way.

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Program Requirements

Completing this program will earn you a master of science in geography with a focus in applied atmospheric science.

This degree requires 30 credits, including the thesis research requirement. Coursework is flexible and designed to fit your research interests.


Total to Graduate: 30

  • Required Courses: 9
  • Electives: 15
  • Thesis: 6


A few of the classes you will take may include:

  • GEOG 525 Physical Meteorology
  • GEOG 530 Weather Analysis
  • GEOG 531 Global Climate
  • GEOG 532 Climate Change and Modification
  • GEOG 534 Atmospheric Hazards

For a complete list of all courses and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Applied Atmospheric Science?

Graduates who have studied applied atmospheric science have found jobs in commercial and government sectors. Some of our graduates have landed jobs with radio and television stations, state emergency management agencies, and private forecasting companies in both the United States and Canada. Specific job titles our graduates have earned include:

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Review our admissions criteria and apply.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.