School of Earth and Environment

Climate and Atmospheric Science MRes

(Full time) 2016 start

Masters in Climate and Atmospheric Science


Key facts

  • Duration/Mode:
    12 months full time
  • UK/EU fees: £6,500
    International fees: £19,000
  • Entry requirements:
    A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a physical science
  • Language requirements:
    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
  • Course terms and conditions

This Masters will prepare you in the physical sciences and mathematics for a research career in climate, atmospheric or environmental sciences. It ideally bridges the gap between undergraduate studies in physical/natural sciences and engineering, and study for a PhD. Alternatively, if you decide to leave academia, the highly transferable skills gained from this course could lead to a research role in industry or government.

Gain a broad overview of physical problems in climate and atmospheric science, together with a sound physical understanding of natural processes. Alongside this, develop highly transferable skills to conduct research in these subjects with a strong emphasis on quantitative data analysis and physical and numerical modelling.

A career in scientific research is always interesting – sometimes exciting – but might not suit everyone. This course provides an excellent opportunity to get a taste of postgraduate research study and decide whether it is really the career for you.

Alumni Profile

"One invaluable experience was flying over the Sahara on the BAe 146 research aircraft, as part of an international science project."

Eoghan Darbyshire, PhD student, University of Manchester

Read More

Course highlights

- Leeds is a leading centre of excellence across both the physical science of the climate and atmosphere science, and the resultant socio-economic impacts and processes. Interact with academics who are at the forefront of major global issues:

- This course will enable you to develop your research skills – you will be regarded as a researcher in the School and expected to work closely with ICAS staff as well as presenting at the annual ICAS Science Conference along with academics and doctoral researchers.

- Highly numerate graduates with training in independent research are widely sought after in many sectors. Continue on to a PhD, or move into a research role in industry or government.

- The School moved into a new £24 million building in January 2010, providing world class research, teaching and laboratory facilities, and dedicated computer facilities many of which will be available to you throughout your studies.

- You will be regarded as researchers within the School and be expected to work closely with ICAS staff as well as presenting at the annual ICAS away day along with academic staff and doctoral researchers.

Programme team

The course is taught by staff from across the School, primarily from ICAS. The course is managed by Dr Jim McQuaid (ICAS) who also teaches some components of the course as well as regularly supervising student projects and providing tutorial support.

Alumni Profile

"The MRes has a great balance of guidance and independent study, which helps bridge the gap between a taught undergraduate degree and a research PhD."

Carly Wright, PhD student, University of Reading

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Course content

You'll undertake 180 credits worth of work during the year, based on 4 super-modules, each of which is made up of several components. Two of these super-modules (Quantitative Skills and Specialist Knowledge) allow you to choose from an expansive range of 'atmospheric' and/or 'climate science' options.

You can choose modules based on the direction of your research project and your first degree, as well as any other previous experience.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

All the modules below run over both semesters 1 and 2:
- Research Skills - introductory coursework; atmospheric fieldwork; project proposal; seminar write-ups and presentation skills (30 credits)
- Quantitative Skills - computer-based project; coursework (30 credits)
- Specialist Knowledge - literature survey; coursework (30 credits)
- Project and Dissertation (90 credits)

Learning and teaching

You’ll be taught through classwork, research seminars, lectures, tutorials, poster presentation, fieldwork and tutorials, group work and/or individual.

For your dissertation project, instead of the traditional thesis, you’ll submit a manuscript suitable for submission to an academic journal. This aims to teach the key transferable skill of communicating results professionally and efficiently, and increase the frequency of publication of students’ research.


The School of Earth and Environment’s £23 million building provides world class research, teaching and laboratory facilities. You will also have access to a dedicated computer suite throughout your studies.


Your dissertation project accounts for a significant part of your assessment.

You’re also assessed on work you do in course, for example through field notebooks, project proposals, seminars, submission of a computer project and a literature-based survey.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in a physical science such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, geophysics, atmospheric or environmental science, meteorology or oceanography.

You should ideally have mathematics to a good A-level grade (or equivalent) as a minimum. Preferably, you will have also studied at least one year of university-level maths, though additional courses are available as part of this programme.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Science and Engineering B (6 weeks) and Language for Science and Engineering A (10 weeks).

How to apply

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Or read their advice on how to apply.

Visas and Immigration

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Link to admissions policy document


UK/EU fees: £6,500
International fees: £19,000

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students read Masters fees.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

School scholarships

One full-fee scholarship is available to UK/EU applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Two full-fee scholarships are available to International applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Sunday 1st May 2016.

Find out more about our School scholarships.

Other funding sources

Royal Meteorological Society

Students focusing on Atmospheric Science might also be eligible to apply for a Scholarship from the Royal Meteorological Society.

Career Development Loan

Past students have secured funding through a career development loan, for details visit UK Government website.

Alumni Profile

"This was a real chance to get to grips with one research area in particular, and to collaborate with members of successful and active research teams within the university."

Hannah Mantle, PhD student, University of Leeds

Read More

Career opportunities

You will be prepared for a research career, usually onwards to a PhD but this could also lead to a research role in government or industry.

Traditionally a very high proportion of our students go on to further PhD study in climate or atmospheric science. In fact, over the last three years all our students who applied for funded PhD positions at Leeds were successful, with several of them holding multiple offers of fully funded research studentships.

While others have obtained places at Cambridge, Reading, Edinburgh, and UEA, among others.

Highly numerate graduates with training in independent research are widely sought after. And our graduates who choose to leave academia have strong employment prospects – landing jobs with national agencies, environmental consultancies, wind-power companies and the insurance sector.

Positions taken up by our recent graduates:

  • Wind Energy Resource Surveyor (OwnEnergy, USA)
  • Catastrophe Modelling Analysts (Willis, UK)
  • Beamline Associate (Argonne National Laboratory, US)
  • Air Quality Scientist (Golder, UK)
  • Environmental Consultant (Haskoning UK Ltd., Peterborough, UK).


Careers support

We offer extra support and activities to help you stand out in your chosen field and achieve your career goals. In particular, you are actively encouraged to attend conferences to present your work to help advance your research career.

School of Earth and Environment has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability and has its own dedicated Employability Officer. Read more about our careers and employability.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Alumni Profile

"The MRes teaches self-discipline and confidence in researching and assimilating information preparing you for PhD life, however, in the Catastrophe Risk field there are constant pressures to research."

Dominic Sindall, Lead Catastrophe Risk Analyst, Faber Global

Read More

Alumni Profile

"I came to the MRes with no background in either atmospheric or earth sciences... the course gave a good introduction to all aspects of the subject before moving forward onto more specialised topics."

Will Thurston, Researcher, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne

Read More

Industry links

Students carry out research-directed work, implementing new developments and joining existing and new collaborations with agencies such as the Meteorological Office, British Antarctic Survey and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science. Many students perform field projects in conjunction with international field campaigns.

British Antarctic Survey logo (BAS)

Met Office

National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)

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