The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences offers Ph.D. degrees in the physics, chemistry, and biology of the atmosphere-ocean system. Our research in theory, modeling, and observations has broad applications to environmental issues, including air quality, weather and climate prediction, climate change, and natural resource management.
Major Fields or Subdisciplines
The still largely unexplored vastness of the ocean, covering about 2/3 of the surface of earth and with an average depth of almost 4 kilometers, has fascinated humans for as long as we have records for. Its currents, chemical composition, and ecosystems are all highly variable at different locations and times. Due to its large capacity for storing and transporting heat, the ocean represents also a crucial component of the physical climate system. The ocean provides invaluable resources to humankind in the form of food, but also in terms of its generally moderating impact on weather and climate. This has led to the fact that a large fraction of the world's population lives within 100 miles of the ocean. As a consequence, the ocean and particularly the fragile interface between the ocean and the land has become subject of large environmental pressures.
The rapidly growing faculty in ocean sciences at UCLA's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences focuses their research on a large palette of questions ranging from the role of the ocean in the physical climate system to its role in the global carbon cycle. A strong emphasis is also given to the study of the coastal environment and its interaction with the open seas and the land. Much of our research is highly interdisciplinary and involves a substantial number of faculty in other departments and institutes.
The program is subdivided into the following categories
- Physical Oceanography
- Ocean Biogeochemistry
- Coastal Oceanography
Please go to our “Application - How to Apply” page for step by step instructions to guide you through the application process. In addition to students holding bachelors' degrees in meteorology or atmospheric sciences, graduates with degrees in related disciplines -- Astronomy, Chemistry, Engineering, Geophysics, Oceanography, Mathematics, and Physics -- are encouraged to apply for graduate status in the department. Programs are arranged by consultation between the student and the department’s graduate advisers, and considerable flexibility is maintained so that maximum advantage may be taken of previous education.
UCLA is committed to helping students finance their education; the Financial Aid and Scholarships office works closely with all students who need financial assistance. A financial aid award generally consists of a combination of scholarships and grant money from UCLA and other sources, low-interest loans, and a work-study job during the academic year.
For official university admissions information and program degree requirements, please visit the Graduate Division website.